EAST LANSING, Mich. â€“ Michigan State rising-senior guard Drew Neitzel has accepted an invitation to attend the trials for the 2007 USA Basketball Pan American Games Team July 12-14 at Haverford College (Pa.). Neitzel will square off against 29 other top players for a coveted spot on the team. The list of invitees includes 16 players possessing prior USA Basketball experience, as well as one All-American and 10 all-conference first-team honorees. The basketball competition at the 2007 Pan American Games will be held in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, July 25-29.
“Itâ€™s a great honor to be selected as one of the best players in the nation and to have the opportunity to compete and play with the best,” said Neitzel. “Itâ€™s a humbling honor to have a chance to represent my country and wear â€˜USAâ€™ across my chest.”
Neitzel averaged a team-best 18.1 points per game, ranking fourth in the Big Ten in scoring. He scored 20 or more points in 17 games. He made 114-of-277 3-point attempts, ranking as the second-best single-season total for made 3-pointers in MSU history. He led the Big Ten in free-throw percentage (.879) and 3-point field goals made per game (3.26 pg), while ranking second in minutes played per game (35.69 mpg), fourth in scoring (18.1 ppg), fifth in assists (4.31 apg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.84) and seventh in 3-point field-goal percentage (.412). Neitzel earned The Associated Press honorable mention All-America honors, and was named a second-team All-American by both Dick Vitale and CBS Sportsline.com. Additionally, he became MSUâ€™s first All-Big Ten first team honoree since 2004.
Michigan State was well represented on the 2003 Pan American Games Team as Tom Izzo served as head coach while Chris Hill made the squad.
In addition to Neitzel, players accepting invitations to participate in the 2007 USA Pan American Games Team Trials include: Jon Brockman (Washington/Snohomish, Wash.); Brian Butch (Wisconsin/Appleton, Wis.); Josh Carter (Texas A&M/Dallas, Texas); Mario Chalmers (Kansas/Anchorage, Alaska); Sherron Collins (Kansas/Chicago, Ill.); Brandan Costner (North Carolina State/West Orange, N.J.); Eric Devendorf (Syracuse/Bay City, Mich.); Joey Dorsey (Memphis/Baltimore, Md.); Wayne Ellington (North Carolina/Wynnewood, Pa.); Randal Falker (Southern Illinois/St. Louis, Mo.); Shan Foster (Vanderbilt/Kenner, La.); Alonzo Gee (Alabama/Palm Beach, Fla.); James Gist (Maryland/Silver Spring, Md.); Richard Hendrix (Alabama/Athens, Ala.); Roy Hibbert (Georgetown/Adelphi, Md.); Maarty Leunen (Oregon/Redmond, Ore.); Chris Lofton (Tennessee/Maysville, Ky.); Derrick Low (Washington State/Honolulu, Hawaii); Wesley Matthews (Marquette/Madison, Wis.); Eric Maynor (Virginia Commonwealth/Fayetteville, N.C.); Jerel McNeal (Marquette/Chicago, Ill.); Tasmin Mitchell (LSU/Denham Springs, La.); DeMarcus Nelson (Duke/Elk Grove, Calif.); Ahmad Nivins (Saint Josephâ€™s/Jersey City, N.J.); Scottie Reynolds (Villanova/Herndon, Va.); Jon Scheyer (Duke/Northbrook, Ill.); Bryce Taylor (Oregon/Encino, Calif.); Kyle Weaver (Washington State/Beloit, Wis.); D.J. White (Indiana/Tuscaloosa, Ala.).
Villanova University head coach Jay Wright is leading the USAâ€™s 2007 Pan American Games Team, while Alabamaâ€™s Mark Gottfried and Yaleâ€™s James Jones will serve as assistant coaches.
Of the 30 players partaking in the trials, Lofton earned Associated Press All-America second team and National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-America third team recognition. Collegeinsider.com named Maynor to its Mid-Major All-America Team, selected Chalmers, Falker, Hibbert and McNeal for its Defensive All-America Team, and named Costner and Reynolds to its Freshmen All-America Team.
Ten of the players slated to participate in the trials earned all-conference first team honors, three others were second team selections, two were named third team all-conference, and nine garnered honorable mention honors. Among the trials participantsâ€™ many accolades, Reynolds collected Big East Rookie of the Year honors, while Chalmers (Co-Big 12 Conference), Dorsey (Conference USA), Falker (Missouri Valley Conference) and McNeal (Big East Conference) earned Defensive Player of the Year recognition from their respective conferences. Additionally, Collins (Big 12), Costner (Atlantic Coast), Reynolds (Big East) and Scheyer (Atlantic Coast) were named to their conference All-Freshman teams.
Named to their respective 2006-07 all-conference teams were: Brockman (All-Pacific-10 first team); Dorsey (All-Conference USA first team); Falker (All-Missouri Valley first team); Hibbert (All-Big East first team); Lofton (All-Southeastern first team); Low (All-Pacific-10 first team); Maynor (All-Colonial Athletic Association first team); McNeal (All-Big East first team); Neitzel (All-Big Ten first team); Nivins (All-Atlantic 10 first team); Hendrix (All-Southeastern second team); Weaver (All-Pacific-10 second team); White (All-Big Ten second team); Chalmers (All-Big 12 third team); Costner (All-Atlantic Coast third team); Butch (All-Big Ten honorable mention); Carter (All-Big 12 honorable mention); Collins (All-Big 12 honorable mention); Devendorf (All-Big East honorable mention); Foster (All-Southeastern honorable mention); Gist (All-Atlantic Coast honorable mention); Leunen (All-Pacific-10 honorable mention); Nelson (All-Atlantic Coast honorable mention); and Reynolds (All-Big East honorable mention).
The 30 players include 14 who will be seniors in 2007-08, 11 who will be juniors, and five who will be sophomores in 2007-08.
Trials for the USA Pan American Games Team will be held July 12-14 at Haverford College (Pa.) with the 30 U.S. hopefuls participating. The first trials session will be held on Thursday, July 12, 5-7 p.m. (all times local, EDT). Two trials sessions (10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 5-7 p.m.) will be held on July 13 and 14. The selected USA team finalists will remain for the USAâ€™s July 15-21 training camp.
The official 12-member USA Pan American Games squad will compete July 25-29 in the 2007 Pan American Games menâ€™s basketball competition. The United States has been placed in preliminary round Group A along with Argentina, Panama and Uruguay, and Group B consists of Brazil, Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The U.S. opens preliminary play July 25 facing Uruguay (10 p.m. Rio de Janeiro local time), then meets Panama on July 26 (7:45 p.m. Rio de Janeiro local time) and the U.S. closes out preliminary round action against Argentina on July 27 (7:45 p.m. Rio de Janeiro local time). Semifinals will be held on July 28 and the finals will be played July 29.