LAWRENCE, Kan. - Kansas guards Mario Chalmers and Sherron Collins will be among 30 of the nation's top collegiate basketball players who have accepted invitations to participate in the July 12-14 USA Basketball Men's Pan American Games Team Trials that will be held at Haverford College (Pa.).
"Sherron and I have been going extra hard ever since we got the call," Chalmers said. "This is going to be a great opportunity for us against some very tough competition."
Chalmers and Collins are not the only Jayhawks to be invited to try out for USA Basketball teams. Last week, it was announced that freshman Darrell Arthur will try out for the USA Basketball Under 19 World Championship team later this month in Dallas.
"This is a great opportunity for Mario and Sherron but unfortunately Brandon (Rush) was not able to try out due to his injury," Kansas head coach Bill Self said. "It's a stacked squad and both of them are going to have to be in great shape and play very well in order for them to make this team."
"Like Darrell (Arthur), this is another great opportunity for our guys to represent our country and these two will play for Jay Wright, who I consider to be one of the best in the business," Self added.
As a sophomore in 2006-07, Chalmers was named the co-Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year where he led the conference in steals for the second straight year. His 97 steals last year broke the Kansas single-season record held by Darnell Valentine (92 in 1981). An All-Big 12 third team selection in 2007, Chalmers was second on the team in scoring with 12.2 points per game. The 6-1, 195 pound guard from Anchorage, Alaska, averaged 3.3 assists and has been named to the Big 12 All-Defensive Team each of the last two seasons.
Collins averaged 9.3 points his freshman season at Kansas in 2006-07. The Chicago native (5-11, 200) earned All-Big 12 honorable mention and all-rookie team accolades as he averaged 11.3 points per game in conference contests. Collins posted three games of 20 or more points, all against Big 12 foes.
The Trials will be used to select the finalists for the USA Basketball Pan American Games squad that will look to capture gold at the 2007 Pan American Games that are being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 13-29. Athlete selections for the Trials were made by the USA Basketball Men's Collegiate Committee, chaired by Syracuse University (N.Y.) head coach Jim Boeheim.
Accepting invitations to participate in the 2007 USA Pan American Games Team Trials were: 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.); Drew Neitzel (Michigan State / Grand Rapids, Mich.); DeMarcus Nelson (Duke / Elk Grove, Calif.); Ahmad Nivins (Saint Joseph'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 (Pa.) head coach Jay Wright is leading the USA's 2007 Pan American Games Team, while University of Alabama head mentor Mark Gottfried and Yale University head coach James Jones will serve as assistant coaches.
Sixteen of the 30 players boast of prior USA Basketball experience, including Brockman (2005 Nike Hoop Summit and 2004 Youth Development Festival West Team); Butch (2002 Youth Development Festival North Team); Chalmers (2004 Youth Development Festival West Team); Costner ( 2004 Youth Development Festival East Team); Devendorf (2004 Youth Development Festival North Team); Ellington (2006 Nike Hoop Summit, 2005 Youth Development Festival Blue Team); Gist ( 2003 Youth Development Festival East Team); Hendrix (2005 Nike Hoop Summit, 2004 and 2003 Youth Development Festival South teams); Leunen (2003 Youth Development Festival West Team); Mitchell (2004 Youth Development Festival South Team); Neitzel (2003 Youth Development Festival North Team); Nelson (2003 Youth Development Festival West Team); Reynolds (2005 Youth Development Festival White Team); Scheyer (2006 Nike Hoop Summit, 2005 Youth Development Festival Red Team); Taylor (2003 Youth Development Festival West Team); and White (2004 Nike Hoop Summit and 2003 Youth Development Festival South Team).
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 USA's July 15-21 training camp.