Five Friars on Cooley’s Pan-Am Games Roster; Brown’s Martin Named Assistant Coach
The BIG EAST has announced its preliminary roster of men’s basketball standouts who will represent the United States in the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, on July 31-August 4. The roster includes a pool of 15 players. Prior to the competition, a final roster of 12 active players and three alternates will be determined.
The BIG EAST is the first Division I conference to represent the U.S. in the sport of men’s basketball in Pan American Games competition. Ed Cooley, the head coach of Providence College, will be the head coach of the U.S. squad. He will be assisted by Kevin Willard of Seton Hall University and Mike Martin of Brown University.
“I am looking forward to getting our squad together next month for the Pan Am Games,” Cooley said. “I think our committee did a great job putting together a strong roster to represent our country and our league. As I look through the roster, I think we will display the toughness and skill that defines BIG EAST Basketball. This will be an exciting summer for our entire team. When you have the opportunity to represent your country, it is special honor.”
The Pan American Games are a multi-sport event featuring teams from North, South and Central American and the Caribbean, which are organized by the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) and played every four years in the year preceding the Olympics (2019, 2023, etc.).
The team will play five games in five days in Lima. The U.S. squad will open play in Pool A against Virgin Islands on July 31 followed by contests against Venezuela on Aug. 1 and Puerto Rico on Aug. 2 before medal round play on Aug. 3-4. The Pool B Participants are: Argentina, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Uruguay.
Prior to the Games, the team will practice at the Ruane Development Center on the Providence College campus July 21-26.
Myles Powell, a rising senior from Seton Hall, was one of the top players in the BIG EAST last season. He ranked second in the league in scoring with a 22.6 average and second in steals with a 2.0 mark. The 6-2 guard was a unanimous All-BIG EAST First Team selection and was selected to the All-Tournament Team at the BIG EAST Tournament. Teammate Myles Cale joins Powell on the squad. Cale, who is also known for his strong defensive prowess, was second to Powell in scoring with a 10.2 average. The 6-6 wing also averaged 4.1 rebounds.
Villanova, the BIG EAST regular-season and tournament champion last year, is represented by guard Collin Gillespie and forward Jermaine Samuels. Gillespie, a rising junior, was third on the Wildcats in scoring with a 10.9 average and first in 3-point shooting at 37.9 percent. Samuels emerged as a regular contributor last season and finished with a 6.4 scoring average and a 5.4 rebounding mark. He started the last seven games in a row and averaged 13.6 points and 8.5 boards over that span.
Ty-Shon Alexander of Creighton earned All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention recognition after helping the Bluejays to a 20-15 mark and an NIT appearance. The 6-4 rising junior led his team with a 15.7 scoring average and 97 3-point baskets. His scoring average ranked 10th in the league and he was fourth in 3-pointers. He also averaged 4.0 rebounds.
Providence’s contingent is led by rising senior guard Alpha Diallo, who was an All-BIG EAST Second Team honoree last year after leading the Friars with a 16.0 scoring average and an 8.2 rebounding mark. His rebound average ranked second in the BIG EAST. Center Nate Watson averaged 11.7 points and 5.2 rebounds while shooting 59 percent from the field. The 6-10 rising junior shot a team-leading 59 percent from the field.
David Duke averaged 7.1 points while starting all 34 games as a freshman. The 6-5 guard was the Preseason BIG EAST Co-Freshman of the Year last season. Classmate A.J. Reeves averaged 9.8 points as a freshman, though the 6-6 guard missed nine games with a foot injury. Luwane Pipkins, a graduate transfer from Massachusetts, is eligible to compete. The 5-11 guard averaged a team-leading 15.7 points, 3.7 assists and 3.5 rebounds over three seasons for the Minutemen.
St. John’s is represented by rising senior guard Mustapha Heron. In his first season at St. John’s, Heron was second on the team in scoring with a 14.6 average and shot 40.3 percent from 3-point territory. Heron also averaged 4.6 rebounds.
Butler’s Sean McDermott averaged 9.5 points and 3.9 rebounds while starting every game for the Bulldogs. A strong shooter from the wing, the rising senior connected on 40.6 percent from 3-point range.
Three recent graduates of BIG EAST schools are also part of the squad. Butler forward Tyler Wideman graduated in 2018, Creighton center Geoffrey Groselle picked up his diploma in 2016 and Georgetown guard Greg Malinowski graduated this year.
Wideman, a 6-8 forward, is one of two Butler players in school history to win at least one NCAA Tournament game in each of his four seasons. He holds the Butler field goal percentage records for a single season (.672) and career (.623). Wideman won the 2018 BIG EAST Sportsmanship Award as voted by the league’s head coaches. He played professionally in Croatia this past season. Groselle, a 7-0 center, also owns his school record for field goal shooting, making 68.4 percent. As a senior at Creighton, he averaged 11.2 points and 6.1 rebounds. This past year, Groselle professionally in Kazakhstan. Malinowski, a 6-6 guard, averaged 5.7 points as graduate transfer for the Hoyas in 2018-19 while coming off the bench in a 3-point shooting role.