USA Basketball and the Big East made an impressive announcement on Tuesday. The conference will represent the United States in the 2019 Pan American Games. It’ll be the first time in the Pan Am Games’ history that a single Division I conference will represent the country in men’s basketball.

Division I Big East Conference To Rep USA In Pan Am

Though Team USA once won the gold medal in 1983, they haven’t been spectacular since. They won silver in 1999, 1995 and 1987 and got the bronze medal in 2015, 2011 and 1991. In 2007, the team failed to medal entirely. Things may be different in 2019, when the games will take place from August 6 to 10 in Lima, Peru.

Big East commissioner Val Ackerman called the announcement “an honor.” “We are very honored to have been chosen by the NCAA and USA Basketball to represent the United States in this prestigious competition,” he said. “This will be a unique educational, cultural and competitive experience for our participating players and coaches, and we look forward to working with Coach Cooley to assemble the best possible group to carry the basketball flag in Peru.”

Providence coach Ed Cooley was picked to coach the team. He’s got a long history of involvement with USA Basketball, including as a court coach for the USA U19 World Cup team in 2013. He was also involved with the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in 2014 and the U19 World Championship in 2015.

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“I am very honored to be asked to coach this unique squad of Big East players,” Cooley said. “Any time you have the opportunity to represent your country, it is special. I have the highest level of respect for USA Basketball and the Big East as they are two organizations that have been so instrumental in my career development.”

The announcement comes just nine days after the Big East announced plans to keep their tournament in Madison Square Garden. There was an opt-out clause that some expected the conference to use. Instead, they locked in their prime-time spot, forcing the Big Ten and ACC to play a week early if they opt to use MSG for their tournaments as well.

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