USA Mosconi Cup Team Looks Strong on Paper

USA pool fans are very happy as they analyze the recent announcement of this years' USA Mosconi Cup Team, which is filled to the brim with a star-studded cast. The first of the two automatic picks went to Shane Van Boening, just back from his second US Open win (first in 2007), which he achieved from the winners side of the bracket.

It should be noted that Shane was ahead in the rankings by the huge margin of 218 points over the second automatic spot that went to Mike Dechaine, who had enough points to secure his spot, despite a non-appearance at this years US Open.

The first of the three wild card picks went to young gun Brandon Shuff, who is living proof that good guys can come first. (Although in this case comes third.) Brandon, who is 29 years old. Is fulfilling a childhood dream of becoming a Mosconi Cup team member sometime in his professional pool career.

The fourth spot and second wild card pick goes to 2009 MVP Dennis Hatch, who will now add to his previous two appearances 2009 and 2010 to become a three time Mosconi Cup player. Dennis who will be remembered for his rallying the troops quality back at the MGM Grand venue in Las Vegas in 2009, will be a great motivator for this young team.

The fifth spot and the third wild card pick goes to the veteran Mosconi Cup legend Johnny Archer who will now be making his 16th consecutive appearance on the USA Mosconi Cup team. It should be noted that with the Mosconi Cup returning to York Hall in Bethnal Green in London, England this year, a venue that is notorious for its tough fans, that Johnny’s leadership skills and his vast Mosconi Cup experiences will hopefully help the young side prevail in the combat zone that they will be performing within.

Finally it should be noted that the US Mosconi Cup team has a new Team Captain this year, and maybe not a name that the pundits would have even thought to put on their wish list.

Matchroom Sport homed in on CJ Wiley to fill the spot and, after hearing his plans to solidify the team and his leadership plans, they obviously liked what they heard and offered him the position. CJ had to admit that he was in an intense state of anticipation when he first found out that his name was being considered for this prestigious post.

It should be noted that CJ Wiley was the player-captain of the 1996 USA Mosconi Cup, and made the winning shot in what would be the last match that year, that put the match score at 15 - 13 in the USA‘s favor to win the trophy.

CJ was partnered in that memorable match by Earl Strickland Vs Steve Davis and Ronnie O’Sullivan. In its earlier years the Mosconi Cup had seven players that included the captain. Now of course it is comprised of five players and a dedicated team captain.
I had the pleasure of interviewing CJ recently, and I came away with a feeling that he seems to have all his ducks in order and seems to have a plan that will bring the Mosconi Cup back to US soil again.

Obviously he did not want to give up too many of his motivational secrets, but he did say that his main goal was to make the team operate as one unit. He also is a believer in synergy, and would only say that if all five players are on the same course that it will bring much  more energy to the team as a whole. The word “team spirit” seemed to be at the heart of his plan for a successful 2012 Mosconi Cup.

This may be the year that the USA return to their home soil with the coveted Mosconi Cup Trophy, as they certainly have a talented line up and a new captain that seems to understand the concept of team work.

However, as CJ said to me  -  “We will plan for success, however, we do not know what the outcome will be. I believe if we are prepared and are willing to have modest expectations we will be in the best state of mind to take advantage of opportunities and be ready to be triumphant”