Starting Sunday night, UK Coach John Calipari will oversee a week-long Team USA training camp in Colorado Springs, Colo., to determine which players will represent the United States at next month’s FIBA U19 World Cup in Egypt.
Calipari — along with assistant coaches Tad Boyle of Colorado and Danny Manning of Wake Forest — will get hands-on time with some of the top young basketball players in the country.
Among those players will be three Kentucky Wildcats and four high school prospects who have received scholarship offers from UK.
The 12-player roster is expected to be announced Thursday, and those players will travel to Cairo with Calipari for the FIBA tournament that begins July 1.
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Assuming they all make the team, UK freshmen Hamidou Diallo, Kevin Knox and PJ Washington will get close to 20 practice sessions with their new head coach before the FIBA World Cup itself. All three of those players traveled overseas with Team USA last summer.
Calipari will also have an opportunity to make an impression on the four high schoolers with UK offers: Bol Bol, Romeo Langford, Immanuel Quickley and Cameron Reddish, who have all emerged as top recruiting targets for the class of 2018.
The 7-foot-2 son of Manute Bol transferred to high school powerhouse Mater Dei (Calif.) in January after starting his high school career in Kansas.
Bol has had as good a spring as any prospect in the country, earning regular-season most valuable player honors on the highly competitive Nike circuit, averaging 24.1 points, 10.0 rebounds and a league-leading 4.5 blocked shots per game while shooting 49 percent from three-point range.
Calipari extended a scholarship offer to Bol after watching him play in a Nike event in Indianapolis in late April, and Scout.com recently moved him from No. 13 to No. 2 overall in its class of 2018 rankings.
Scout.com’s Evan Daniels told the Herald-Leader that UK and Arizona are the two schools with the most buzz in his recruitment right now.
A 6-5 shooting guard from New Albany, Ind. — just across the river from Louisville — Langford has established himself as the No. 1 player at his position in this 2018 class, and his recruitment is arguably the most hotly contested in the country, with UK, Louisville, Indiana, Duke, North Carolina and Kansas all vying for his commitment.
Langford tried out for the Team USA U17 squad last summer but didn’t make it past the first set of cuts. He’ll be back again this week, and Daniels told the Herald-Leader he has the potential to be one of the best guards on the camp’s roster, which consists primarily of incoming college freshmen and players who have already played one season of college basketball.
Scout.com ranks Langford as the No. 5 player in the 2018 class.
Quickley — a 6-3 point guard from just outside of Baltimore — was the first player at his position to earn a scholarship offer from Calipari, and he played for the Team USA U17 squad that won a FIBA gold medal last summer.
One of several talented players in the 2018 class vying for the No. 1 point guard ranking, Quickley is a high-IQ floor leader with an improving outside shot and a defensive intensity that sets him apart from many of his fellow five-star point guards.
He recently narrowed his recruiting list to UK, Kansas, Maryland and Miami, and he’s expected to make a college decision before the start of his senior season.
Daniels told the Herald-Leader there’s a clear leader for his commitment.
“I think Kentucky is definitely the team to beat for Immanuel Quickley.”
One of the first prospects from the 2018 class to get a UK scholarship offer — Reddish told the Herald-Leader it was a “dream offer” when he got it last spring — the 6-7 wing from Norristown, Pa., has continued to build his reputation as one of the best recruits in the country. A gifted scorer, Reddish would have made last summer’s Team USA U17 team if not for an injury suffered late in training camp.
Reddish recently narrowed his list to UK, Duke, Villanova, Arizona, Maryland, Miami, UCLA and UConn, and he averaged 22.6 points and 7.8 rebounds during the Nike EYBL regular season.
Scout.com ranks Reddish as the No. 4 overall recruit in the 2018 class.
▪ Two other class of 2018 prospects — power forward Jordan Brown and small forward Louis King — have been invited to the Team USA U19 training camp. Both are top-15 prospects in whom UK has shown interest.