UK Men's Basketball

Calipari to lead USA U-19 team in Egypt this summer, could have some Cats with him

UK head coach John Calipari talks to his team during the first half of the UK-Florida game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY on Saturday, Feb.25, 2017.
UK head coach John Calipari talks to his team during the first half of the UK-Florida game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY on Saturday, Feb.25, 2017.

A recent report saying John Calipari would be named head coach of the Team USA under-19 squad this summer was made official by USA Basketball on Wednesday.

The University of Kentucky head coach will lead a staff that includes two other college head coaches, Tad Boyle of Colorado and Danny Manning of Wake Forest.

The coaching staff was selected by the USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team Committee and approved by the USA Basketball Board of Directors.

“USA Basketball has assembled an outstanding staff led by Coach Calipari, and the team will excel under their leadership,” said Matt Painter, Purdue head coach and chair of the USA Basketball Junior National Team Committee.

As the 2013 and 2015 FIBA U-19 world champion, Team USA will look to defend its titles at the 16-team 2017 FIBA U-19 World Championship from July 1-9 in Cairo, Egypt.

Training camp to select the 12-member USA U-19 World Cup Team will be held June 18-25 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Athletes eligible for this team must be U.S. citizens who are 19 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1998).

The U-19 team is usually loaded with young college players, and this year’s squad could provide a preview of next season’s Kentucky Wildcats.

UK freshman Hamidou Diallo and class of 2017 signees Quade Green and PJ Washington all played for the gold-medal-winning Team USA U-18 squad coached by Shaka Smart last summer. Uncommitted UK recruiting target Mohamed Bamba was also on that team, and UK commitment Jarred Vanderbilt has played in the Team USA system in the past. Another UK recruiting target from the 2017 class, Kevin Knox, played on the U17 squad last summer.

Though this will be their first USA Basketball coaching venture together, Calipari, Boyle and Manning all were at the University of Kansas at the same time — Calipari (1983-85) as an assistant coach and Boyle (1981-85) and Manning (1984-88) as players.

Calipari is in his eighth season at Kentucky, where he has guided four teams to the NCAA Tournament Final Four, including the 2012 national championship.

“Being a part of USA Basketball is special,” Calipari said. “What Jerry Colangelo has done, along with Jim Tooley and Sean Ford, to not only build the national team but also build a winning culture with all the teams, has been incredible to watch. This gives me an opportunity to give back to the game that has been so good to my family and me as well as a game that I love. It is an honor to be asked to coach.

“I coached both Tad and Danny at the University of Kansas,” Calipari added. “I’m so proud of what they’ve become as coaches and as representatives of this game. I’m looking forward to reuniting and learning from both of these special coaches.”

Previously with USA Basketball, Calipari served as head coach of the 1995 U.S. Olympic Festival East Team.

Calipari also gained international basketball experience while coaching the Dominican Republic Men’s National Team in 2011 and 2012. He led the Dominicans to a bronze medal at the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship and to gold at the 2012 Centrobasket.

Team USA will open in Cairo against Iran on July 1, then take on Angola on July 2 and conclude group play July 4 against Italy.

Following the preliminary round, all 16 teams will be seeded according to group-play results, and will advance to the July 5 round of 16. Winners will move on to the July 7 medal quarterfinals. The medal semifinals will be held July 8, and the gold and bronze medal games are slated for July 9.