UK Men's Basketball

UK’s Diallo, Washington, four recruits named to John Calipari’s Team USA squad

John Calipari has been overseeing Team USA camp in Colorado Springs, Colo., this week.
John Calipari has been overseeing Team USA camp in Colorado Springs, Colo., this week. broberts@herald-leader.com

The final cuts have been made, and John Calipari’s Team USA U19 squad that travels to Egypt for next month’s FIBA World Cup will have plenty of UK connections.

Kentucky freshman Hamidou Diallo and PJ Washington were both named to the 12-player team Thursday morning following the final cuts of U19 training camp. Fellow UK freshman Kevin Knox left training camp Wednesday after tweaking a hamstring, and he will not be on the U19 team coached by Calipari.

Three high school seniors with UK scholarship offers — Romeo Langford, Immanuel Quickley and Cameron Reddish — also made Calipari’s final squad. Another high school senior with interest from UK — small forward Louis King — is also on the team.

Bol Bol — the No. 2 prospect in the 2018 class, according to Scout.com — did not make it past the final cut Thursday morning. Bol also has a scholarship offer from Kentucky.

The other players on Calipari’s final 12-man roster are Purdue’s Carsen Edwards, Maryland’s Kevin Huerter, UNLV’s Brandon McCoy, Georgia Tech’s Josh Okogie, Oregon’s Payton Pritchard and Auburn’s Austin Wiley.

The group will represent the United States at the FIBA World Cup in Cairo, Egypt, with the tournament running from July 1-9.

Looking for an offer

The only high school player to make Calipari’s U19 team that doesn’t have a scholarship offer from Kentucky is Louis King, but the five-star standout from New Jersey is hoping that changes soon.

King — a 6-foot-6 small forward — has had a productive spring on the Nike circuit — where he’s teammates with UK target Cameron Reddish — and Scout.com recently bumped him up several spots to No. 12 overall in the class of 2018 player rankings.

“He’s a big wing,” said Scout.com’s Evan Daniels. “He’s a good athlete. He’s an improving shooter and scorer. He’s had a really big spring, and we had him as a five-star before that, but we gave him a little bump and thought he earned it with his play this spring.”

King listed UK, Maryland, Miami, North Carolina State, Oregon, Seton Hall and Syracuse as schools that have been in contact with him the most recently. Calipari is the UK coach staying in touch with King — assistants often handle such communication — and King said he viewed this training camp as another way to make an impression.

“It’s a high-level school,” King said of UK. “Coach Cal is a person who can get you to the league. … It’s a pleasure to be here and prove that I can play against anybody.”

King plans to cut his school list in August.

Bol gets cut

Bol Bol — the 7-2 UK recruiting target in the class of 2018 — did not make it past the final cut Thursday.

Bol — the son of Manute Bol — was impressive in the opening session Sunday night, but he seemed to lose some steam as the week went on, and the camp roster included several talented, older post players.

Calipari praised Bol after that first practice session, and the 17-year-old high school star also made an impression on another Wildcat.

“He’s a monster,” said UK’s PJ Washington. “Once he starts playing and blocking shots, shooting the ball, it’s just special to watch him play. At that height, his skill set is just crazy.”

Bol’s omission from the U19 team is not expected to hurt UK’s recruiting chances. Calipari was one of several voices on the USA Basketball selection committee, which includes other coaches and team officials.

“This is a really hard process,” Calipari said. “But it wasn’t just me selecting these guys. USA Basketball is involved. This was done by committee, and it went back and forth. Everybody was giving opinions.”

▪  Western Kentucky’s Mitchell Robinson was also cut from the U19 team Thursday.

Clean slate

So far in his recruitment, five-star shooting guard Romeo Langford has taken visits to UK, Louisville, Indiana, North Carolina, Duke and Kansas.

All six of those schools have extended scholarship offers to the 6-5 prospect from New Albany, Ind., and coaches from all six schools were at Team USA headquarters this week to watch him participate in Calipari’s U19 training camp.

Those six schools are responsible for a total of 30 NCAA titles, but Langford didn’t have much to say about the tradition of the blue bloods recruiting him.

“To tell you the truth, I really don’t know too much in-depth about any program,” he said.

Langford did say that Louisville — located right across the river from New Albany — is the school he grew up following the most.

FIBA U19 World Cup

When: July 1-9

Where: Cairo, Egypt

First U.S. game: July 1 vs. Iran at 11:30 a.m. EDT

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