LEXINGTON, Ky. — Three Kentucky freshmen and several of the Wildcats’ top 2018 recruiting targets have accepted invitations to attend training camp for USA Basketball’s under-19 team led by UK coach John Calipari.
Hamidou Diallo, Kevin Knox and P.J. Washington, who will play for the Cats next season, report to camp June 18 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where 28 players will compete for 12 spots. Those who make the cut will play for gold at the 2017 FIBA World Cup in Cairo, Egypt, July 1-9.
Five of Calipari and Kentucky’s top Class of 2018 recruits will also be in Team USA camp: center Bol Bol, small forward Cameron Reddish, shooting guard Romeo Langford, point guard Immanuel Quickly and forward Louis King, who are ranked the No. 2, 4, 5, 10 and 12 prospects nationally by Scout.com.
The participation of Knox and Washington comes as something of a surprise after the fathers of both players told SEC Country last week they are concerned about safety in Egypt after a series of terrorist attacks. But Knox’s father said he planned to speak with Calipari and USA Basketball last week about security plans.
Even if they don’t make the team — or decline the opportunity to travel abroad — just having three key pieces to the 2017-18 Kentucky team together and practicing under Calipari for more than a week will serve as a good head start for what the coach has said might be one of the youngest teams in college basketball history.
Oh, and that recruiting edge will certainly be useful as Calipari looks to keep gobbling up the nation’s top talent. He lost 5-star Mohamed Bamba to Texas this year after Bamba developed a close relationship with Team USA’s U-18 coach, Longhorns boss Shaka Smart, last summer.
The full list of 28 players who accepted training camp invitations from Calipari:
Desmond Bane (TCU/Richmond, Ind.)
Bol Bol (Mater Dei H.S./Santa Ana, Calif.)
Marques Bolden (Duke/DeSoto, Texas)
Chaundee Brown (First Academy/Orlando, Fla.)
Devon Daniels (NC State/Battle Creek, Mich.)
Hamidou Diallo(University of Kentucky/Queens, NY)
Carsen Edwards (Purdue/Atascocita, Texas)
Malachi Flynn (Washington State/Tacoma, Wash.)
Kevin Huerter(Maryland/Clifton Park, N.Y.)
Louis King (Hudson Catholic H.S./Columbus, N.J.)
Kevin Knox II (Tampa Catholic H.S./Tampa, Fla.)
Romeo Langford (New Albany H.S./New Albany, Ind.)
Brandon McCoy (Cathedral Catholic H.S/San Diego, Calif.)
De’Anthony Melton (Southern California/North Hollywood, Calif.)
Charlie Moore (Kansas/Chicago, Ill.)
Chuma Okeke (Westlake H.S./Atlanta, Ga.)
Josh Okogie (Georgia Tech/Snellville, Ga.)
Shamorie Ponds (St. John’s/Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Payton Pritchard (Oregon/West Linn, Ore.)
Immanuel Quickly (John Carroll School/Bel Air, Md.)
Cameron Reddish (Westtown School/Norristown, Pa.)
Mitchell Robinson (Chalmette H.S./New Orleans, La.)
Quinton Rose (Temple/Rochester, N.Y.)
Jeremiah Tilmon II (La Lumiere H.S., Ind./East Saint Louis, Ill.)
PJ Washington (Findlay Prep/Las Vegas, Nev.)
Austin Wiley (Auburn/Hoover, Ala.)
Kris Wilkes (North Central H.S./Indianapolis, Ind.)
Trae Young (Norman North H.S./Norman, Okla.).