Kentucky Wildcats Basketball: Freshmen Turn Down FIBA USA Team

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The incoming freshmen and current players for the Kentucky Wildcats have turned down opportunities to try out for the USA FIBA Under 19 team in order to focus on winning a championship this upcoming season for their new college team.

John Calipari explained the decision by his players to Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News:

Most of it is, they didn’t want to play. I’m not forcing kids to do anything,” Calipari told Sporting News. “I think the reason they all turned it down is, they want to get started.”

Kentucky’s rich haul of 2013 recruits will bring guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison to Lexington, along with forward James Young, power forward Julius Randle and center Dakari Johnson. All were eligible for the U19 squad. Randle was a star on the U18 team that qualified for this summer’s world championship. The Harrisons were cut in training camp. Johnson was a member of the U17 squad that won the world title at that age group last summer.

Willie said, ‘This is not the summer for me to do this stuff. I just can’t wait to get back. I want to get prepared,’ ” Calipari said. “I’m happy they’re thinking in those terms. They know the spotlight’s on them.

Kentucky’s eight-week summer session will begin in early June, and Calipari said the majority of the Wildcats will be enrolled save for a couple whose high school classes will not have graduated in time. They will arrive two weeks later and enter a six-week program.

Players in summer school have the opportunity to work with their coaches for two hours each week. Calipari said he will emphasize the installation of the Dribble Drive Motion offense, which he previously said he expects will work well with the athleticism and jumpshooting ability of the roster in place.

“We’re more skilled, and we can shoot. It’s really hard to play dribble/drive if you can’t make shots,” Calipari said. “We’ll just start on the process of getting them ready, getting them together and getting them earning credits. There won’t be a whole lot of difference between what we’re doing and everybody else. Except maybe we’ll work more on the offense.

The focus and the unity of this team is unbelievable thus far.

Dec 2, 2012; Lexington , KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops spoke to reporters during a press conference at the Nutter Field House. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The Louisville Cardinals stopped by and visited Ohio three star safety Mike Edwards. Edwards is considered a UK lean at this point. The Cards and the Cats have gone head to head over some players in recent weeks and the Cats have come out on top more often than not. Edwards was on Kentucky’s campus earlier this week and the coaching staff felt good about what went on during the visit.

Step off Charlie.

Mar 15, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari watches his team play against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament at Bridgestone Arena. The Commodores beat the Wildcats 64-48. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

John Calipari likes the idea of Nerlens Noel in Cleveland:

Another reason the coach would like to see Noel in Cleveland is that he thinks the Cavs are going to become an elite team in the not-too-distant future.

“Kyrie, in my opinion, will be the best point guard in the league in short order,” Calipari said. “(The Cavs will be) one of the best six teams in the league, within four years, because of the youngness of their team and next year’s draft. Within the next year or two, you’re going to see them being one of those teams trying to win the whole thing.

“Smile. Enjoy. Don’t sell your [season] tickets.”

I agree with coach Cal. I like Noel in The Cleve.

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