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U18, U17 teams stacked with Kentucky Wildcats flavor


By now, all of us know the kind of work Kentucky head coach John Calipari has been doing on the recruiting trail.

Whether it’s the No. 1 rated 2010 recruiting class, that could be bolstered by the addition of former Minnesota Gopher’s recruit Royce White or the 2011 class that includes the top two recruits in the nation, Calipari is tearing up.

United States basketball is a familiar site around here and no one is foreign to what the U.S. team did during the last Summer Olympic games. What gets lost in the mix however, is the process that starts long before entering the NBA or even college basketball for that matter. It starts with U-18 and U-17 teams where some of the most talented high school prospects join together to take on the world in a round-robin tournament to determine which country has the best basketball.

Kentucky’s very own Darius Miller was on last year’s U-19 team that was comprised of 12 of the best college players the nation had to offer. While no ‘Cats are on the current rosters for these divisions, some of the best prospects in the nation are very, very interested in playing for Calipari and Kentucky next season.

Quincy Miller, the No. 8 ranked player in the 2011 recruiting class will play alongside LeBryan Nash and Amir Williams, trying to replicate Miller’s success on the U-19 team. Nash, the No. 4 ranked player in the 2011 class recently vaulted the ‘Cats into his Top-5 and will decide sometime in the near future. Williams has been on Kentucky’s radar for quite some time and could make a case to be a Top-25 player in the nation by the end of his senior season.

All of them will be coached by Jeff Capel who mans the sidelines for the Oklahoma Sooners.

The U-17 team is equally talented with two future Wildcats on the roster, with several others who could potentially commit down the road. The No. 1 and No. 2 ranked players in the nation will play for the U-17 team and are will play for Calipari after their senior seasons next year. Michael Gilchrist and Marquis Teague committed to play for the ‘Cats at the end of the late signing period, giving Calipari the opportunity to sign his third straight No. 1 recruiting class since he’s been at Kentucky. Other potential Wildcats include Johnny O’Bryant, Adonis Thomas, and Tony Wroten Jr.

Wroten Jr., the king of the Twitter world has long expressed his desire to be a part of the ‘Cats family, as both Gilchrist and Teague try to get Wroten to join forces down in Lexington. O’Bryant is a load down low at 6’9” and 235 lbs. while being ranked in the Top-25 for the 2011 recruiting class. Thomas is a talented wing-forward from Memphis who could add depth to Calipari’s dribble-drive offense.

As the summer begins one thing is for certain; if Calipari continues to recruit the best high-school athletes in the nation, the Kentucky Wildcats will have their 8th National Championship a lot sooner than later.

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