Three Wildcats accept invites for USA U19 World Cup training camp

This post has been updated with a quote from Coach Cal:

Training camp for the USA Basketball Men’s U19 World Cup Team will have a Kentucky feel to it.

Kentucky freshmen Hamidou Diallo, Kevin Knox and PJ Washington have accepted invitations to compete at training camp for the 2017 USA Basketball Men’s U19 World Cup Team. Training camp will be held at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, from June 18-25.

Diallo, Knox and Washington are three of 28 players who accepted invitations to the training camp. Those 28 players will be trimmed down to a 12-man team that will compete in the 2017 FIBA World Cup in Cairo from July 1-9.

Hamidou Diallo is one of three UK freshmen who will compete in the training camp for the 2017 USA Basketball Men’s U19 World Cup Team. (photo by Chet White, UK Athletics)

The USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team Committee issued the invitations. Athletes eligible for the team must be 19 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1998) and U.S. citizens.

Kentucky head coach John Calipari was named the head coach of the USA Basketball Men’s U19 World Cup Team on March 8. Coach Cal will oversee the training camp.

Training camp begins June 18 at 7 p.m. ET. Following two practice sessions on June 19 and a morning session on June 20, finalists for the team are expected to be announced. The selected finalists will remain in Colorado Springs and will train twice a day through June 25. The 12-member team is expected to be announced June 22.

Team USA will be looking for its third straight title at the FIBA World Cup after capturing gold at the 2013 and 2015 tournaments.

“I wanted to take a moment to reiterate how excited I am to be a part of USA Basketball,” Coach Cal posted on his Facebook page. “I’m excited about the opportunity on a lot of fronts. To be able to coach a team that represents the United States is a true blessing. And then to be able to do it with Danny Manning and Tad Boyle, both of whom I coached at Kansas and have great respect for, will be an amazing experience. But more than that, I can’t wait to have an opportunity to teach and coach some of the best young talent in our country. I want this to be an experience that is impactful for these young players.”

Diallo helped lead the 2016 USA Men’s U18 National Team to a gold medal last summer with a 5-0 record at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Chile. There, he averaged 7.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.

Knox, a consensus five-star prospect who was ranked as the No. 9 prospect in the country by the Recruiting Services Consensus Index, helped lead the 2016 USA U17 World Cup Team to a gold medal in Spain. A versatile, 6-foot-9 forward, Knox averaged 11.2 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in the six games he played in that event. Knox also played and won gold for the 2015 FIBA Americas U16 World Cup team.

Washington joined Diallo on that 2016 USA Men’s U18 National Team that won gold in Chile. Another consensus five-star prospect in the 2017 class, Washington started all five games at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, averaging 10.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. He was also a member of the 2015 USA 3×3 U18 World Championship Team, which finished eighth in Debrecen, Hungary.

Coach Cal and Diallo, Knox and Washington – should they make the final roster – may face fellow Wildcat Tai Wynyard in Cairo. Wynyard will represent his home country of New Zealand at the 2017 FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup.

2017 FIBA U19 World Cup

Team USA drew Group D for preliminary-round games at the FIBA World Cup and will open against Iran on July 1. USA will then play Angola on July 2 and will cap preliminary round action vs. Italy on July 4 (game times are to be determined).

USA earned its berth into the 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup by virtue of claiming gold at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Chile.

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

In the 12 previous U19 competitions held, the USA men’s teams have won six gold and three silver medals, including gold in three of the past four U19 championships (2009, 2013 and 2015).