Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Among the latest cuts were Bol Bol, Jordan Brown, Chuma Okeke, Mitchell Robinson and Quinton RoseKevin Knoxof Kentucky previously withdrew with injury, while Desmond Bane, Chaundee Brown, Marques Bolden, Devon Daniels, Malachi Flynn, Charlie Moore, De’Anthony Melton, Shamorie Ponds and Kris Wilkes were cut earlier this week.
The team kept both Kentucky players left in the mix — Diallo and Washington– as well as four of the six high school players in the mix: King, Langford, Quickley and Reddish.
Kentucky has offers out to three of the four, while they have interest in King. Calipari will now have an added two weeks with all four players. By the time the high school guys to Peach Jam and other summer events on July 12, they will have been with Calipari for about three weeks.
“Every player on this team can play different positions and has different abilities,” said Calipari. “Whether they’re a point guard and a scorer or whether they’re wing and a point guard, or a wing and a power player. We only took two true bigs, which is kind of dangerous. But, we decided that if we had to, we could go small and go zone. We could do it offensively and if they didn’t have a real big guy, we’d just go, ‘P.J., you just guard the guy. We’re going to go pick-and-rolls, inside pick-and-rolls and slips and you’re going to go play like a three anyway.’
“This is a really hard process. 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. We went to midnight and we still couldn’t make the final decision, we had to sleep on it.
“Having to select the first group (finalists) was really hard and we ended up keeping three or four more guys, because we weren’t ready to make a decision on those three or four. And then, we had couple of injuries, which ended up moving that number down. But, at the end of the day, there were three players for one spot and we had to choose one. We looked and said, ‘okay. Who, if they had to, could help us?’ And that’s who we went with.”
The USA Men’s U19 training camp began June 18 with 27 athletes, 18 finalists were named June 20 and the team was selected following seven training sessions, held at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The team will remain in Colorado Springs and will train through June 25 before departing for Egypt.
**For more on security issues with the team heading to Egypt, click here.
Photo: USA Basketball
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.