Next year's Kentucky team has their eyes on the prize -- a national championship without distractions in the classroom. When Terrence Jones politely declined the opportunity to play for the under 19 Team USA, that made him the fourth player from Kentucky to do so after Michael Gilcrhrist, Marquis Teague and all declined earlier, citing an interest in going to summer school at UK to get a leg up on their classwork.
I love Team USA, and Darius Miller made an impact last year when he played for the team. I know Sean Ford, the coach of Team USA, is a good friend of John Calipari, and I am pretty sure Calipari would have been fine if any or all of them had decided to play for Ford. But these young men have other ideas, and the fact that the incoming freshmen seem to have made their decision as a group suggests to me that they have formed the kind of relationship that will get them ahead quickly at Kentucky on the court.
Getting a head start in summer school really propelled John Wall to a fine academic performance at UK, and I expect that these incoming freshmen, along with their teammate Kyle Wiltjer, will benefit greatly from the chance to bond and get to know each other over the summer. Terrence Jones joining them can only make the overall experience better for the team, and come the fall, these guys should be familiar with the study habits required for college as well as much better friends with their future teammates.
All in all, I think this is better for the Kentucky team. It is unquestionably worse for Team USA, but I'm happy to see these young men take all this so seriously from the start. It is very encouraging.