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Kentucky Wildcats Basketball: Incoming 'Cats Shun Team USA For Leg Up On Next Season

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Jerry Tipton has an excellent article today in the Lexington Herald-Leader about the incoming Kentucky Wildcats freshmen.  They have decided not to try out for the USA under-19 basketball team, enroll in summer school at UK, and get begin preparation for the season by getting acclimatized to the academics and get familiar with their future teammates:

USA Basketball wanted Gilchrist, Teague and Davis to be on the team that will play in the World Championship for players 19 years old and younger June 30-July 10 in Latvia.

But the trio were among about 27 players who declined invitations to participate in the tryouts next month. Ford said that UK wanted Gilchrist, Teague and Davis to attend summer school and accelerate the process of becoming college players.

This is a very impressive decision by these young men, and underscores just how seriously they take their commitment to the university and the basketball team.  It is difficult for young players to decline to participate in such an outstanding opportunity, but UK fans would surely understand that choice. 

But how did USA basketball take it? Unlike Dan Owens when these same players snubbed the Derby Festival Classic for the Nike Hoops Summit, Sean Ford, Director of the men's team for USA basketball, handled the bad news professionally and with class:

"It's unfortunate. We wish it were different. But we certainly understand the reality of it."

I'll second that emotion by saying it's unfortunate that Dan Owens could not bring himself to display the same degree of sophisticated competence.  Do you think Sean Ford was any less disappointed with the impact of the new Wildcats' decision?  No way.  But he knows how important it is to deal with the disappointment in a professional manner that will not alienate coach Calipari and UK for future events.

Congratulations to the young men on their decision.  As a UK fan, I applaud it and appreciate their determination.  Anthony Davis has famously declared his intention to win a national championship at Kentucky.  It seems that his future teammates have taken up that call as well.