According to Jeff Goodman at ESPN, Kentucky coach John Calipari is expected to be announced as the head coach for this year’s U.S. U-19 team at the FIBA World Championships in July.
Typically this team is made up of young players ranging from rising high school seniors to sophomores in college. Last year’s team included Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles, and Josh Jackson, none of which had committed to a college at the time.
Big news for John Calipari: sources told ESPN Calipari will coach US Under-19 team this summer in Egypt. Some top uncommitted guys on team.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) February 16, 2017
Calipari was last involved with USA Basketball in 1995, but recently coached the Dominican Republic national team in international competition in 2011 and 2012.
The 2015 U-19 team was coached by Sean Miller of Arizona. That team went undefeated and won gold medals in Greece last summer.
This year’s FIBA World Championships will take place on July 1-9 in Cairo, Egypt.
Obviously, this will give Calipari exclusive access to many uncommitted recruits. While that may seem like an unfair advantage to some, this is common practice and many other prominent coaches have been involved (Miller, Shaka Smart, Billy Donovan, etc.). Regardless of whether it is fair or not, this is sure to get a rise of all of the Calipari-haters out there.
There is always the danger that a key recruit could get cut from the U-19 team and that could damage his relationship with Calipari, but it seems like the opportunities far outweigh the risks here.
Coach Cal knows what he is doing, and between coaching this team and his own ESPN 30 for 30 coming out this Spring, it seems like this could be a huge off-season for Kentucky to improve upon the gold standard for college basketball.
Do you believe this will give Cal even more of an advantage with recruits?