The USA U19 team had its first scrimmage in Cairo, Egypt and won 89-66 over Lithuania, going on a 40-19 run in the third quarter.
The win is great, but the story for Kentucky Wildcats fans is that both ‘Cats PJ Washington and Hamidou Diallo dominated, combining for 35 points. Washington scored a game high 18 points and Hami had 17. Auburn big man Austin Wiley had 15.
“It felt good to get out there and get back on my feet after the flights. I feel like we played well, but there are a bunch of things that we can get better at,” said the 6-foot-5 Diallo. “I felt good. That’s the first time in an official game in a long time, and I felt good. I think I played well, but I’ve got to get better on a bunch of things, I’m still a little rusty, but I felt like I played well and helped my team come up with a W.”
It’s good to see Hami working on getting back into organized basketball and continuing to hone his skills as well as his leadership.
Head coach John Calipari made some comments after the game that may sound familiar to UK fans:
“We were a little sluggish in the first half, and I thought in the second half our pressure and our athleticism kind of wore them down,” said John Calipari, USA and University of Kentucky head coach. “But, our execution is not great. Our biggest issue right now is defensively we don’t talk enough, and they haven’t been together long enough to really know how we wanted to play. I’ve got 10 days to get these guys talking more, playing off one another more. I’m happy were doing a couple scrimmages, so we understand how it is.
“We’re not where we need to be defensively. That is the whole key to what we’re doing,” said Calipari. “Offensively, I thought we shared the ball, but we still held it a couple of times where we didn’t need to hold it. We need to have that ball bouncing around the court.”
Cal went on to comment that he was pleased with the way Diallo played and that PJ Washington is a beast.
the U19 squad opens with Iran on Saturday, July 1st at 11:30 AM. Check back for more coverage.