It’s a foregone conclusion that when the Dominican Republic national team converges in Lexington later this summer, UK center Eloy Vargas will join them. Kentucky coach John Calipari, after all, is the Dominican coach.
Vargas, a native of Moca, Dominican Republic, has spent some of his off-season playing for Sports Reach, a collection of college players that finished 6-2-1 during its recent tour of China.
Vargas is thrilled about the possibility of playing for his country.
“It would really be awesome for me to play with them and be proud of myself,” Vargas said on Thursday. “When you play for your home country, you’ll be really proud too. Just like the way I’m really proud to play for Kentucky.”
As a condition for taking the job with the Dominicans, Calipari requested the team train in Lexington.
Calipari has said several NBA players, with ties to the Dominican, have been contacted. After that, the coach will have to fill out the roster with college players or guys who are playing in other pro leagues.
“I think it’ll be really hard to play for him,” Vargas said, hinting that the Dominican team will have plenty of talent. “I know I’ve got a chance, but I’ve got to go play with them and practice with them. “
“I would be really proud of myself to go over there and compete with NBA guys like Al Horford and Charlie Villanueva.”
Former Louisville forward Francisco Garcia also will play for Calipari and the Dominicans.
The Dominican Republic national team will a couple of exhibition games before heading to Foz do Iguacu, Brazil for the Continental Cup (Aug. 24-26). From there, Cal and his team will travel to Mar del Plata, Argentina for the FIBA Americas Championship (Aug. 30-Sept. 11). This is the Olympic qualifying tournament.
Those are the highlights… stay tuned.