John Calipari opened the USA U19 World Cup training camp Sunday in Colorado, Springs and he's hopeful that it will be a memorable experience for his players.
“I’m kind of anxious more than excited, because I just want to see where the players are, what they are, those kinds of things,” explained Calipari. “I want it to be a great experience for these kids and for everybody involved. I want people to leave and say, ‘You know what, this was a great experience, and I was able to figure out where I am and what I need to work on.’
Calipari has three of his freshman players trying out for the squad, Hamidou Diallo, Kevin Knox and P.J. Washington. Training camp continues through Thursday, June 22, when the USA team will be announced. The team will practice in Colorado Springs ahead of the 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup, which will be played July 1-9 in Cairo, Egypt.
“The hard thing is, you can’t try to do too much, said Calipari. "You have to scrimmage more than you normally would. You have to run offense more than you run drills. You have to hope they are in shape. If they aren’t in shape, they probably won’t make the team, because we don’t have time to get them in shape. And then, you’re trying to piece a real team together and not just take the best guys.”
Calipari is assisted by University of Colorado coach Tad Boyle and Wake Forest University coach Danny Manning.