It's not that USA Basketball wasn't interested or that John Calipari advised against it. Forward Julius Randle, guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison and the rest of the members of Kentucky's top-ranked recruiting class simply preferred to spend the summer getting acclimated to college life and preparing for a run at the national title.
"Most of it is, they didn’t want to play. I’m not forcing kids to do anything," Calipari told Sporting News. "I think the reason they all turned it down is, they want to get started."
"I’m happy they’re thinking in those terms. They know the spotlight’s on them."
The knee-jerk reaction here is to criticize players for turning down a potentially once-in-a-lifetime chance to represent their country, but in this case that doesn't seem fair.
First of all, the Kentucky incoming freshmen were far from alone in their decision. Arizona-bound Aaron Gordon was the lone top 20 Class of 2013 recruit who chose to try out for the U-19 team and the only other incoming freshmen on the roster are Arizona's Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Washington's Nigel Williams-Goss and UCLA's Bryce Alford.Read More »from John Calipari explains why Kentucky’s freshmen declined U-19 invitations from USA Basketball