The U.S. under-19 national team roster was released today, and none of Kentucky's ultra-talented recruiting class are on it.
John Calipari told Sporting News' Mike DeCourcy that it was the players' choices, not his.
"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.”
Calipari said Willie Cauley-Stein and Julius Randle were invited to try out for the World University Games, as well, but both declined.
“Willie said, ‘This is not the summer for me to do this stuff. I just can’t wait to get back. I want to get prepared,'” Calipari said. “I’m happy they’re thinking in those terms. They know the spotlight’s on them.”
Some of the incoming freshmen have prior national team experience. Randle was on the U18 team last year, and the Harrison twins tried out (but were cut) from that squad. Dakari Johnson was on the U17 team last season.
Two years ago, a similar situation occurred when none of UK's recruiting class that featured Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague participated in national team events despite doing so in previous summers.
This year, Kyle Wiltjer will try out for the Canadian national team.
Other universities do have their top freshmen and sophomores playing. Arizona has Aaron Gordon, Rondae' Hollis-Jefferson and Brandon Ashley on the list of finalists. Other top talent includes Louisville's Monrtezl Harrell, Duke's Rasheed Sulaimon, Tennessee's Jarnell Stokes and Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart.