A year ago, Julius Randle was Team USA’s leading scorer and rebounder at the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Brazil.
The 6-foot-10 forward averaged team-highs of 14.2 points and 6.6 rebounds per game through five wins.
Nor were his future Kentucky teammates Andrew and Aaron Harrison (who were cut from the U18 team) or incoming Duke freshman Jabari Parker.
All of those players are projected as potential lottery picks in the 2014 NBA Draft.
There are no Kentucky players on the roster.
“Most of it is, they didn’t want to play. I’m not forcing kids to do anything,” Kentucky coach John Calipari told Sporting News. “I think the reason they all turned it down is, they want to get started.”
Calipari also told the Sporting News that sophomore center Willie Cauley-Stein was invited to try out for the USA World University Games team but opted not to.
“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.”
Duke associate head coach Steve Wojciechowski told Andy Katz of ESPN that some incoming freshmen want to use the summer to get adjusted to life on campus, as opposed to participating in training. Kentucky’s eight-week summer session starts in early June, according to Sporting News.
The U19 team will train in Colorado Springs, Colo., and Washington, D.C., in June before the competition in the Czech Republic June 27-July 7.
“The hardest time for these kids is when they are making that next step,’’ Wojciechowski told Katz. “They want to hit the ground running. It’s tough. Those are tough positions for those kids to be in.”
Parker’s future Duke teammate, sophomore Rasheed Sulaimon, is on the roster.
The only incoming college freshman on the U.S. roster are all Pac-12 players: Arizona’s Aaron Gordon and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, UCLA’s Bryce Alford and Washington Nigel Williams-Goss.
Brandon Ashley of Arizona is also on the roster.
Meantime, incoming Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins — the presumed No. 1 pick in 2014 –– is expected to play for Team Canada this summer, as first reported by SNY.tv.
Canadian coach Roy Rana said he also expected the core of his U18 team to return, including incoming Syracuse point guard Tyler Ennis and incoming Florida State guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes.
The U.S. and Canada are in different pools.
**For more stories on Andrew Wiggins, click here.