"Everybody is kind of similar. There are not any weak players. They are all so sharp. After our second practice, we had so much stuff in. We put in an out of bounds play in about two minutes and ran it better than my team did after a year last season because these players are so smart and coachable."
Making the team will keep Sparks away from his Kentucky teammates for an additional two weeks. He's one of only three seniors on the team and one of two returning starters.
"This really is not a bad time of year to be gone. Summer school is over and everybody is pretty much going home. I won't be missing anything," Sparks said. "If I was in Lexington, there would not be a lot for me to do right now. This way when I get back, everybody else will be getting back, too:"
He hopes that will include sophomore center Randolph Morris, who is awaiting word from the NCAA on whether his eligibility will be restored or not.
"Everybody here wants to know what is going on with him," Sparks said. "I tell them what I know, and that is not much."
However, Sparks does know what making this team means to him.
"It's a huge deal. Who doesn't want to play for his country and represent your country against some of the best players in the world? I was honored just to try out, but making the team is a huge honor," said Sparks, who will play both guard positions.
Wright says Sparks' shooting is not the only reason he made the team.
"Obviously, he's a great 3-point shooter, and that's a big emphasis with our team," Wright said. "But he's also a heady player. He makes good decisions and great passes. He's not timid. He can do a lot for our team."
The team will continue to practice at Colorado Springs before leaving for Turkey on Friday. The team's first game will be Aug. 12 against Iran. The U.S. team plays Slovakia Aug. 13 and Germany Aug. 14.
On The Net
USA Basketball story