#OTRHoopsReport: McDonald’s All-American Game Preview
Georgia native Alterique Gilbert signs basketballs to kick off the McDonald’s All-American Game festitivities this week. Photo cred – @McDAAG
CHICAGO, Ill., – The most prestigious High School All-Star game is set to tip Wednesday evening at the United Center in Chicago. The rosters are set. The teams are practicing this week. The nation will get a glimpse of the next crop of stars on ESPN Wednesday evening. Here is a brief breakdown of the rosters and who to watch for when the game tips.
LSU Freshman Ben Simmons dominated ESPN coverage this year. As of late, Brandon Ingram of Duke garnered equal attention as a stud-freshman. Who could be garner similar attention next year? Look no further than the uber-skilled Jayson Tatum from St. Louis, Mo. The 6-9 wing has Klay Thompson like shooting touch while having the scoring accumen of former New York Knick Allan Houston. Playing on Coach K court will help put Tatum’s name front and center often.
Do not count out perhaps the most talented player on the court Wednesday, which is uncommitted wing Josh Jackson of Mich. The 6-7 wing brings a rare combination of skill and athleticism to the court. His final three of Arizona, Kansas and Michigan State should also provide a optimum stage for Jackson to develop next season.
Unlike the 2015 class, 2016 has a number of ELITE level point guards. Lonzo Ball heads this list after being named the Naismith Trophy Player of the Year this season. The 6-6 lead guard headed to UCLA played the game at a different level this season. His incredible vision and pinpoint passing from distances that are unthinkable made watching Chino Hills the best high school team to watch this season. He is sure to entertain in this year’s McDonald’s All-American game. Right behind Ball in terms of effectiveness is Kentucky bound De’Aaron Fox of Katy, Texas. The 6-4 point guard is a model of efficiency and truly balances finding his shot and shots for his teammates. And never overlook the play-making abilities of Alterique Gilbert of Miller Grove (GA). The 5-11 dynamo is a perfect fit for Kevin Ollie at UConn in future years. He pushes the tempo and can create plays both in transition and in the half-court.
— The Naismith Trophy (@NaismithTrophy) March 10, 2016
No doubt that the game of basketball centers around guard play and this game will have no shortage of players who can light up the scoreboard in a hurry. Washington Huskies signee Markelle Fultz of DeMatha Catholic School is a proven scoring combo-guard. Also look for Duke bound Frank Jackson and Arizona signee Kobi Simmons to trade buckets much like they did back in January at the Hoop Hall Classic. However, the player who could put up the most points in the night in Kentucky guard Malik Monk. The 6-4 guard has pro skills matched with elite athleticism already.
T.J. Leaf of Foothills Christian HS (CA) could be the most skilled big man in uniform in Chicago. The 6-10 post showed elite passing skills while also being able to get points in post-isolation situations. North Carolina signee Tony Bradley is right there alongside of Leaf in terms of getting buckets in the pivot. The 6-11 post has an array of jump hooks and clean footwork. You will not be able to miss 7-foot Udoka Azubike in this game, either. While his footwork and skill is not as polished as the aforementioned post players, Azubike is a threat to bring down the goal at any moment. The 300 pound (plus) center literally makes event operators hold their breath every time he dunks. Bill Self will love that next year in his hi-lo offense. A pair of unsigned post players are sure to make their presence felt during this game. Marques Bolden has a pro frame and displays pro like skills already. Throw in Houston native Jarrett Allen and this game has it’s share of big men who dominate the interior.
Miles Bridges was almost un-guardable this season while with Huntington Prep. The 6-6 wing forward toasted defenders while driving to the bucket. He showed extended range on his jumper while creating behind ball screens. And he is always threat to power home a dunk in the lane. There are not many who can match his size and strength. In the same breath yet at a different position, Bam Adebayo of High Point, N.C., provides the same type of challenge for defenders on the interior. The 6-9 power forward headed to Kentucky rattles rims, snags rebounds and runs the floor better than any at his position. Keep an eye on Miami signee Dewan Huell too. The 6-10 forward is a great inside-out threat while also being able to protect the rim defensively.
The 3-point shot is increasingly more important at every level of basketball. Terrance Ferguson of Dallas, Texas, has a reputation of being one of the best in the country at that skill. The 6-5 shooting guard can fill it up off the catch while sporting a very good mid-range jumper at that. Keep an eye on Kyle Guy, who is Virginia bound next year, to also launch plenty of threes in this game. The 6-5 guard is similar to Ferguson in that he can shoot it well and show plenty of athleticism at the same time.
Josh Langford of Madison, Ala., proved time again that he can fill up the stat sheet. He is a polished player who can dominate as a scorer, defender or passer depending upon what his team needs on that night. He and Miles Bridges will pair up to make a mean 1-2 combo for Tom Izzo at Michigan State next year. Also watch the game of V.J. King of Paul VI closely. The 6-7 wing has a smooth skill set that blends jump shooting and finishing at the rim. At the same time he can clean the defensive glass or lead the break as a lead handler. Kentucky forward Sacha Killeya-Jones of Lynchburg, Va., fits this versatility label too. He is a high energy power forward who can play in and out while also having touch on face up jumpers.
— Jonathan Hemingway (@JLHemingwayPSB) June 23, 2015
Jonathan Hemingway is a National Evaluator for the OTRHoopsReport. Hemingway serves on the Board of Selectors for the Naismith Trophy. He is also the publisher of CoachHemi.com. He has been involved in the community since 1996 as a coach, camp director and evaluator. You can reach him via email at JonathanHemingway@PeachStateBasketball.com and follow him on twitter @JLHemingwayPSB
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