Each year the McDonald’s All-American game brings the best high school senior basketball players together to showcase their elite talent. Even if you don’t follow recruiting closely, you understand the prestige that goes along with this event. It is a big deal and is often the first look casual college basketball fans get at next season’s incoming freshman class. If your team is represented in this game it usually means you’re feeling pretty good about your incoming class and can be a measuring stick among elite programs. This year’s game is on March 28th and the 2012 class is loaded with talent, so let’s take time to meet these future stars.
Kyle Anderson, Fairview, NJ: 6’7″ 210 lbs (SF), College – UCLA :
Kyle is an extremely unique player and it’s not sure what position he will play in college. He’s 6’7″ but often plays the point due to his terrific passing skills. He will certainly give Ben Howland a lot of versatility to play with next season. Watch him do work here.
DaJuan Coleman, Dewitt, NY: 6’9″ 275 lbs (C), College – Syracuse:
Coleman is a big, strong post player who doesn’t mind contact. He’s worked hard to get in shape and has improved his game tremendously. If Fab Melo decides to leave after this year, Coleman should be able to step right in. Go get ’em big fella.
Kris Dunn, New London, CT: 6’3″ 180 lbs (PG), College – Providence:
The point guard position isn’t real strong this year, but Dunn is one of the best around. He big, fast and can finish in the lane. Providence stole one from the big boys here and he should be able to impact the team right away.
Perry Ellis, Wichita, KS: 6’8″ 220 lbs (PF), College – Kansas:
Ellis got a lot of attention early in his recruitment and perhaps as a result some of the buzz wore off and he slipped in some rankings. He is still an extremely talented player who can really score the ball in a variety of ways. He needs to hit the weight room to be ready for a more physical game in college, but will certainly contend for Freshman of the Year. Skip to 1:26 for video footage and highlights.
Shaq Goodwin, Decatur, GA: 6’8″ 245 lbs (PF), College -Memphis:
Memphis needed post help and Goodwin will certainly provide that. Some scouts feared early in his recruitment that maturity could be an issue, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Goodwin was also a good defensive end in high school, but let’s hope he’s not enough of a masochist to suit up for the Tigers football team as well. Big fan of the dreads.
Gary Harris, Indianapolis, IN: 6’4″ 195 lbs (SG), College – Michigan State:
One of, if not, the best shooting guard in this class. Harris is a great athlete and under Izzo should transform into a great defender. He has the athleticism to get to the rim, but also has a great long range jumper. Definitely an elite talent of the class.
Amile Jefferson, Philadelphia, PA: 6’7″ 190 lbs (PF), College – Undecided:
Here is our first undeclared player. Amile is a bit under sized for a power forward, but has great touch around the basket. If he can develop a consistent jumper, he will become a nightmare to guard. It sounds like he is close to a college decision and many believe him to be choosing between Duke and NC State. Oh, you want a mixtape? Here you go.
Tyler Lewis, Statesville, NC: 5’11” 165 lbs (PG), College – NC State:
A pure point guard, Lewis is quick off the dribble and a great passer. His size is a bit concerning, but he makes good decisions and is a great floor leader. His outside shot needs some improvement, but the Wolfpack are getting a great local talent here.
Tony Parker, Lithonia, GA: 6’9″ 270 lbs (C), College – Undecided:
Parker is a big, skilled body down low that can control the paint for whichever coach lands him. He had fantastic hands and has advanced post moves for a player this young. His weight/conditioning can be an issue but in the right system should thrive. At this point it’s unclear who leads for his service but most of the major programs are involved including Ohio St., Duke, Kentucky, and UCLA. Take a look here.
Alex Poythress, Clarksville, TN: 6’7″ 215 lbs (SF), College – Kentucky:
Poythress is so skilled that he even got the “squeaky clean” Coach K in a bit of hot water. He is an extremely versatile big man who is very athletic and has a nose for defense at a young age. Sounds like a perfect fit for John Calipari’s system and will be able to contribute right away next year.
Rodney Purvis, Raleigh, NC: 6’4″ 190 lbs (G), College – NC State:
Purvis is probably best classified as a combo guard. He is comfortable playing both the point and shooting guard position. He has excellent passing skills and can also score in a variety of ways which will allow he and future teammate Tyler Lewis to be on the floor at the same time. Some worry about his attitude and focus, but when he is on his game there are not many better in this class.
TJ Warren, Durham, NC: 6’7″ 205 lbs (SF), College – NC State:
Warren is a great shooter for a guy of his size and has drawn comparisons to Paul Pierce. He will be a match up nightmare in college and tops off a fantastic recruiting class for NC State. Take a look here.
Brandon Ashley, Oakland, CA: 6’8″ 215 lbs (PF), College – Arizona:
Ashley is a tremendous athlete with good size and build. He is very quick and everyone raves about how good his hands are. At 215lbs, he needs to get stronger but his upside and potential are sky high. I really like the song on this one.
Isaiah Austin, Arlington, TX: 7’0″ 210 lbs (C), College – Baylor:
Austin has incredibly potential, but still needs some work. You can’t teach size and he certainly has that at 7 feet tall. He can run very well and has great defensive instincts, but doesn’t have much of a post game at this point and certainly needs to bulk up some.
Anthony Bennett, Brampton, ONT: 6’7″ 230 lbs (PF), College – Undecided:
Bennett is a beast down low and is in great physical condition. He can score in a variety of ways in the post and is a strong rebounder. He is a bit undersized for his position so a face-up game will serve him well as he transitions into the next level. UNLV, Florida, Kentucky, Oregon and Washington are all in the mix for his services next year and will make an immediate impact wherever he lands.
Yogi Ferrell, Greenfield, IN: 5’11” 160 lbs (PG), College – Indiana:
Another “pure” point guard, Ferrell has terrific quickness and strength for his size. He plays very good defense and works hard at both ends of the floor. As with most young point guards he can be somewhat turnover prone. I’m surprise by the number of short people in this video.
Archie Goodwin, Little Rock, AR: 6’5″ 181 (SG), College – Kentucky:
Goodwin is another classic Calipari player. He has great size for his position, is extremely athletic and quick off the dribble and competes hard defensively. He has a good jumper, but could improve from deep. He will be a quality replacement for Doron Lamb next fall, should he decide to leave.
Grant Jerrett, La Verne, CA: 6’10” 240 lbs (PF), College – Arizona:
Jerrett has great touch around the basket and is comfortable scoring with both hands. He has great size and potential, but needs to improve on the defensive end and work on more pure post moves. Take a look here.
Shabazz Muhammad, Las Vegas, NV: 6’6″ 215 lbs (SF), College – Undecided:
Shabazz Muhammad was the unanimous #1 player in this class until Nerlens Noel reclassified. He is an incredible scorer and can beat his opponent in almost any way. He is explosive on his way to the basket and has a smooth left handed jumper. He’s extremely competitive and will make a huge impact on the NCAA next year. It’s unclear who leads for his service but UCLA, UNLV, USC, Kentucky, Duke, Kansas and Baylor are all heavily involved.
Marcus Paige, Marion, IA: 6’1″ 160 lbs (PG), College – North Carolina:
Paige is yet another “pure” point guard in this class and seems to indicate a change in philosophy for coach Roy Williams. Gone are the days of Raymond Felton and Ty Lawson. Kendall Marshall and now Marcus Paige don’t resemble their predecessors in terms of speed or athleticism, but they are terrific passers who can run an offense. Paige is a little better shooter than Marshall and can catch and shoot fairly well. Mixtape here.
Devonta Pollard, De Kalb, MS: 6’7″ 200 lbs (SF), College – Undecided:
Pollard is an extremely gifted athlete who can jump out of the gym. The majority of his scoring comes from this as he can get to the basket quickly and very few players can contend with him around the rim. His list includes Kentucky, Georgetown, Texas, Missouri, Alabama and Mississippi State. Seriously, check out his hops.
Cameron Ridley, Fort Bend, TX: 6’10” 230 lbs (C), College – Texas:
Ridley is a force down low on both ends of the court. He can score from the block, has decent range for his size, controls the glass and can block shots. What more can you ask from your center?
Marcus Smart, Flower Mound, TX: 6’3″ 200 lbs (SG), College – Oklahoma St.:
Smart is an all around guard who can do a little bit of everything. He’s a tough, competitive kid with a great motor. He needs to work on his three point shooting, but has the tools to really be good at the college level. Hey, this video actually has a song I’ve heard of!
Rasheed Sulaimon, Houston, TX: 6’3″ 175 lbs (SG), College – Duke:
An Elite shooting guard that will fit perfectly into Duke’s system. Sulaimon has got range from deep, though can be streaky at time. He isn’t a great ball handler, but at Duke he will likely just be asked to catch and shoot. When his game is on, he can really fill up the box score.
Winners: NC State surprisingly leads all schools with three players in this year’s game. If CJ Leslie hangs around another year, the Wolfpack will have an incredibly talented and deep team next year. John Calipari is still involved with most of the undecided players in this game as well as Nerlens Noel, who was unable to participate since he reclassified too late. Kentucky could realistically land both he and Shabazz Muhammad, potentially creating one of the greatest recruiting classes of all-time. Arizona also has a strong class this year and Sean Miller is off to a good start bringing back a once powerful program.
Losers: To see both Duke and North Carolina with just one player each in the game this year is certainly surprising. Both teams usually have their pick of recruits, but this year are reaching further down in the rankings. Is father time finally catching up to Coach K and Roy Williams? Connecticut is also not represented this year in the McDonald’s game and one has to wonder what the future is of the Huskie’s program. They are banned from the 2013 NCAA tournament due to poor academic results and Coach Calhoun’s health is continually a question. They got off fairly lightly in terms of NCAA sanctions this past year, but the light on the program is getting brighter.