The stars of tomorrow put on a show in front of thousands in attendance at the Barclays Center on Friday night. The West Team defeated the East Team, 124-116, overcoming a 7-point halftime deficit. Nearly half of all participants scored in double figures in the high-scoring affair.
Brian Bowen (26 points) earned MVP honors for the East Team, while Lonnie Walker was MVP for the West Team (19 points). Bowen remains undecided, with Creighton, Arizona and Michigan State as the frontrunners in his extended recruitment. The 5-star small forward had a dominant performance and was the only player to reach 20 points. He finished 10-of-13 from the field and 6-of-7 from beyond the arc in his spectacular outing. Walker has signed to Miami to play under Jim Larranaga next fall. Walker was clearly a crowd favorite last night, as a section near the main entrance of the Barclays Center chanted “Lonnie! Lonnie! Lonnie!” on multiple occasions.
Brandon McCoy, an undecided big man, was the lone double-double in the contest. McCoy posted 15 points, 13 rebounds, and added three blocks as well. The 5-star power forward/center is down to Arizona, Michigan State, Oregon, San Diego State and UNLV. Rumors are circulating around a decision from McCoy late this month.
DeAndre Ayton, the nation’s No. 2 player and the top prospect in the event, posted 19 points and eight rebounds. Ayton struggled immensely early in the game, but certainly got into a rhythm as the game continued. Sean Miller and Arizona should be very pleased with the talent coming in next season.
Michael Porter Jr, the top player in the senior class, was unable to play due to a back injury. The recent Missouri commit won MVP at the McDonald’s All-American Game in March.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment at the Jordan Brand Classic were the arguably the nation’s top two scorers in Gary Trent Jr and Trae Young. The two both participated on the West Team and combined for 11 points on a measly 3-of-10 from the field.
Point guards were turnover machines as well. Quade Green recorded a game-high ten assists, but turned the ball over nine times. Trevon Duval, who finished with eight points, had four assists with four turnovers. Collin Sexton, who is headed to Alabama next fall, had two assists and five turnovers, giving him an 0.40 assist-to-turnover ratio. Tremont Waters, too, had an assist-to-turnover ratio below one. The undecided point man had two assists and four turnovers.
There were a total of 41 turnovers in the matchup. While we do have to understand these teenagers were playing on a massive stage in front of NBA scouts, many of these guards will be primary ball handlers on teams in college next season. Coaches will heavily rely on them to take care of the ball, and as all basketball fans know, turnovers can be the determining factor in the outcome of a game.
Big men clearly dominated for the majority of the contest, and will likely carry that production in college next year. Although this year in college basketball was the year of the point guard with Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, and De’Aaron Fox, among others, next year may be the year of the big man.