The best 24 high school seniors in the nation gathered in Chicago this week to show off their talents in the annual McDonald’s All-American game.
In its 40 years of existence, the McDonald’s game has seen future NBA stars such as Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, the list can go on and on.
Duke and Kentucky signees combined for six of this year’s All-Americans including three prospects who are still undecided- F Mo Bamba, F Kevin Knox and G Trevon Duval- but have both these teams on their respective lists.
After what he said was “the craziest three weeks of his life,” Missouri bound Michael Porter Jr, who recently decommitted from Washington after previous Head Coach Lorenzo Romar was fired from the job after going 9-22 this season, displayed why he was the number one player in the country. Porter Jr finished with a game-high 17 points in 21 minutes while leading the West to a 109-107 victory on Wednesday.
For the East team, Unsigned Mohamed Bamba, who is 6’11” with a 7’9″ wingspan, led the way with a team-high 17 points while fellow unsigned Kevin Knox, who oddly looks the exact same as North Carolina big man Kennedy Meeks, followed with 15 points and did not miss a shot from inside the three-point arc.
In unwritten rule in watching sports is a fan or expert can’t judge a player based on one game or practice. Heck, this is an all-star game. Although these high schoolers actually played somewhat decent defense in this showcase, it’s still hard to judge the full potential of each and every one of these players.
But, after watching these ballers highlight tapes, one intense practice, and the McDonald’s game, I’m going to give the readers my thoughts on the week.
Best Notable Player: G Collin Sexton, Alabama
This kid is something else. Sexton, a 6’3″ guard from Georgia, is on his way to becoming the next great freshman point guard in the SEC. He has a certain swagger to him that stood out to me, he goes hard on every possession, and although he’s very flashy, he makes smart decisions that make himself and his teammates better. ‘Bama and Avery Johnson got a steal in this Sexton.
Best Underrated Player: SG Lonnie Walker, Miami
I follow a lot of college and high school basketball. It’s my passion and what I want to do as a future career. Guys like Lonnie Walker are my favorite types of players and remind me why I want to do this for the rest of my life. Yes, Walker is a McDonald’s All-American and the 18th best player in the country according to ESPN.com but, no one was talking about this kid coming into the week. Coming from Reading, Pa, Walker knows how to put the ball in the bucket and he is going to be a stud in Coral Gables. He and rising sophomore Bruce Brown are going to be the ultimate one-two scoring punch in the ACC and that league better be ready. Consider myself part of the Lonnie Walker fan club.
Best Unsigned Player: C/F Mo Bamba, Undecided
Bamba is one of the most unique prospects you’ll ever meet. His 6’11” frame to go along with a 7’9″ wingspan is absolutely insane to wrap your head around. In addition to his physical stature, Bamba is very athletic for his size and is also one of the smartest guys you’ll ever meet. His final schools are Duke, Kentucky, Texas, and Michigan.
Best NBA Career Ahead: F Michael Porter Jr, Missouri
I know it’s cliche, but Porter is one of the best NBA prospects I’ve ever seen. His athleticism to coincide with his scoring ability is something that a lot of top players have, but Porter knows how to use it in a way that makes him special. Not to mention, he is one of the most humble and mature kids off the floor which will take him a long way. Look out SEC.
The rest of the All-Americans:
PG Quade Green, Kentucky: Great leader. Small, but understand the game and not afraid to call his teammates out when they’re doing something wrong. Potential to be a consistent scorer, but passing is his calling card.
PG Trevon Duval, Undecided: Very similar to Green but is a lot more reliant scorer. Freak athlete. Duke, Kentucky, Arizona, Baylor, and Seton Hall compose of his final five.
F Jarred Vanderbilt, Kentucky: Liked what I say in practice from him. Athletic scorer but needs to work on outside shot to be great.
C Nicholas Richards, Kentucky: Great around the rim. Work in the process for the ‘Cats and Coach Cal.
C Mitchell Robinson, Western Kentucky: Very impressed how he runs the floor. Will be a lot of fun to see him dominate Conference USA while playing for Rick Stansbury and the Hilltoppers.
F PJ Washington, Kentucky: Bruiser. Not afraid of contact. Force inside and could cause problems for taller opponents.
F Kris Wilkes, UCLA: Fits well in UCLA’s system. Athletic, quick for his height, but needs to develop a consistent jumper.
F Wendell Carter, Duke: An absolute load in size. Going to be depended on right away to rebound and score inside.
C Deandre Ayton, Arizona: the Traditional big man with a developing outside game. He and senior Dusan Ristic will be fun to watch next year in Tuscon.
G Gary Trent, Duke: Matt Jones 2.0 except more talented. Shoots the ball well, hustles, and plays great defense every possession. Fits perfectly in Duke backcourt.
G Jaylen Hands, UCLA: Will replace Lonzo Ball right way in Westwood. Athletic, smooth guard who plays bigger than he is.
F Troy Brown Jr, Oregon: Point forward. Brown reminds me a lot of Dillon Brooks how he can score the ball when he wants and find an open teammate. Dana Altman continues to kill it on the recruiting trail.
F Jaren Jackson Jr, Michigan State: Jackson will be a process for Sparty. Athletic big who can space the floor. Izzo is going to turn him into something great.
G Trae Young, Oklahoma: Not afraid to pull-up from 30-feet and make it. Young can score, score, and score some more. Can’t wait to watch him grow.
F Brian “Tugs” Bowen, Undecided: Didn’t play a ton due to the fact his high school team played the next day. A best pure scorer in the class who is a winner. Could see him ending up at Michigan State or Arizona.
F Chuck O’Bannon Jr, USC: Love this kid. Great motor, very smooth, and understands how to play the game. Great get for Andy Enfield and the Trojans.
F Billy Preston, Kansas: Will be relied on next year to score a lot for the Jayhawks. Can take you inside and hurt you from the perimeter.
G MJ Walker, Undecided: A Strong dude who could pass as a linebacker in football. Has a great foundation of skills but will need to put it all together. Auburn, Kansas, Florida State, and Maryland are potential landing spots for Walker.
C Brandon L. McCoy, Undecided: Very smooth around the perimeter for his size. Post game is there but needs a little more work. Final Five include Arizona, Michigan State, Oregon, UNLV, and San Diego State.