What: Jordan Brand Classic Girls Game, East vs. West
When: 3:30 p.m. ET, Friday
TV: ESPN3 streaming
What to expect: It’s rare that an All-American Game can produce a significant contrast in style by dint of the rosters themselves, but that’s precisely what is likely to unfold in the inaugural girls game. The East is blessed with an immense depth of size and skill down low, with five of the team’s players 6-foot-1 or above, and four 6-foot-3 or taller. While that makes them difficult to defend, it also creates an opportunity for the West team, which gains Tennessee-bound point guard Te’a Cooper (she played for the East at the McDonald’s All America game) to push the tempo and take advantage of the East’s lack of speed and mobility, again in relative terms.
In addition to the game plan, both teams also feature a strong UConn vs. Notre Dame undercurrent. The game has three UConn and three Notre Dame signees competing alongside each other, touching both rosters and proving once and for all that even when teens get along together, familiarity can breed contempt.
“They’re nice girls and all, but when they’re on the court, they’re still UConn,” Marina Mabrey, a Notre Dame signee from New Jersey, told USA TODAY High School Sports.
Then there’s the revenge factor. This is the first time that girls have been invited to play in two different All-American games, and those on the West squad, a majority of whom were on the same team at the McDonald’s Game, are still smarting from an 89-87 loss in the contest.
“I think both teams are focused on winning, particularly the girls that were on the West at the McDonald’s game,” USA TODAY All-USA girls basketball player of the year Katie Lou Samuelson said.