CHICAGO – Arizona commit Allonzo Trier won’t have time to celebrate if his West squad beats the East team in tonight’s McDonald’s All American Game.
Instead, it’s lights out as soon as Trier and several of the other top 24 boys basketball players in Chicago get back to their hotel. Trier, LSU commit Ben Simmons and five-star forward Jaylen Brown have a 4 a.m. flight to New York on Thursday to compete in the Dick’s Sporting Goods High School Nationals.
“That will be really tough,” Trier said. “That’s going to be one of the quickest turnarounds, especially going from one state to another, hopping off the plane and going straight to the game and having to be ready to play.”
Trier’s Findlay Prep team plays in the quarterfinals of the Dick’s Sporting Goods High School Nationals at 12 p.m. on Thursday. That’s just over 15 hours from tip of the boys McDonald’s All American Game at 8 tonight.
The next two weeks are a grind for a number of the country’s top 2015 prospects. Many playing in the McDonald’s All American Game will also attend the Dick’s Nationals from April 2-4, Nike Hoop Summit on April 11 and the Jordan Brand Classic on April 17.
These short, jam-packed stretches are nothing new to the nation’s elite, who are often used to playing upwards of four to five games per weekend for months on end during AAU season.
Callaway guard Malik Newman is used to being this busy. After tonight, Newman will be on center stage in the Nike Hoop Summit and Jordan Brand Classic, giving him another shot to show off his skills in front of scouts and recruiting analysts before heading to college.
“I look at it in the same way as USA (Basketball),” Newman said. “With that being such a high honor, you don’t want to let your country down. This is the same thing. … I have to come out with the mental aspect of getting the job done and representing my city and my state by going out there and playing.”
Given how crucial the McDonald’s All American practices are in determining the final rankings for the class of 2015, players aren’t taking them lightly.
But going head-to-head in matchups against the best players in 2015 takes its toll.
“It’s the top 24 guys. All the bigs are trying to come at me, and I’m trying to come at them,” Maryland commit Diamond Stone said. “You get sore. I’m sore right now.”
Battling through the fatigue, soreness and strain of a crucial two weeks is draining. For Brown, whose Wheeler (Ga.) team will play in the Dick’s quarterfinals at 2 p.m. on Thursday, using the same mentality that helped lead his team to a state championship is what he relies on.
“We say something in Georgia — the Five Ps: Proper preparation prevents poor performance. If you prepare right, you’ll be all right,” Brown said.
The magnitude of these events is evident. The McDonald’s All American Game, Nike Hoops Summit and Jordan Brand Classic are nationally televised. These events are for the elite and future NBA talent.
Many of these prospects have played in the limelight before. But not much compares to this stretch they’re about to experience.
“It’s definitely different because of how big these events are,” Five-star Bishop Gorman center Stephen Zimmerman Jr. said. “I’m used to going to a bunch of events in a row but these are so huge. It’s a big month for me.”
The grind is evident and wearing on even the most elite players in the country. These next two weeks will help create a lasting impression for the top players in 2015.
More than anything, these high-level events will prepare the players for what they could face at the next level.
“It really helps you get ready for the college season because the Final Four is four days off, two games,” Five-star Homestead (Ind.) center Caleb Swanigan said. “It gets you ready.”
Contact Courtney Cronin at (601) 961-7091 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @CourtneyRCronin on Twitter.