Keep an eye on Jayson Tatum
Ask players at the Jordan Brand Classic who impresses them and inevitably, Tatum’s name will be in the conversation. The 6-9 Duke-bound small forward has probably the fewest holes in his game of any of the players here.
“He’s strong and really skilled and can pull up and hit it,” says Tatum’s East teammate, FSU-signee Jonathan Isaac.
“The person that definitely impressed me is Jayson Tatum,” said Miami signee Bruce Brown (another East teammate). He’s long, can shoot over people and is skilled.”
Four guards who can bomb away
Malik Monk and Frank Jackson are two of the best pure shooters in this game and they’re both on the West side. Jackson is a bit more consistent while Monk is streakier, but both can bomb from long range. The East has two guards who can light it up as well. Markelle Fultz is a strong three-point shooter and V.J. King has the capability of getting hot from long range.
The battle of the bulk
Neither Villanova signee Omari Spellman nor Kansas signee Udoka Azubuike are used to going up against players as big and strong as they are. West power forward Spellman is 6-9 and 275 and East center Azubuike is 6-11 and 270.
Which team has the edge in the girls game?
The West can throw a lot of skilled size out there, with 6-9 center Nancy Mulkey to go with 6-4 Lauren Cox and 6-3 Joyner Holmes. The East, however, will counter with two high-powered guards in Crystal Dangerfield and Jackie Young. With guards normally dominating All-Star games, that might give the East the edge.
Will he or won’t he?
Marques Bolden, a 6-9 center from DeSoto, Texas, is the only undecided boys player. He has said he plans to announce his choice by the Sunday, so there’s a chance he may take advantage of the TV coverage to name his school just a few days early. His final two schools are Duke and Kentucky, so whichever way he goes, there will be plenty of interest. The only undecided girls player is Ionescu (from Miramonte High in Orinda, Calif.), but with the girls game not being televised, there’s not as much pressure on her to announce on Friday.