Five things we learned Friday at the Jordan Brand Classic

Five things we learned Friday at the Jordan Brand Classic

Jordan Brand Classic

Five things we learned Friday at the Jordan Brand Classic

West team MVP Lonnie Walker Jr. is unusual among boys players at the Jordan Brand Classic because he played all four years at Reading, Pa. (Photo: Nicole Sweet/USA TODAY Sports)

BROOKLYN — Five things we learned at the Jordan Brand Classic:

You can stay home and be pretty awesome

Lonnie Walker Jr., the West team MVP in the boys national game, was a rare example at Jordan Brand — an elite  player who stayed four years at the same high school.

Walker, who is headed to Miami, passed former NBA player Donyell Marshall this year as the all-time leading scorer at Reading, Pa. The 6-5 guard, who had 19 points Friday, including seven in a row in a key stretch, bypassed several opportunities to go to a national-level high school program.

“I understand that there’s more to this than just myself,” Walker said. “This is bigger than basketball. If you look at my city, I motivated a lot of youth kids, inspired by a lot of people and you can tell by everyone (from Reading) that was here.”

Walker had a large section of supporters, including some wearing T-shirts that said “Behind Every Lonnie Walker IV, There is a Proud Red Knight.”

For the third straight year, the No. 1 guy didn’t play

Michael Porter Jr., didn’t practice this week because of a bad back, so it was no surprise that he didn’t play. At least he showed up. For the third consecutive year, the American Family Insurance ALL-USA Player of the Year didn’t play in the game. Last year, Lonzo Ball was inexplicably not invited, and in 2015, Ben Simmons didn’t make the trip, begging off for exhaustion. There’s are lot of demands, media and otherwise, on the No. 1 player and the Jordan Brand Classic, as the last major all-star game, comes at a time when the players are often injured or weary.

Two to keep an eye on

Canada’s Addison Patterson had 25 points and eight rebounds in the Blue Team’s 126-83 win over Red in the Global game. The 6-6 wing showed a complete game that will have him in demand and he’s only a freshman.

“It feels great,” Patterson said. “You play in the game with a lot of big names watching. It’s a lot of pressure, but it’s really exciting, so I just went out there and had fun.”

Another player worth keeping an eye on is Sunrise Christian (Wichita, Kan.) center N’Faly Dante, a 7-footer from Mali. He was 8-for-10 from the field for 16 points and six rebounds and three blocks, moving really well for his size.

Paging defense, hello, anyone know where the defense is?

Every player on the JBC Regional Game Blue Team scored in double figures and the Blue squad lost 170-162. That’s how much defense was played.

Kimani Lawrence, an Arizona State signee from the New Hampton (Mass.) School, led the Blue Team with 27 points in 21 minutes.

“I played in one other game that was this high scoring,” Lawrence said. “It was an All-Star Game in Rhode Island. It was about the same score. I tried passing it, but I felt good shooting it just about every time I touched the ball.”

Keith Williams of Bishop Loughlin (Brooklyn, N.Y.), who is headed to Cincinnati, made the locals happy by leading the Red team with 25 points.

“In a game like this, you run a little more, but it was a close game, so we knew we had to push it,” Williams said.

Brandon McCoy is going to make some coach really happy

Lost in his team’s 124-116 loss to the West in the Jordan Brand Classic was McCoy’s performance: 15 points and 13 rebounds in 20 minutes.

McCoy, a 6-11 power forward from Cathedral Catholic (San Diego), is undecided and he said he hopes to make a decision this month among his final five of Michigan State, Oregon, UNLV, Arizona, and San Diego State.


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