CHICAGO – Jaren Jackson Jr. arrived at the Marriot Magnificent Mile Sunday morning, eager for the McDonald’s All-American experience. His excitement grew when the power forward and top Michigan State recruit checked in at the hotel’s front desk. There he was told that his roommate for the week would be San Diego Cathedral Catholic center Brandon McCoy, who is strongly considering joining Jackson in East Lansing.
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“Wow, this is pretty funny,” Jackson recalls thinking. “Maybe they did this on accident or they did this on purpose, but either way I’m going to take advantage of it.”
Jackson and McCoy will both play for the West in the 40th annual McDonald’s game, so the two big men are spending a lot of time one another. Jackson, the La Porte (Ind.) La Lumiere star, is trying to not go overboard with the recruiting. Still, every chance he gets – from layup lines to team meals to relaxing before bed – he’s reminding McCoy that the duo could make a devastating pair on the Spartans’ front line next year.
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“It’s been fun,” said McCoy, who is deciding between MSU and Arizona. “(Jaren) hasn’t really been pushing it, because he knows I hear it every day, but he’s slick. He’ll slip it in about Michigan State and stuff like that.”
Both players are 6-foot-11, but they are far from the only big guys that will take the United Center floor Wednesday evening. A couple of Jackson and McCoy’s teammates on the West team – 6-10 Michael Porter Jr., who recently committed to Missouri, and Arizona signee Deandre Ayton, a 7-footer – are considered the top prospects in the country. The overall size of the class is impressive, with eight of the 24 players in the game standing 6-10 or taller.
McCoy isn’t the only uncommitted player in the McDonald’s game. Six players are still deciding, but Jackson is the only McDonald’s player currently committed to a Big Ten school.
Jackson said he’s excited to play in the same arena Michael Jordan called home. But while he’s soaking in the atmosphere, he’s going to keep working on recruiting his roommate.
“Brandon has got to hear from me at any point of the day,” Jackson said. “Of course, I want him to go green and play with me, he’s a great dude and he’s a warrior. He’s tough, one of the toughest players I’ve been around, and he’s going to really do some big things.”