Five things to watch for in the Jordan Brand Classic, which begins with the girls game at 2:30 p.m. (ET) today, followed by the boys game at 5 p.m. (ESPN2) from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Keep an eye on Romeo Langford
Langford, a second-team American Family Insurance ALL-USA selection, is the lone undecided recruit at the game, so a lot of people will be looking to see how he does and which of the players might try to sway him. On Saturday, he said his final three schools are Indiana, Kansas and Vanderbilt. The 6-6 wing averaged 35.5 points this past season, leading New Albany, Ind., to a 25-2 season. He’s one of the top pure shooters in Saturday’s event. With defense not a focus at all-star games, he’s likely to get a lot of open looks.
Look who’s not here
Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) wing R.J. Barrett, the American Family Insurance ALL-USA Player of the Year, isn’t here because he’s resting after helping Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) win the GEICO High School Nationals last week and before playing in the Nike Hoop Summit later this week. Spartanburg Day (Spartanburg, S.C.) power forward Zion Williamson, is here but not playing after injuring his thumb at the McDonald’s All American Game in Atlanta two weeks ago. Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) guard Keldon Johnson, who hurt his ankle last week at the GEICO High School Nationals, is out as well. The Jordan Brand Classic tradition, of having an International Game and a Regional Game featuring New York City-area players, has been scrapped as well this year.
The game highlights next season’s Duke-Kentucky season opener
Duke will play Kentucky in Indianapolis on Nov. 6 in both teams’ season opener and there’s a Duke-Kentucky twist to this year’s game with one squad having Duke signees Cameron Reddish of Westtown School (West Chester, Pa.), Williamson and Tre Jones of Apple Valley, Minn., against the other team having Kentucky signees Tyler Herro of Whitnall (Greenfield, Wis) and Johnson.
Coby White is worth the price of admission
White, who like Langford, was a second-team ALL-USA selection, has a nonstop motor that makes him fun to watch. The 6-4 point guard from Greenfield School (Wilson, N.C.) has a solid outside shot, a little pizzazz with his passing and on top of that, has a bouncing Sideshow Bob haircut that makes him impossible to miss. White, the only North Carolina signee in the event, scored a state-record 3,573 points in his career and averaged 30.2 points 10.3 rebounds, and 9.1 assists per game this season.
Watch Christyn Williams hit jumper after jumper
Williams, who was the Most Valuable Player of the McDonald’s All American game last week in Atlanta after scoring 22 points and pulling down 12 rebounds, is a match-up nightmare. The 5-11 guard is physical enough to take it inside, yet, as she showed in Saturday’s practice, she’s deadly from the 15-16 foot range. Williams, a Connecticut signee, led Central Arkansas Christian (North Little Rock, Ark.) to a 36-1 record and a 4A state title, averaging 26.8 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.8 steals per game.