Five things to watch in the McDonald's All American Game, including who's the top recruit

Photo: Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports

Five things to watch in the McDonald's All American Game, including who's the top recruit

Boys Basketball

Five things to watch in the McDonald's All American Game, including who's the top recruit


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The McDonald’s All American game features a collection of the premiere basketball players in the country.

Here are five things to watch in the game.

The girls game begins at 5 p.m. ET and the boys starts at 7 p.m., both showing on ESPN2.

Who’s the No. 1 player?

Different recruiting outlets have differing opinions of the best player in the 2019 class.

Point guard Cole Anthony leads the Chosen 25. He averaged a triple-double and competed in both the slam dunk contest and won the 3-point shootout in the Powerade Jam Fest on Monday. Can he put on another show Wednesday night?

ESPN thinks it’s Memphis signee James Wiseman, a “unicorn” who is seven feet tall with a 7-foot-6 wingspan and an improving outside shot. His season backs this up, as he was named the Gatorade National Player of the Year and is a finalist for ALL-USA Boys Basketball player of the year.

Or maybe the best player is Anthony Edwards, who tops the 247Sports rankings. He reclassified from the 2020 class earlier this year and has proven he’s just as good as any other senior with his athleticism and strong shooting abilities.

Rivals says it’s Vernon Carey Jr., a dominant force in the low post, but he won’t be playing due to a severe ankle sprain.

They’re all highly talented athletes. Perhaps the McDonald’s game can give some insight on who deserves the top ranking and perhaps an early look at the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.


Stanford vs. South Carolina

Is there a chance we’ll see the future of the Stanford and South Carolina girls basketball teams match up Wednesday?

On the East Team, post Aliyah Boston (No. 3 in class), point guard Zia Cooke (No. 7 in class) and wing Brea Beal (No. 13 in class) are all South Carolina commits.

The most recognizable name of the bunch is Cooke, whose highlight footage got the attention of famous people including Chance the Rapper and Dwyane Wade.

On the West Team, wing Haley Jones (No. 1 in class), Fran Belibi (No. 23 in class) and Ashten Prechtel (No. 16 in class) are all committed to Stanford.

While you likely remember Belibi from the slam dunk contest, Jones is an elite player who nearly put up a quintuple-double in a game this year (28 points, 12 rebounds, 9 assists 8 blocks, 8 steals) and Prechtel had two games with more than 30 rebounds.

(Also worth noting: the East Team coaches hail from Jones’ school, Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.). Will they be able to stop her?)

There’s a chance this is the first battle of many we’ll see between these trios.

Players from non-Super 25 teams

Some high school stars already have name recognition.

With a class of extremely talented bigs including Wiseman, Carey and IMG Academy’s Armando Bacot Jr., it’s easy for a guy like Matthew Hurt to get lost in the mix.

He attends John Marshall High School (Rochester, Minn.), which went 22-7 but doesn’t have the national attention like some of the other programs and players. That shouldn’t matter.

Hurt is a stud who averaged 36.8 points and 12.4 rebounds per game. He can shoot and pass as well as any big in the country and is one of the most sound players fundamentally.

Another player to watch is point guard Nico Mannion has gained notoriety for his game, but it’s very likely you hadn’t heard of Pinnacle High School (Phoenix) until he and the team’s quarterback, Spencer Rattler, burst onto scene.

If this is your first time watching, enjoy. Mannion is adept at driving to the hoop and dishing it out to any open man, anywhere on the court. He’s a sharpshooter who thrives in the clutch — just watch this game-winning buzzer-beater to cap a 57-point night. Plus, he’s teammed up with friend and future Arizona teammate Josh Green, who have already played summer ball together.

Jordan Horston

Africentric (Columbus, Ohio) finished No. 3 in the Super 25 but were not selected for the GEICO Nationals.

Will Horston show out particularly strong to show she deserved that recognition?

Named an ALL-USA Player of the Year finalist, Horston averaged about 18 points, eight rebounds, six assists and four steals to lead her team to an undefeated championship season.

She likely would have averaged even higher stats if her team didn’t simply dominate the competition. Seriously, in the five games between February 19 and March 6 — the final two regular season games and first three playoff games — Africentric outscored opponents 374-111.

Ranked No. 2 in the class, Horston is athletic, can score all over the court and is a terror on defense. It should be a treat to see her try to dissect opposing stars.

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All the undecided players

Four players on Team East have still yet to announce their college.

You can bet stars will be trying to coax them to join forces next year.

Anthony will announce at GEICO Nationals. In the meantime, other players may be trying to persuade him to sign with their school. Bacot, at the very least, has been working on him to join North Carolina, according to ZagsBlog.

He’s also been talking to Precious Achiuwa and Hurt, the latter of whom told USA TODAY that North Carolina is one of the four he’s most considering (though he doesn’t have any official final list).

While it’s unlikely the entire group comes, imagining that core under Roy Williams is a fun exercise.

Hurt is also being recruited by Memphis, and though the school didn’t make the list of four, it sounds like he hasn’t completely counted them out. He and Tennessee commit Josiah-Jordan James had this fun exchange about head coaches Rick Barnes and Penny Hardaway.

Tyrese Maxey has been pushing Hurt and Jaden McDaniels to consider Kentucky. McDaniels, from Federal Way (Wash.), was named the Washington Gatorade Player of the Year, but his recruitment is up in the air.

Meanwhile, Duke recently reached out to Trendon Watford, and he’s considering them. Will teaming up with Duke commits Wendell Moore Jr. and Carey sway him?

Watch friendships and potential alliances form on the court Wednesday night.


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