Analyzing 2013 UNC Recruits' Performances in McDonald's All-American Game
On Wednesday night, fans were able to witness two of North Carolina's latest commits in Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks. Also playing on the East side was the coveted Andrew Wiggins, who has yet to sign his letter of intent.
Tar Heel fans will definitely be hoping UNC lands him after this game—if they weren't already.
The McDonald's All-American game isn't exactly the best gauge for incoming prospects, as it's played more like a pick-up game than anything systematic. Nobody wants to get hurt before their first college season, so players usually aren't very intense either.
I can't say I blame them.
Nevertheless, I have broken down what each of these three prospects were able to show us on the floor of the United Center.
This was a game to forget for Kennedy Meeks. His minutes were very limited, and he never really seemed to look comfortable out there on the floor.
Meeks was 0-for-2 from three, including a nasty air ball. He also missed a 16-foot turnaround jumper to complete an 0-for-3 night. He spent most of the night spreading the floor, and never had the ball in the low post.
For a kid that big, that's a little disappointing.
As highly touted as those mitts are, it didn't show during the game. He couldn't handle a nice feed while cutting to the basket and then lost control on a would-be rebound.
Meeks only had one board, and his lack of leaping ability really showed. He played too close to the basket to rebound effectively, given his short vertical.
The only thing that really impressed me last night was his ability to run the floor. I never got a feel for his endurance with his limited minutes, but he was hanging with the other guys in transition. Meeks didn't appear to be any slower than Joel James, and that seems to be one of the biggest concerns among Tar Heel fans.
From what we witnessed in this game, it doesn't appear Meeks is quite ready for prime time, and it has little to do with his weight.
Isaiah Hicks was also limited in minutes, but he did play more than Meeks—and made a pretty good impression while on the floor.
Hicks finished with four points, two rebounds and two blocked shots. One block was as he was falling away toward the baseline; the other was a block on the driving game MVP Aaron Gordon.
Hicks' defense was pretty solid, as expected. He has great feet and showed off some excellent recovery skills, too. You would assume Aaron Harrison would be a mismatch for him on the wing, but Hicks managed to poke the ball out of his hands before he could drive.
His length and quickness can really impact a game.
Hicks didn't get many looks in the post, but he did show off his ability to draw contact and still finish at the rim. He also ducked through two defenders on his other inside score. He does a good job of contorting his body to both avoid and draw contact.
Hicks also had an impressive baseline drive from about 10 feet out, but he was unable to finish on the reverse.
Overall, I was pretty impressed with Hicks in his little time on the floor. He is a very smooth, fluid player. He isn't a superstar in the half court yet, but he looks to be a solid contributor in his freshman year.
Andrew Wiggins, on the other hand, played a hell of a game by McDonald's standards.
He was matched up against Jabari Parker the whole night, and that's a show we can only hope will continue with Duke and North Carolina next season.
It's safe to say Wiggins won Round 1, as he finished with 19 points, four boards, one assist and two steals. Parker only managed 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting, though his game was much better than those stats indicate. He also had eight boards, three assists, two blocks and two steals.
Wiggins just did a nice job staying in front of him and contesting his shots.
I can't say the same for Parker, though. Wiggins broke out his spin move on Parker twice, leaving him in the dust both times. The first one was the best, as he spun off Parker to his left and floated a 14-footer into the bucket.
On the second one, Parker recovered enough to foul Wiggins before he got the shot off. Wiggins went 1-of-2 on that trip, but he finished 7-of-8 from the line.
That should make Tar Heel fans happy if they land Wiggins, considering the free-throw woes of 2012-13.
The only real negatives I saw with Wiggins was his range and help defense. He was 0-for-2 from three and never really looked confident letting the deep one go. On defense, he didn't seem to want any part of playing help defense or contesting dunks.
The defense I contribute more to the McDonald's All-American game. I don't imagine he would just watch someone dunk in a real game.
Wiggins didn't show complete dominance, but you rarely see that in these games. He still showed off some solid defense in the half court and in transition, where both his steals came.
On the offensive end, he was very smooth and didn't try to force too much, which is rare for a top prospect. They usually seem more desperate to show why they are No. 1.
Wiggins just let the game come to him. You have to love that from an 18-year-old.
I'm hesitant to put an NBA sticker on him at this point, but there is no doubt he is primed and ready to hit the college hardwood.