Analyzing 2013 UK Recruits' Performances in McDonald's All-American Game
The 2013 McDonald's All-American Game took place Wednesday night in Chicago, and it was a peek into what the 2013-14 Kentucky basketball practices may look like.
With six players playing in the game there was plenty of talk about the class John Calpari assembled to help get the Wildcats their ninth NCAA championship.
We'll take a look at Marcus Lee, James Young, Dakari Johnson, Aaron Harrison, Andrew Harrison and Julius Randle and how they played in the McDonald's game. While the game was an exhibition, it showed plenty of things Kentucky fans have to look forward to.
Marcus Lee was quiet during this game, but that's because All-Star games don't suit his style of play.
Lee is a rebounder and shot-blocker, not something that is typically advertised in a game that typically lacks any sort of defensive action. However, that's not to say Lee won't be a force in the college game.
He saw limited action in the McDonald's game and finished with two points when he made his only shot attempt of the game.
James Young didn't see as much action as he normally would have due to a hip injury:
James Young on the floor now. He had been battling a minor hip injury during workouts.— Matt May (@TCPMattMay) April 4, 2013
However, during his time he showed what he is capable of. Young pitched in six points on 3-of-6 from the field while also grabbing four rebounds.
The Rochester, Mich. native is a bigger guard who is capable of putting up big numbers in both the scoring and rebounding columns. In a game last month, he poured in 27 points and 14 rebounds.
Young missed his one three-point attempt in the game, but his shot looked pure as he missed it long. Again, his injury prevented him from playing more as he appeared in only 16 minutes of action.
Dakari Johnson showed why he is the best center in the class of 2013, and it's not close. Of all the positions, the center position may have the biggest gap from No. 1 to No. 2.
Johnson played in 18 minutes and was able to score 12 points in his time on the court, while shooting over 50 percent from the field. He also pitched in five rebounds, including four on the defensive side.
Johnson showed his ability to read the play and step out away from the basket by setting numerous screens at the top of the key or at the elbow. In a play in the first half, Johnson set a high screen and immediately rolled to the basket, showing good hands cleanly catching a bounce pass and finishing at the rim.
With Calipari's system utilizing a lot of high ball screens, it should be encouraging for Kentucky fans to see Johnson look comfortable in stepping away from the rim to set the screen and immediately rolling to the hoop.
Aaron Harrison showed his athleticism early when he ran a fast break with his brother only to finish with an alley-oop dunk.
Harrison only shot 3-of-8 from the field but contributed with five assists in 18 minutes of action.
He showed his ability to create his own shot, however, by showing an array of moves including a crossover to a pull-up jumper. Harrison will have no problem bringing his game to the college level as he showed his offensive game is polished and can pass from the 2-guard position as well.
The only downside to Harrison's game was going 0-of-3 from behind the arc. Don't let that worry you, Kentucky fans; he won't be an Archie Goodwin-type shooter and will have no problem making those deep shots come late October.
Kentucky has their point guard for 2013-14. In one game it's safe to say there is no doubt that Kentucky fans will not have to sit through another year of questionable point guard play.
Andrew Harrison showed the complete package in his 19 minutes of time on the floor. The point guard scored 10 points and four assists while only committing one turnover. More impressively, he didn't miss a shot from the field as he went 5-of-5.
Harrison showed his ability to score both in the paint and outside. In the first half, he bullied his way to a layup by blowing by his defender and finishing in traffic followed by a crossover to create space and drill a jumper from the free-throw line.
The one thing that was always on display during Wednesday's game is Harrison's ability to control the floor, even in an exhibition game. He always made the players around him better, setting them up for easy scores. With his size, expect to see a lot of what he did Wednesday night out of Harrison.
Julius Randle shined the brightest out of Kentucky's six recruits in the McDonald's game. The Texan forward scored 11 points while pitching in seven rebounds in 22 minutes.
Randle showed his athleticism by having what may have been the highlight of the night when he threw down a reverse dunk off an alley-oop. Kentucky fans should rejoice because he threw down the dunk with as much as intensity as he played with all night. Something that was not seen during Kentucky's games this year.
Despite playing with great rebounders next year, don't be shocked if Randle leads the Wildcats in boards. He went after each rebound aggressively and made it seem like it was his job to get every loose ball whether or not the score of the game mattered.
Randle also showed he's not afraid of any challenge as he was often matched up against Aaron Gordon. With Randle constantly challenging Gordon and not lacking any sort of intensity in an exhibition game, it showed there will be competition every practice.