Jordan Brand Classic 2013: Biggest Names to Watch at Hyped Event
College basketball fans were able to get a taste of what they can expect from next year's incoming freshmen with the McDonald's All-American Game, but the top high school players in the nation will have yet another opportunity to impress as they compete in the Jordan Brand Classic.
The game, which will be played on April 13 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., will feature 22 of the best recruits in college basketball. Most of them have already chosen a school, so they're aiming to impress their fans more than potential suitors, but every participant will certainly want to play their very best regardless.
Here are the top stars you should keep tabs on while watching the 2013 edition of the Jordan Brand Classic.
Which player are you most interested to watch in the Jordan Brand Classic?
As the lone player in the Jordan Brand Classic who has yet to commit to a school, Andrew Wiggins may have a bit more to prove than everyone else. Regardless of how he performs, though, Wiggins is the No. 1 recruit in the country, according to 247Sports.com. North Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky and Florida State are among the top universities pursuing him at the moment, and they'll probably want him even more after the Jordan Brand Classic.
Wiggins looked very good in the McDonald's All-American Game, but he was somewhat overshadowed by another prospect on this list. As the No. 1 high school player in the nation, Wiggins will aim to make sure that doesn't happen again. At 6'8" and 195 lbs., there is no question that Wiggins still has some growing to do in terms of filling out his frame, but he is already a dynamic offensive player.
His ability to get to the rim and finish is extremely impressive, and his shooting stroke is admirable as well. Wiggins could probably stand to improve on the defensive end, although his wingspan helps him a lot in that regard. There probably won't be much defensive acumen on display in the Jordan Brand Classic, though, so look for Wiggins to put on a show offensively.
After committing to Arizona, forward Aaron Gordon celebrated by going off for 24 points and earning most valuable player honors in the McDonald's All-American Game. The 6'8", 210-lb. star from San Jose, Calif. was one of the final big names to make a decision, so there is still a lot of interest in him among college basketball fans. Because of that, he'll be followed quite closely in the Jordan Brand Classic.
According to 247Sports.com, Gordon is the No. 6 recruit in this year's classic, although another MVP performance could potentially cause experts to reconsider their stance. Gordon put on an astonishing aerial display in the McDonald's All-American Game as he threw down a number of impressive dunks. Since there isn't much defensive resistance in these types of all-star games, Gordon will likely have his way once again.
Since Gordon is big and can stretch the floor a little bit, it would be nice to see him try some more mid-range stuff in order to show off his versatility. Whatever the case, Gordon is someone who every fan should keep tabs on because he has superstar written all over him.
Although Kentucky seems to be hogging most of the top recruits in the class of 2013, Duke managed to get its fans on an exciting prospect in the form of Jabari Parker. The 6'8", 220-lb. forward from Chicago is the No. 3 recruit in the nation, according to 247Sports.com, and he already has more of an all-around game than most of his counterparts. It isn't easy to show that in exhibition games, but hopefully Parker excels on both ends of the floor.
Parker can score with the best of them, but his ability to clean the glass and anticipate as a shot blocker is extremely intriguing. Duke will need a versatile player like Parker next year as it stands to lose a couple key players. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski has to be extremely excited about Parker's immense potential, so he'll be an interested observer.
Parker may not stand out quite as much as Wiggins and Gordon since he's a bit less explosive from an offensive standpoint, but he'll do enough to get noticed. Parker will have to fight with Gordon for touches on the West team, as was the case in the McDonald's All-American Game; however, his complete game will ultimately shine through.
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