There's nothing more exciting for high school ballers than getting the chance to play in the McDonald's All-American Game. This year's installment of the contest features some of the best talent we've seen in years.
While the game itself takes place on Wednesday, there have already been several events for the fans. Mirroring the NBA's All-Star Weekend, McDonald's had a skills competition, three-point shootout and dunk contest (the Powerade Jam Fest) on Monday night.
Grayson Allen, a Duke commit, stole the show and won the dunk contest with this slam:
With some of college basketball's next top stars in action in the All-American Game, you're not going to want to miss any of the action. Here's everything you need to know regarding TV information and rosters for the event.
|2014 McDonald's All-American Game (Girls)||April 2, 2014||7:00 p.m. ET||ESPNU|
|2014 McDonald's All-American Game (Boys)||April 2, 2014||9:30 p.m. ET||ESPN|
|Justin Jackson||SF||96||North Carolina|
|Isaiah Whitehead||SG||95||Seton Hall|
|D'Angelo Russell||SG||95||Ohio State|
|Theo Pinson||SF||96||North Carolina|
|Joel Berry||PG||94||North Carolina|
*All Player grades courtesy of ESPN.com.
According to the United Center's official website, Douglas Freeland, director of the McDonald’s All-American Games, is very excited about the crop of talent in this year's game:
The very best high school basketball talent will play at Chicago’s United Center on April 2. The McDonald’s All American Games are a great opportunity for fans and families to see basketball’s future stars compete at the highest level on a national stage.
Here are three of those top talents that Freeland alluded to.
Jahlil Okafor, Duke
Jahlil Okafor (6'10", 256 lbs) is a true center and a force in the low post. He has great length that allows him to outreach opposing players to grab rebounds and finish strong at the rim. His surprising athleticism also helps in that regard.
Domination is nothing new for Okafor. He's one of the best high school players in the country for a reason, after all. Terrance Noland of ChicagoMag.com fills us in on some examples of his game that make him so overpowering:
"There are two Jahlil Okafors. There is the one you see on the court: all power dunks (he once broke a rim during a game), spin moves, stare downs, and various other displays of domination."
Also effective on the pick-and-roll, Okafor will look to get in sync with point guard Tyler Ulis (Kentucky) in this one. Apparently, that's something that they've already been doing:
Tyler Ulis and Jahlil Okafor just worked a beautiful pick and roll that ended w/ an Okafor dunk over a defender.— Camron Smith (@camronsmith) March 31, 2014
Look for Okafor to steal the show. He is one of the best players in this class.
Myles Turner, TBD
Still unsigned, Myles Turner is still holding out for the right situation. Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star points out the type of player that his new school will be getting:
Turner, a native of Euless, Texas, is the No. 6 overall player in the class, according to Rivals.com. He’s also the only unsigned player here participating in the most prestigious event for blue-chip recruits. He projects as a ready-made rim protector at the college level — and a developing offensive talent.
Turner participated in the Jam Fest on Monday night and threw down some impressive dunks. They were not enough for him to advance to the finals, though.
Turner also competed in the three-point shootout on Monday, further displaying his athleticism and versatility. The school that signs him is going to be extremely lucky—even if he only plays there for a year. He has the makings of a one-and-done.
Cliff Alexander, Kansas
Kansas got a future stud when Cliff Alexander committed to be a Jayhawk, and though he projects as a possible one-and-done, Kansas may be getting a star for multiple years.
Alexander told Mike Helfgot of The Chicago Tribune that he wouldn't mind staying at Kansas for two years: "I wouldn't mind staying two years. Stay and get better. I've been talking to my parents about it. Some guys leave and they aren't ready. They rush in and they're rushed out. I just want to take my time."
Arguably one of the best athletes in the class, Alexander has quick feet, strong hands and a tremendous wingspan of 7'3". Because of his ability to score inside the paint, Alexander can be a very efficient member of a half-court offense.
Competing in the Jam Fest allowed Alexander to show off that athleticism and dunking ability that he possesses. This is what one of his best dunks from high school looked like:
Alexander has the potential to completely take over this game. Don't be surprised if he does.