The best high school basketball recruits in the country will once again be on display, this time in Brooklyn, N.Y., for the 2014 Jordan Brand Classic.
A year ago, Julius Randle and Jabari Parker were named co-MVPs of the All-Star event. Andrew Wiggins also had 19 points in a losing effort for the East team. These players went on to extremely successful freshman seasons at their respective schools and will likely all be selected in the top five of the 2014 NBA draft.
The players in attendance at this year's game will hope for the same type of success next season. Before they get to that point, however, they will first try to showcase their ability in front of their future fans and likely plenty of scouts.
While everyone will get their moment in the spotlight, a few players will shine more than others in the exhibition. Here is a look at all the information you need to know about the upcoming game along with the top prospects to watch.
When: Friday, April 18
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Live Stream: ESPN3
|Tyus Jones||Apple Valley, Minn.||Duke|
|Joel Berry||Lake Highland, Fla.||UNC|
|Isaiah Whitehead||Lincoln, N.Y.||Seton Hall|
|LJ Peak||Gaffney, S.C.||Georgetown|
|Grayson Allen||Providence, Fla.||Duke|
|James Blackmon||Marion, Ind.||Indiana|
|Rashad Vaughn||Findlay, Nev.||UNLV|
|Kelly Oubre||Findlay, Nev.||Kansas|
|Justin Jackson||Homeschool Christian Youth Academy, Texas||UNC|
|Reid Travis||De LaSalle, Minn.||Stanford|
|Trey Lyles||Arsenal Tech, Ind.||Kentucky|
|Jahlil Okafor||Whitney Young, Ill.||Duke|
|Karl Towns||St. Joseph, N.J.||Kentucky|
|Emmanuel Mudiay||Prime Prep, Texas||SMU|
|Tyler Ulis||Marian Christian, N.C.||UNC|
|Devin Booker||Moss Point, Miss.||Kentucky|
|Kameron Chatman||Columbia Christian, Ore.||Michigan|
|Theo Pinson||Wesleyan Christian, N.C.||UNC|
|Justise Winslow||St. John's, Texas||Duke|
|Stanley Johnson||Mater Dei, Calif.||Arizona|
|Cliff Alexander||Curie, Ill.||Kansas|
|Chris McCullough||IMG Academy, Fla.||Syracuse|
|Myles Turner||Trinity, Tex.||Undecided|
|Daniel Hamilton||St. John Bosco, Calif.||Connecticut|
|D'Angelo Russell||Montverde Academy, Fla.||Ohio State|
|Shaqquan Aaron||Rainier Beach, Wash.||Louisville|
Players to Watch
Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke
There were a bunch of depressed Duke fans immediately after star forward Jabari Parker decided to declare for the NBA draft in an article written for Sports Illustrated. While a sophomore version of Parker could take the Blue Devils far, they should be just fine without him thanks to an incredible recruiting class.
Duke has four incoming players competing in the Jordan Brand Classic. Tyus Jones is one of the best point guards in the country, Justise Winslow is a versatile wing and Grayson Allen is a pure three-point shooter who is also athletic enough to win the McDonald's All-American Dunk Contest.
However, Jahlil Okafor is the best in the group as a pure center who can consistently score in the post. Jeff Borzello of CBS Sports made this observation while watching him:
Few defenders have any chance of stopping Jahlil Okafor one-on-one when he gets the ball with position. Certainly no one in this game.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) April 12, 2014
At 6'11", 270 pounds, Okafor will have a physical advantage over anyone he faces in college. Duke fans will certainly be fine watching him get easy dunks all year long.
Emmanuel Mudiay, PG, SMU
Larry Brown pulled off a magic act by getting Emmanuel Mudiay to commit to SMU. The legendary head coach clearly knows how good the incoming point guard can be. After watching the McDonald's All-American Game, Brown explained to Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv:
He was the best player. And I love [Jahlil] Okafor, [Stanley] Johnson and Justin Jackson. There are a lot of great players, but in my mind he’s the best player. And that’s not taking anything away from any of those other kids. …
He’s 6-5, he can just play. He makes people better, he can defend, he can rebound. He’s going to be a lottery pick if I don’t screw up.
Mudiay is everything you want in a scoring point guard, with the ability to score in the lane or shoot over defenders who give him too much space. He also can be a distributor when his teammates are open, and his presence will make SMU a lot better next season.
The Mustangs were considered snubs for the NCAA tournament this season, but they should be easily in next year with Mudiay running the show.
Karl Towns, C, Kentucky
There might not be a more versatile player in the class than Karl Towns. At 7'1", you assume that he would be a star in the low post on both ends of the court. While you would be correct in this assumption, he has also shown the ability to step outside and hit three-point shots.
He is a matchup nightmare on offense while also displaying good athleticism and timing to be a big-time shot-blocker on defense.
ESPN's Fran Fraschilla is one of many who have been impressed by the play of the young center:
Impressed with Karl Towns, Jr. For 7-1 guy, skills are ridiculous but his toughness around hoop really improving. Coach Cal will use wisely.— Fran Fraschilla (@franfraschilla) April 13, 2014
While he will certainly showcase his ability in the Jordan Brand Classic, things will get tougher next season in Kentucky. The team returns most of its frontcourt talent, creating a packed lineup, according to Jeff Goodman of ESPN:
Major logjam potentially up front at UK next season: Cauley-Stein, Dakari Johnson, Marcus Lee, Trey Lyles, Karl Towns and Poythress.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) April 14, 2014
Of course, Towns has the ability to cover multiple positions and should find a way to get onto the court.
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