College Basketball Recruiting

Pro-Player Comparisons for Top Recruits at 2016 McDonald's All-American Game

Scott PhillipsFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2016

Pro-Player Comparisons for Top Recruits at 2016 McDonald's All-American Game

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    Jayson Tatum and Markelle Fultz
    Jayson Tatum and Markelle FultzGregory Payan/Associated Press

    The high school class of 2016 is generating a lot of buzz, and its 5-star prospects will take center stage at the McDonald's All-American Game on Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET.

    While there is plenty of potential one-and-done star power in the senior class from guys such as Josh Jackson and Jayson Tatum, the depth is what helps separate it from other classes in recent years. Some classes have only stars, and some provide only depth. This group could have both.

    With big men, wings and guards galore in the 5-star mix, it's time to take a look at some of the more intriguing McDonald's All-Americans who could soon find themselves playing in the pros. 

    Player comparisons can be tricky to manage, but we tried to gauge current skill level with future projection to see what kind of player each one could become. These player comparisons are by no means expectations of levels of future success—comparing a high school kid to a Hall of Famer does not mean he will end up in the Hall of Fame. Instead, they are indicators of how those particular players actually play the game and what skills they bring to the table.

    Here's a look at 10 McDonald's All-Americans and how they project as players at the highest level.

Miles Bridges

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    Pro-Player Comparison: Justise Winslow

    How They Compare: As a 6'6" power wing who can also play a bit as a small-ball 4, Miles Bridges is versatile as an offensive player and also a good enough rebounder to play up front. A lefty like Justise Winslow, the Michigan State commit has the scoring acumen and skill to play on the wing and the power to guard bigger players or wings.

    It's hard to say where Tom Izzo will use Bridges at the college level, but he could be productive at multiple positions like Winslow was at Duke under coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Marques Bolden

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    Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

    Pro-Player Comparison: Al Jefferson

    How They Compare: As a low-post threat who can establish deep post position on either block, Marques Bolden can score using both hands as he continues to add to his post-scoring abilities. With a big 6'11" frame, Bolden can also be a consistent rebounder in traffic and wall up as a defender because of his natural strength.

    And with Bolden's developing footwork, it's looking more and more like a consistent double-team will be necessary to defend him in the future. Al Jefferson plays much heavier than Bolden does right now, but Bolden will have time to add strength over the years to become unmovable on the block.

Terrance Ferguson

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    Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

    Pro-Player Comparison: Terrence Ross

    How They Compare: As one of the most explosive wing athletes in the class, Terrance Ferguson can finish way above the rim like Terrence Ross and has the perimeter jumper to play out on the wing. Ross won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in 2013. That is something Ferguson could do someday with the ridiculous moves he uses already.

    At 6'7", Ferguson has good natural size to be a shooting guard at the pro level, and his ability to hit deep jumpers gives him the potential to be a well-rounded scorer. 

Lonzo Ball

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    Kelly Kline/Getty Images

    Pro-Player Comparison: Jason Kidd

    How They Compare: This is quite a lofty comparison, but there hasn't been a high school basketball player with such an exceptional basketball IQ or passing ability in a long time. When you also factor in Lonzo Ball's good height for a lead guard (6'6") and ability to rebound, it's easier to like the comparison to Jason Kidd.

    Since the UCLA commit can fill up the stat sheet, he's likely to put up some triple-doubles during his career, which is something Kidd did frequently during his time in the NBA. 

Malik Monk

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    Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    Pro-Player Comparison: Lou Williams 

    How They Compare: Lou Williams has carved out a good NBA career as a playmaking guard who can handle and score. Kentucky commit Malik Monk has better size (6'3 ½", 187 lbs) and athleticism than Williams (6'1", 175 lbs), but Williams is a more proven scorer who has averaged double figures in nine consecutive seasons at the NBA level.

    Monk has put on red-hot scoring runs in high school that are a bit reminiscent of when Williams comes in and torches opponents off the bench, so he could be the type of combo guard who can create instant offense.

Edrice "Bam" Adebayo

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    Kelly Kline/Getty Images

    Pro-Player Comparison: Kenneth Faried

    How They Compare: A high-motor forward who can crash the glass or finish above the rim, Edrice "Bam" Adebayo has the kind of activity NBA teams covet from a big man. Also a powerful dunker who is great in up-and-down settings, Adebayo is a good athlete for his size (6'9", 232 lbs) and is growing as a pick-and-roll big man. 

    Both Kenneth Faried and Adebayo aren't known for being skilled enough to space the floor to the three-point line, so they get it done near the basket with athleticism and high-motor play. Adebayo could be a double-double machine at the NBA level if he finds the right fit to play power forward.

Markelle Fultz

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    Kelly Kline/Getty Images

    Pro-Player Comparison: Brandon Roy

    How They Compare: Over the last 12 months, not many players at the high school level have seen their stock take off like Markelle Fultz, who is turning into a dynamic scoring guard. Like Brandon Roy, Fultz has a solid handle for his size (6'4", 170 lbs) and is also a plus passer who is at his best creating off the bounce.

    While Roy and Fultz can play a bit of both guard spots, they're mostly wired to score, and Fultz has a deadly mid-range pull-up game that rivals Roy's from his days in Portland.

De'Aaron Fox

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    Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    Pro-Player Comparison: Jrue Holiday

    How They Compare: Two-way guards are becoming increasingly important at the NBA level. De'Aaron Fox is one of the best defenders in the class and a blur on offense, and like the 6'4", 205-pound Jrue Holiday, he has good size for a point guard at 6'3" and 171 pounds.

    Although Holiday has battled injuries in recent seasons, he was an All-Star at 23. Fox has the kind of athleticism and potential to be an impact player in the NBA.

    If there is one thing Fox needs to improve, it's his perimeter jumper, which is something Holiday has developed over the years.

Jayson Tatum

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    Pro-Player Comparison: Paul Pierce

    How They Compare: One of the game's greatest scorers on the wing, Paul Pierce has made a career of finding his spots on the floor and delivering consistent results. As a highly skilled wing with good size (6'8") and fundamentals, Jayson Tatum's ability to consistently put up points has made him a potential No. 1 draft pick in the future.

    Tatum, like Pierce, has an advanced mid-range game, and both are also known for getting to the free-throw line and racking up points from there. The skill level is tremendously high for Tatum, and he's an all-around threat at any level because of his high basketball IQ.

Josh Jackson

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    Pro-Player Comparison: Andrew Wiggins

    How They Compare: One of the best wing athletes of the last few years in high school basketball, Josh Jackson can become a shutdown defender or an offensive force at the pro level because of his extreme athleticism, which is similar to that of Andrew Wiggins. Because Jackson has good size (6'7", 202 lbs) and athleticism, he can do nearly anything on the floor and could be a future top pick like Wiggins.

    Already a winner of multiple gold medals with USA Basketball, Jackson has succeeded at the youth level like Wiggins did and has consistently been ranked at the top of his class.

     

    Recruiting info and ratings via 247Sports.

    Unless otherwise noted, all quotes and information were obtained firsthand.

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