Note: Consider this the Open Thread for the second half.
The Game. The University of Miami will host the game this year at the United Bank Center, televised on ESPN at 7 pm CT on Wednesday. The first McDonald's All-American game was played in 1997, when the All-American squad led by Magic Johnson faced off against a group of Washington, DC-are prep hoopsters. Morphing into the current East vs. West format the next year, the McDonald's game is considered the most prestigious all-star game in high school basketball and has served as a launching pad for the college and professional careers of players like Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Michael Beasley, and Derrick Rose, among many others.
The Rosters. Every year, the top high school basketball talent in the nation convenes for the McDonald's All-American game. This year is no different, as 11 of the top 13 players in the class (according to Rivals) will be in attendance. On to the rosters ($):
- Kenny Boynton, shooting guard, Florida, Rivals #7
- Dominic Cheek, shooting guard, Villanova, Rivals #16
- DeMarcus Cousins, power forward, undecided, Rivals #2
- Derrick Favors, center, Georgia Tech, Rivals #4
- Milton Jennings, power forward, Clemson, Rivals #12
- Ryan Kelley, power forward, Duke, Rivals #20
- Alex Oriakhi, center, UConn, Rivals #21
- Peyton Siva, point guard, Lousiville, Rivals #49
- Lance Stephenson, shooting guard, undecided, Rivals #9
- Dexter Strickland, point guard, North Carolina, Rivals #17
- Dante Taylor, power forward, Pittsburgh, Rivals #24
- Maalik Wayns, point guard, Villanova, Rivals #25
Update: Here's the video of the Dunk Contest for the McDonald's game. Avery Bradley is wearing no. 11 (thanks to ctex80 for his vigilance).
The 2009 McDonald's High School Dunk Contest (via Hoopmixtape)
- Avery Bradley, shooting guard, Texas, Rivals #8
- Abdul Gaddy, point guard, Washington, Rivals #13
- Keith Gallon, center, Oklahoma, Rivals Rivals #31
- Xavier Henry, shooting guard, Memphis, Rivals #3
- John Henson, power forward, North Carolina, Rivals #6
- Wally Judge, power forward, Kansas State, Rivals #23
- Tommy Mason-Griffin, point guard, Oklahoma, Rivals #66
- Mason Plumlee, power forward, Duke, Rivals #42
- Renardo Sidney, power forward, USC, Rivals #10
- Michael Snaer, shooting guard, Florida State, Rivals #11
- David Wear, power forward, North Carolina, Rivals #68
- Travis Wear, power forward, North Carolina, Rivals #69
Players to watch.
- Kenny Boynton - A player hotly pursued by the Longhorns, Boynton has the range on his shot and explosiveness going to the basket to make him an extremely difficult cover. Avery Bradley will likely be called upon early and often to stop the dynamic Florida commit, setting up what may be the most interesting one-on-one match up of the evening.
- Tommy Mason-Griffin - The 2009 Texas Player of the Year and OU commit will have some battles against defensive stopper Avery Bradley during their careers, with TMG even winning the individual match up during the lead-up practices. Stocky and strong, TMG has deep range and the ability to get to and finish at the rim.
- Keith Gallon - The Houston, TX native wants you to call him "Tiny" and currently resides in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia, where he plays with top-ranked Oak Hill Academy, the same school that produced Carmelo Anthony. A certifiable wide body at 6-9 and 300 pounds, Gallon has improved his conditioning tremendously, but still needs to work on developing his post moves. He does shoot the ball extremely well from distance and has handles unusual for his size.
- Avery Bradley - This one is a no-brainer. Longhorn fans will be closely watching the star of undefeated Findlay this week as they dream about him teaming with Jordan Hamilton next season. Of particular interest will be his defensive talents on display, as Bradley is known as a lock-down defender and began to rise in the rankings by shutting down overal #1 John Wall on the summer circuit last year. Also of interest is his three-point shooting -- Bradley is a low-volume shooter in high school from behind the line known more for his mid-range game and cooled in the second half of his high school season after a hot start. Bradley will likely start next to his former high school teammate Abdul Gaddy.
- Abdul Gaddy - Bradley's former high school teammate at Bellarmine Prep, this electric point guard will fuel transition opportunities for the West and look to set up his teammates. Think DJ Augustin at the 2006 game, during which he spent most of his time setting up Darrell Arthur in an attempt to lure him to Texas. Next season, Gaddy will team with sophomore jitterbug Isaiah Thomas to form a dangerous point guard combination.
Notes and tidbits.
- Overall #1 John Wall is not eligible as a fifth-year player, while Texas commit Jordan Hamilton is ineligible because he did not play high school basektball this season.
- As mentioned in the FanPosts, Avery Bradley won the dunk contest on Monday evening.
- Of the 24 players on both rosters, 18 are five-stars, as rated by Rivals.
- The highest-ranked player not invited is 14th-ranked Mouphtaou Yarou.
- The ACC dominates with the most players committed at nine, while the Big East has five commitments and the Big 12 four. Perpetuating the stereotype about poor, boring basketball in the Big 10, there was not a single prospect invited from the conference.
- Texas alumni include DJ Augustin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Durant (named MVP), Brian Boddicker, Brad Buckman, Kris Clack, TJ Ford, Daniel Gibson, Jai Lucas, and Mike Williams (transferred to Cincinnati after sophomore season). Except for Kris Clack, every one of those players was recruited by Rick Barnes.
- During the selection process, Sports America compiles a list of up to 1,800 players that it cuts to 150. The final 24 are selected by a selection committee chaired by high school coaching legend Morgan Wootten of DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville, Maryland and including high school coaches, sportswriters, high school analysts, and prep scouts.
- As many as three players at the event could be impacted by John Calipari's move to Kentucky. DeMarcus Cousins is verbally committed to Memphis, but has not signed his LOI, while Xavier Henry can opt out of his LOI with Calipari leaving. Lincoln shooting guard Lance Stephenson, considering Memphis, has pushed back his decision until after the game.
2009 McDonald's All-American Game Preview (via ONEent)