Wednesday, January 29, 2014

McDonlads All-American game rosters set!

Each year, the announcement of the McDonald's All-American team is one of the most eagerly anticipated announcements in high school basketball. The 2014 team was announced Wednesday night and while we will be taking a closer look at the roster as the April 3rd game approaches, here are some quick notes on the 2014 teams.

East team

Cliff Alexander, 6-9 PF, Chicago Curie Kansas (Rivals rank: 4)
James Blackmon, 6-3 SG, Marion (Ind.) High Indiana (23)
Justin Jackson, 6-7 SF, Houston HCYA North Carolina (10)
Tyus Jones, 6-1 PG, Apple Valley (Minn.) High Duke (5)
Kevon Looney, 6-9 PF, Milwaukee Hamilton UCLA (13)
Theo Pinson, 6-6 SF, High Point (N.C.) Wesleyan North Carolina (19)
D'Angelo Russell, 6-4 SG, Montverde (Fla.) Academy Ohio State (21)
Karl Towns, 6-11 C, Metuchen (N.J.) St. Joseph Kentucky (11)
Romelo Trimble, 6-2 SG, Alexandria (Va.) Bishop O'Connell Maryland (36)
Myles Turner, 6-10 C, Euless (Texas) Trinity Undecided (6)
Isaiah Whitehead, 6-4 SG, Brooklyn Lincoln Seton Hall (14)
Justise Winslow, 6-6 SF, Houston St. John's Duke (9)

West team

Grayson Allen, 6-4 SG, Jacksonville Providence Duke (34)
Joel Berry, 6-0 PG, Orlando Lake Highland North Carolina (25)
Devin Booker, 6-5 SG, Moss Point (Miss.) High Kentucky (30)
Stanley Johnson, 6-7 SF, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei Arizona (3)
Trey Lyles, 6-9 PF, Indianapolis Arsenal Tech Kentucky (8)
Emmanuel Mudiay, 6-4 PG, Dallas Prime Prep SMU (2)
Jahlil Okafor, 6-11 C, Chicago Whitney Young Duke (1)
Kelly Oubre, 6-7 SF, Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep Kansas (12)
Reid Travis, 6-8 PF, Minneapolis De La Salle Stanford (40)
Tyler Ulis, 5-9 PG, Chicago Heights (Ill.) Marian Catholic Kentucky (33)
Rashad Vaughn, 6-5 SG, Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep Undecided (7)
Thomas Welsh, 6-11 C, Los Angeles Loyola UCLA (52)

Intriguing matchups

Top-rated recruit Jahlil Okafor will face a strong challenge against Cliff Alexander.
Three potential matchups that immediately jump out.

The first one is a potential in-game battle between current No. 1 Okafor and one of the people pushing him for that top spot, Alexander. They will both be playing in front of a hometown crowd at the United Center and they both play differing styles of low-post basketball. It will be Okafor's skill and size against Alexander's power and raw athleticism.

The next matchup that we really hope to see is one between the nation's top two point guards. Current No. 2 Mudiay and No. 5 Jones matched up some during the Elite 24 with Mudiay getting the upper hand (though Jones team got the win). Hopefully, we will get a more extended look this time around. Mudiay has the size and athleticism, while Jones has long been thought by some to have an edge in the skill department.

Next, we are curious to see the West's Oubre go against former summer teammates Jackson and Winslow. We saw what they could do together as a terrific trio on the Houston Hoops. Now we are interested to see what happens when Oubre gets a chance to go against a pair of former teammates that he could pass in the rankings after the other two got more early attention.

Final roster notes

Kentucky and Duke each lead the way for most selections with all four of their recruits making the game. North Carolina is next in line with all three of their recruits making the game while Kansas and UCLA are the other programs to have at least two commitments in the game.

Of the 24 players, 17 are currently rated as five-star prospects. The other seven team members are high end four-star prospects. Welsh is currently the lowest ranked prospect to make the team, checking in at No. 52 overall. However, based on the strength of a strong season, Welsh has a chance to finalize a run towards the national top 25 with a good showing in Chicago.

There are only two undecided players who will be competing in the McDonald's All-American game. No. 6 Turner and No. 7 Vaughn are both still available. Turner is considering the likes of Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Texas and others while Vaughn is still considering UNLV, Iowa State, North Carolina, Kansas and Kentucky.

By current ranking, the highest ranked eligible players to not make the game were No. 15 Dwayne Morgan, No. 18 Daniel Hamilton, No. 22 Jaquan Lyle and No. 24 Keita Bates-Diop.

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