Sunday, February 1, 2015

McDonald's rosters finalized
Wednesday night, the rosters for the 2015 McDonald's All-American Game to be held the United Center in Chicago on April 1 were announced. Headlined by 2015's No. 1 player Ben Simmons the selections are sure to be debated until game night but the rosters for the 38th edition of the game appear to be relatively surprise free.

East team

Dwayne Bacon, 6-foot-6 SF, Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill Florida State (No. 22)
Antonio Blakeney, 6-foot-4 SG, Orlando (Fla.) Oak Ridge, LSU (No. 13)
Isaiah Briscoe, 6-foot-3 PG, Roselle (N.J.) Catholic, Kentucky No. 9)
Jaylen Brown, 6-foot-7 SF, Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler, Undecided (No. 2)
Thomas Bryant, 6-foot-10 C, Huntington (W.V.) Prep, Undecided (No. 36)
Cheick Diallo, 6-foot-9 PF, Centereach (N.Y.) Our Savior, Undecided (No. 6)
Henry Ellenson, 6-foot-9 PF, Rice Lake (Wisc.) High, Marquette (No. 17)
Jawun Evans, 6-foot PG, Dallas (Texas) Kimball, Oklahoma State (No. 27)
Luke Kennard, 6-foot-5 SG, Franklin (Ohio) High, Duke (No. 24)
Dedric Lawson, 6-foot-8 PF, Memphis (Tenn.) Hamilton, Memphis (No. 26)
Ben Simmons, 6-foot-9 PF, Montverde (Fla.) Academy, LSU (No. 1)
Diamond Stone, 6-foot-10 C, Whitefish Bay (Wisc.) Dominican, Undecided (No. 5)

West team

Carlton Bragg, 6-foot-9 PF, Cleveland (Ohio) Villa Angela-St. Joseph, Kansas (No. 14)
Jalen Brunson, 6-foot-1 PG, Lincolnshire (Ill.) Stevenson, Villanova (No. 15)
Deyonta Davis, 6-foot-9 PF, Muskegon (Mich.) High, Michigan State (No. 23)
P.J. Dozier, 6-foot-6 PG, Columbia (S.C.) Spring Valley, South Carolina (No. 34)
Brandon Ingram, 6-foot-8 SF, Kinston (N.C.) High, Undecided (No. 18)
Chase Jeter, 6-foot-10 C, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman, Duke (No. 8)
Malik Newman, 6-foot-4 G, Jackson (Miss.) Callaway, Undecided (No. 3)
Ivan Rabb, 6-foot-10 PF, Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd, Undecided (No. 7)
Malachi Richardson, 6-foot-5 SG, Trenton (N.J.) Catholic, Syracuse (No. 30)
Caleb Swanigan, 6-foot-8 C, Ft. Wayne (Ind.) Homestead, Undecided (No. 16)
Allonzo Trier, 6-foot-4 SG, Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep, Arizona (No. 12)
Stephen Zimmerman, 6-foot-11 C, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman, Undecided (No. 10)

Intriguing matchups

While the general public only gets to see the ESPN televised game, the best part of the McDonald's All-American festivities are the three closed practices and day before the game scrimmage. Other than the scrimmage -- which is a near full dress rehearsal with clock and officials -- teams don't face each other until the actual game so some of the matchups we are looking forward to could happen between teammates.

Zimmerman facing off against teammate Chase Jeter could be very interesting on the West squad.
One of the better rivalries between two players has been that of undecided small forwards Jaylen Brown and Brandon Ingram. The No. 2 (Brown) and No. 18 (Ingram) have had several outstanding man to man battles on the high school, grassroots and summer camp circuits and it is always fun to watch the athletic brawler Brown match up against the lanky skill guy in Ingram.

Longtime teammates at Bishop Gorman, the setup of the West squad should make it so that Stephen Zimmerman and Chase Jeter have no choice but to go head to head during practice sessions. We've never really had a chance to see the two big men square off so that could be very interesting.

Another intriguing low post battle could be between the East's Diamond Stone and the West's Caleb Swanigan. Though he's slightly short for the center position, Swanigan thrives in the post because of his strength, long arms and high level of skill. Most of all, few bigs can match his strength but in Stone he will be going against somebody who plays a very similar game. The only difference is that Stone is two inches taller.

When it comes to wing scorers, there are all kinds of matchups we are looking forward to. The East's Dwayne Bacon and Antonio Blakeney and the West's Allonzo Trier and Malachi Richardson should provide for any number of fun to watch matchups between high scorers who are unafraid to let the shots fly.

Final roster notes

The highest ranked players to not make the game are No. 3 Skal Labissiere, No. 11 Ray Smith, No. 19 Tyler Dorsey, No. 20 Elijah Thomas, No. 21 Justin Simon and No. 25 Jalen Adams. Of that group, Labissiere (didn't play for his high school), Smith (knee injury, missed season) and Adams (fifth-year prep schooler) were ineligible to be voted into the game. While there will certainly be spirited debates about who did or didn't make it, there are no truly unusual or controversial -- according to where they are ranked -- selections for this year's game.

Two of this year's McDonald's All-American's have interesting family ties. Jalen Brunson's father Rick played in the 1991 game while P.J. Dozier's uncle Terry played in the 1985 game.

This year's McDonald's All-American Game features nine undecided players, compared to just two last year.

LSU and Duke are the only programs with multiple (two) players selected to the game.

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