The 2013 Jordan Brand Classic will host some of the top high school prospects in the nation this weekend. The game will be played at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. eastern on Saturday, April 13, broadcast on ESPN.
For the Kentucky Wildcats, the Jordan Brand Classic (JBC) will be another show of recruiting dominance. Just like in the McDonald's All-American game, six future Kentucky hoopsters will play in the event. The East team features two UK-bound Texans, SG Aaron Harrison and PF Julius Randle, as well as uncommitted SF Andrew Wiggins. Four future Wildcats are on the West: PG Andrew Harrison, SF James Young, PF Marcus Lee and C Dakari Johnson.
The McDonald's game preview already contains good descriptions of what to expect from these guys. In this preview, I'll focus on the new storylines.
Harrison vs. Harrison
The twins from Fort Bend, Texas comprised the West's starting backcourt in the McDonald's game. Their on-court synchronization was evident early, when Andrew found his brother on an easy backdoor alley-oop. In the JBC, the Harrisons will be on opposite benches, with Andrew suiting up for the West while Aaron plays for the East. Both brothers are incredibly competitive, and it'll be tons of fun to see them go head to head.
Johnson Returns Home
Dakari Johnson is a New York native, though he started his high school career in St. Patrick in New Jersey before finishing up in Florida at Montverde Academy. He's excited to be home and should serve as an unofficial host for the high schoolers in town. Chicago's own Jabari Parker did something similar for the McDonald's game. Expect Johnson's background to be mentioned during the telecast.
Heading back to my hometown tomorrow the big NYC for the jordan brand classic 👍👌— dakari Johnson (@dslowmotion22) April 10, 2013
Will Wiggins Make a Decision?
Uber-prospect Andrew Wiggins remains the only player in Top 100 prospect lists to remain uncommitted. There was speculation that his indecision weighed on him and affected his play during the McDonald's game. Since then, there's been further speculation that he might announce a decision at or around the JBC, only to have that speculation shot down as pure speculation. Speckled out yet? Wiggins is the most talented player in the game and tailor-made to dominate All-Star games. Will we see the best from Wiggins in Brooklyn? I'm hoping yes.
New Faces in a Different Place
A few players are at the event that didn't garner McDonald's invites. The most interesting name is Troy Williams, a silky small forward who might have almost committed to Kentucky last spring. He ended up delaying his decision, and eventually ended up signing with Indiana. Williams so happens to be the nephew of legendary AAU figure Boo Williams. Another player with a famous name is Kuran Iverson, a cousin of 76ers legend Allen Iverson. Kuran had interest in Kentucky that never appeared reciprocated; instead, he'll play for Memphis next fall. Two other players, PG Tyler Ennis and C Joel Embiid, are high-upside talents that will suit up for Syracuse and Kansas next year, respectively.
The camo uniforms from the McDonald's game were generally considered hideous, so the clean jerseys of the JBC already look like a winner. Though I'm reserving judgment on those shoes until I see it on the television.
The MVP Race
Above-the-rim monster Aaron Gordon, Arizona-bound, led all McDonald's players in scoring en route to MVP honors. Wiggins ended with 19, while Andrew Harrison led the way with 6 assists. Two forwards, Randle and Parker, had well-rounded box scores (Randle had 11 points and 7 rebounds; Parker 10 and 8). Those five, along with Aaron Harrison, go in as amongst the favorites to take home MVP honors.
Tyler Ennis | PG | St. Benedict's (NJ) | Syracuse
Aaron Harrison | SG | Travis (TX) | Kentucky
Kasey Hill | PG | Montverde Academy (FL) | Florida
Kuran Iverson | SF | Fishburne Military (VA) | Memphis
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson | SF | Chester (PA) | Arizona
Kennedy Meeks | C | West Charlotte (NC) | North Carolina
Bobby Portis | PF | Little Rock Hall (AR) | Arkansas
Julius Randle | PF | Prestonwood Christian (TX) | Kentucky
Wayne Selden | SG | The Tilton School (NH) | Kansas
Chris Walker | PF | Holmes County (FL) | Florida
Andrew Wiggins | SF | Huntington Prep (WV) | Undecided
Joel Embiid | C | The Rock (FL) | Kansas
Aaron Gordon | PF | Archbishop Mitty (CA) | Arizona
Andrew Harrison | PG | Travis (TX) | Kentucky
Dakari Johnson | C | Montverde Academy (FL) | Kentucky
Matt Jones | SG | DeSoto (TX) | Duke
Marcus Lee | PF | Deer Valley (CA) | Kentucky
Jabari Parker | SF | Simeon (IL) | Duke
Troy Williams | SF | Oak Hill Academy (VA) | Indiana
Noah Vonleh | PF | New Hampton (NH) | Indiana
Nigel Williams-Goss | PG | Findlay Prep (NV) | Washington
James Young | SF | Rochester (MI) | Kentucky