The 2013 McDonald's All-American Game is set for tonight. The game can be viewed on ESPN, starting at 9:30 p.m. Eastern Time. For Kentucky Wildcats fans, the game is essentially a must-watch.
UK's 2013 class contains an astounding 6 (!!!) McDonald's All-Americans, listed below. In addition, the Wildcats are still recruiting a 7th, who so happens to be the uncommitted top prospect in the country. Get ready for a heavy dose of Big Blue.
The more point guard oriented of the Harrison twins, Andrew should draw the starting 1 gig for the West squad. Strong point guard play normally makes for a more exciting exhibition (think the NBA All-Star Game), and if that's the case, Andrew is a great ring-leader for the West. There's only one other true PG on the West roster (Washington-bound Nigel Williams-Goss) but plenty of scorers. Watch Harrison dazzle with pretty passing and strong dribble penetration.
If Andrew is the passer, Aaron is the scorer. He's one of three Texas wing players in the game, along with Duke-bound Matt Jones and Keith Frazier, who just committed to SMU. As for Aaron, he'll team with Andrew on the West squad, competing with Jones for starting shooting guard honors. When the Harrison twins are on the court, it's like they have ESP, which is even more fun to watch on ESPN. With Aaron Harrison and Matt Jones, the West squad might have the best two triggermen in the game. They're the best two shooters in Texas, in any case.
Randle makes an astounding five Texans playing tonight. John Calipari was wise to breach the Lone Star State, snagging three of them. Due to a broken foot that sidelined him for most of his high school's regular season, Randle didn't make the cut when teams were initially announced. However, the selection committee added him after Randle came back to lead his HS team to a State Championship. Randle is an exceptionally versatile forward with almost no weaknesses (rumor is he played some point guard in practices with his East teammates sidelined by injury). He'll compete with a deep power forward rotation to start at the 4 for the East.
Johnson has a traditional low-post big man's game. Those guys tend to get lost in the flow of an exhibition game, but Johnson will do his best to make an impact. Though he's originally from New York, Johnson played his senior season at Montverde Academy alongside fellow McDonald's All-American point guard Kasey Hill. Both Johnson and Hill will play for the East squad. Johnson will compete for starting center honors with UNC-bound Kennedy Meeks, who also held a Kentucky offer.
The raw but explosive Lee is part of the West Coast renaissance. There was consternation a few years ago that the West was underrepresented, but this year, four Californians made the team. Lee isn't a true center, but he's the tallest player on the West squad and could start at the 5. It'll be interesting to see how dominant Lee is defensively, and if he can live up to the "we must protect this paint" legacy set by Anthony Davis and Nerlens Noel in Lexington.
Some people questioned why Young would pick Kentucky with the Harrison twins already aboard. Those critics will get their answer, as Young will suit up for the West alongside his future teammates. What the West lacks in size, it'll make up with a diverse and exciting array of wing scorers. Young can get buckets with the best of them, and will be pumped to show what he can do against top-tier competition.
The consensus top prospect in the 2013 class, Wiggins is the only remaining uncommitted McDonald's All-American. The uber-talented wing has no timetable to declare, but is considering Kentucky along with Florida St., North Carolina, and Kansas. Wiggins will start at the 3 for the East. He should be considered the favorite to win MVP Honors. Oh, and prepare to be dazzled.
Andrew Harrison (West) vs. Kasey Hill (East) - Hill reportedly had an offer from Kentucky, but committed to Florida so long ago it's hard to know whether interest was genuine. In any case, Harrison and Hill are the two top point guards in the class, and will face each other at least twice next season in SEC play. This will be a great sneak preview.
Aaron Harrison (West) vs. Keith Frazier (East) - The McDonald's committee chose to split up the participating Texans, which should make for an interesting battle. Texas is a big state, and because their high schools played in different classifications, Harrison and Frazier never faced each other in a state-sponsored tilt. But both players, along with another Texan, Matt Jones, are pure scorers that can light up the scoreboard.
James Young (West) vs. Andrew Wiggins (East) - If critics were concerned about Young stepping into a messy playing time situation with the Harrison twins, just imagine what they'll say if Wiggins comes aboard as well. Young remains unconcerned, which is a great attitude: to be the best, you gotta compete with the best. Whether Young starts or comes off the bench, and whether Wiggins picks the Wildcats or not, Young should have a major role on next year's Kentucky squad.
Julius Randle (East) vs. Aaron Gordon (West) - It would've been nice to see Gordon don Kentucky Blue, but Randle's commitment essentially shut the door on Gordon heading eastbound and down. Both players are exceptionally talented, and should make their respective teams very happy next year. Anticipate a hearty battle.
Marcus Lee (West) vs. Dakari Johnson (East) - Here's a glance at what Kentucky practices will look like next year. Throw in returnee Willie Cauley-Stein, and paint drills will be insane to watch. It's the explosive athlete versus the immovable object. And...go.
Anthony Barber | PG | Hampton (VA) | NC State
Keith Frazier | SG | Kimball (TX) | SMU
Isaiah Hicks | PF | Webb (NC) | North Carolina
Kasey Hill | PG | Montverde Academy (FL) | Florida
Demetrius Jackson | PG | Marian (IN) | Notre Dame
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson | SF | Chester (PA) | Arizona
Dakari Johnson | C | Montverde Academy (FL) | Kentucky
Kennedy Meeks | C | West Charlotte (NC) | North Carolina
Julius Randle | PF | Prestonwood Christian (TX) | Kentucky
Wayne Selden | SG | The Tilton School (NH) | Kansas
Noah Vonleh | PF | New Hampton (NH) | Indiana
Chris Walker | PF | Holmes County (FL) | Florida
Andrew Wiggins | SF | Huntington Prep (WV) | Undecided
Jabari Bird | SG | Salesian (CA) | California
Aaron Gordon | PF | Archbishop Mitty (CA) | Arizona
Isaac Hamilton | SG | St. John Bosco (CA) | UTEP
Aaron Harrison | SG | Travis (TX) | Kentucky
Andrew Harrison | PG | Travis (TX) | Kentucky
Matt Jones | SG | DeSoto (TX) | Duke
Jarrell Martin | PF | Madison Prep (LA) | LSU
Marcus Lee | PF | Deer Valley (CA) | Kentucky
Jabari Parker | SF | Simeon (IL) | Duke
Bobby Portis | PF | Little Rock Hall (AR) | Arkansas
Nigel Williams-Goss | PG | Findlay Prep (NV) | Washington
James Young | SF | Rochester (MI) | Kentucky