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Kentucky Wildcats Basketball: McDonald’s All-American Game Primer

Looking at the premier high school all-star game from a BBN perspective.

Basketball: Spalding Hoophall Classic Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

With the season over for the Kentucky Wildcats, Big Blue Nation officially turn their attention toward recruiting and the annual McDonald’s All American Game is the first event of high school all star game season.

John Calipari has his 2018 class full for the most part but he needs a big man. E.J. Montgomery is one of the few recruits left uncommitted and Cal has turned his full attention to 6-10 player out of Georgia.

Of course Duke is the popular pick according to 24/7 and there is no doubt that the current Duke commits at the McDonald’s All American Game will try to convince him to join their super class.

The event showcases an unusually small amount of Kentucky players this season. Normally the game is a veritable Kentucky recruiting infomercial. But with the prospect of multiple players returning from last season’s team, Cal shouldn’t have many spots to fill.

Before I get started I want to acknowledge the glaring omission of Tyler Herro. The shooting guard has rocketed up the recruiting ranks this season and has elevated to a five star player. He will take part in the Nike Hoops Summit Game and the Jordan Brand Classic.

Shame on you, McDonalds!

Game time, Date and Location: 7:00 PM- March 28th, Atlanta, Georgia

East Roster:

  • RJ Barrett- Duke
  • Moses Brown- UCLA
  • Darius Garland- Vanderbilt
  • Louis King- Oregon
  • Romeo Langford- Undecided
  • David McCormack- Kansas
  • E.J. Montgomery- Undecided
  • Immanuel Quickley- Kentucky
  • Nazreon Reed- LSU
  • Jalen Smith- Maryland
  • Coby White- North Carolina
  • Zion Williamson- Duke

West Roster:

  • Darius Bazley- Syracuse
  • Bol Bol- Oregon
  • Jordan Brown- Undecided
  • Devon Dotson- Kansas
  • Quentin Grimes- Kansas
  • Keldon Johnson- Kentucky
  • Tre Jones- Duke
  • Nassir Little- North Carolina
  • Reggie Perry- Mississippi State
  • Jahvon Quinerly- Villanova
  • Cameron Reddish- Duke
  • Simisola Shittu- Vanderbilt

Keldon Johnson

Height- 6’6

Weight- 205

Position- Wing

Player Rank- ESPN 6th, 24/7 13th, Rivals 14th

Breakdown- Keldon Johnson is the jewel of John Calipari’s 2018 recruiting class. He is a versatile wing player that can transition between shooting guard and small forward. He is an elite athlete with the ability to drive and shoot. He’s extremely hard to guard on the perimeter and will contribute from the jump. He’s the one recruit Kentucky has that I am confident in saying will start from day one.

Johnson committed to Kentucky against his father’s wishes because of the challenge of playing against elite talent at practice and Cal’s record of getting guys to the pros. Instead of taking the Trae Young/Mo Bamba route of going somewhere to be the Man, he decided to come and put himself through the rigors of being a Wildcat.

Immanuel Quickley

Height- 6’3

Weight- 180

Position- Guard

Player Rank- ESPN 17th, 24/7 15th, Rivals 15th

Breakdown- Quickley is the traditional Calipari point guard. He’s tall, fast, and very athletic. He’s been working on his shooting but his most dangerous attribute is his speed at driving and kicking to the open teammate. He is definitely a pass first style point guard but he has the ability to score. He’s De’Aaron Fox light.

If Quade Green returns there will be competition for a starting spot and I expect Quickley to contend for the starting job. A line-up of Quickley at the point, Green at the two, and Johnson on the wing is a likely scenario.

Quickley was the first player in the 2018 class to commit to Kentucky and like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Karl Anthony-Anthony Towns, there wasn’t much mystery surrounding where he would end up playing college basketball. One of his dreams was to play for Kentucky and he wasn’t shy about letting people know during his recruiting process.

I’ll have a post game breakdown of the Kentucky guys’ performances so be sure to check that out here on the site.