Not only is the NCAA Tournament in full swing, but the prestigious McDonald’s All-American game is also slated to take place today.
As always, it will feature players committed to the Kentucky Wildcats, as well as undecided prospects that are on the Cats’ radar as possible additions to next year’s roster.
The 42nd edition of the McDonald’s game will be played on March 27th in State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. It will be headlined with players like Cole Anthony, Vernon Carey Jr, and James Wiseman. Anthony has eliminated UK from his list, Carey Jr has committed to Duke, and Wiseman will be joining Penny Hardaway at Memphis.
The Cats won’t exactly be left out. Kentucky has commitments from 2 of the 24 players selected to participate. Tyrese Maxey and Kahlil Whitney will both be suiting up for the West team on Wednesday evening. UK’s other two 2019 commitments, Dontaie Allen and Keion Brooks, were not selected as participants for the McDonald’s game.
Hopefully, the two future Cats are planning to do some recruiting in Atlanta during this week’s festivities because there are a few players who are uncommitted but still considering Kentucky.
Matthew Hurt and Jaden McDaniels are both five-star prospects who John Calipari has spent considerable time recruiting. At this point, it may be a long-shot for Kentucky to land either player, but obviously you can never count Coach Cal out when it comes to a recruiting battle.
The rare chance to spend the week with other top players in America can often help formulate opinions for the kids who are still deciding where to play their college basketball.
You may remember a season ago when it was reported that EJ Montgomery didn’t mesh well with the Duke signees during this event and thus ended up at Kentucky. So relationships will be made during the week that could influence a player’s ultimate decision.
The McDonald’s All-American game will also provide most of the Big Blue Nation their first opportunity to see Tyrese Maxey and Kahlil Whitney play. This platform is a great stage for young players to begin make a name for themselves before heading to their respective college campuses.
The most credible player analysis from the week’s events in Atlanta have come during the practice sessions. There will be one-on-one drills and more competitive spirits than that of the actual game, which is more for entertainment value. In addition, NBA scouts have been attending the practices to watch players who hope to be entering the 2020 NBA Draft this time next year.
The McDonald’s All-American game will also be the final evaluating tool that is used for the final player rankings of 2019.
Currently, ESPN ranks Kahlil Whitney as the ninth best player in the country and Tyrese Maxey as the 11th. It is possible that both could see movement in their end of year final ranking.
Here is a breakdown of the Kentucky commits and potential additions in the 2019:
Kahlil Whitney - Kentucky
Small Forward - 6’6 - 190 pounds
Whitney’s stock has risen considerably over the last few months after providing some jaw dropping highlights in his senior year at Roselle Catholic High School in New Jersey. He is a powerful finisher around the rim and brings a feisty attitude with him on the court.
Whitney was involved in a wild bench clearing brawl earlier in the year when his team played against Montverde Academy. It is well known that Whitney grew up in a very rough area of Chicago before relocating to New Jersey.
It’s safe to say that he will bring a toughness with him to Kentucky, along with some incredible athleticism. The Big Blue Nation is going to fall in love with Kahlil Whitey.
Tyrese Maxey - Kentucky
Shooting Guard - 6’3 - 185 pounds
Maxey will be just another player from the state of Texas that has chosen to come to Kentucky and play for John Calipari. He can be described as an explosive combo guard that can do a little bit of everything.
Maxey can really shoot the ball as well as make plays in the lane. He also has the ability to rise up and dunk on a defender. It is obvious from watching tape of Maxey that he has a strong feel for the game and can control tempo when he wants to.
The potential of an Ashton Hagans and Tyrese Maxey back-court next season should have the Big Blue Nation fired up.
Matthew Hurt - Undecided
Power Forward - 6’9 - 215 pounds
Minnesota native Matthew Hurt may be the most interesting and versatile player in the class of 2019, and even better, he is still undecided on where he will play next year. Hurt is considered to be a top 10 prospect by nearly every recruiting service and he fills up the stat sheet on a night in and night out basis.
It is not uncommon to see a 25 point and 15+ rebound stat line for Hurt, who plays for John Marshall Senior High School in Rochester, Minnesota. He is not a big frame guy at only 215 pounds.
With one look, you can immediately determine that improving his strength will be a key area of focus once he gets to college, but his skill set may be the best of any player in the 2019 class. Hurt can knock down deep shots and has excellent footwork. His ability to score in a variety of ways makes him one of my favorite prospects in this entire class. Landing him would be a major move for Kentucky if it were to happen.
John Calipari has been aggressively recruiting Hurt, especially over the past few months. But Kentucky surely isn’t the only blue blood school trying to land the sharp shooting lanky big man. North Carolina, Duke, and Kansas are all reported to still be in the running to get his commitment.
It will be true battle of the blue blood in this one. Currently, 247 sports gives Duke the best chances to sign him at 53%, Kansas 42%, and Kentucky just 5%. But again, John Calipari has put some major work in on this recruitment so you have to assume Kentucky at least has a chance, even if it’s a small one, to sign Matthew Hurt.
Jaden McDaniels - Undecided
Power Forward - 6’11 - 195 pounds
The remaining prized jewel of the 2019 class is the extremely talented Jaden McDaniels, who plays in Federal Way, Washington. McDaniels is an elite finisher and can leap out of the gym. The biggest obstacle in getting him to Lexington will probably be geography.
It is always difficult to get players from the west coast to make the decision to play thousands of miles from home. 247 Sports has five prediction picks registered for three different schools. San Diego State and Washington both have two picks and Kentucky has the remaining one.
Even though I see McDaniels as more of a slashing big man than a back to the basket bruiser, Kentucky’s tremendous need in the front-court next year may be enticing enough to land a late commitment from the power forward, especially considering that Washington just recently signed another five star front-court player, Isaiah Stewart.
Actually signing McDaniels is probably a long-shot but Kentucky is still an option, but he very well could be the player with the highest ceiling in the class of 2019. So a place like UK would really increase his exposure as opposed to schools like Washington and San Diego State.
How to Watch 2019 McDonald’s All-American Game
Game TIme: 7 pm EST
TV Channel: The boy’s game will be televised live on ESPN2.
Live Online Stream: You can watch the live stream of the game on WatchESPN.
Replay: A replay of the boy’s game will be shown at midnight on ESPNU.
- Precious Achiuwa, F, Undecided
- Cole Anthony, G, Undecided
- Armando Bacot Jr., F/C, Committed to North Carolina
- Vernon Carey Jr., F/C, Committed to Duke
- Anthony Edwards, G, Committed to Georgia
- Trayce Jackson-Davis, C, Committed to Indiana
- Josiah-Jordan James, G, Committed to Tennessee
- Scottie Lewis, G/F, Committed to Florida
- Jaden McDaniels. F, Undecided
- Wendell Moore Jr., F, Committed to Duke
- Isaiah Stewart, C, Committed to Washington
- Trendon Watford, PF, Undecided
- Bryan Antoine, G, Committed to Villanova
- Josh Green, G, Committed to Arizona
- Matthew Hurt, F, Undecided
- Tre Mann, G, Committed to Florida
- Nico Mannion, G, Committed to Arizona
- Tyrese Maxey, G, Committed to Kentucky
- Isaiah Mobley. F, Committed to USC
- Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, F, Committed to Villanova
- Oscar Tshiebwe, C, Committed to West Virginia
- Kahlil Whitney, F, Committed to Kentucky
- Samuell Williamson, F, Committed to Louisville
- James Wiseman, C, Committed to Memphis