McDonald's: Who's the big surprise?

CHICAGO ¬— Obviously, anyone selected for the McDonald's game must be very highly touted and well-exposed within the grassroots community.

That said, players range in ranking from No. 1 down to No. 45, so there's certainly room to maneuver. With three different sets of evaluator eyeballs in the city this week, we inquired and received three separate opinions about players making a meaningful impact.

Of the players who have graced the courts in Chicago so far, who has surprised you the most?

Josh Gershon: In Monday practice I was pretty surprised by the way Grayson Allen played.

I've heard doubts about Allen's consistency as a shooter, but every time I've seen him, he's never had a problem knocking down shots. Heading into this week, he was one of the players I definitely wanted to get a better feel for.

On Monday morning, I thought Allen played really well. Going up against a lot of size and athleticism on the perimeter, he still found success with one or two dribble pull-ups, while also hitting shots off the catch.

Allen stands out in transition due to his athleticism, but his shot making ability should be a real plus for Duke.

Evan Daniels: I think the player who has surprised me thus far is Karl Towns. Towns showed up at McDonald's in easily the best shape I've seen him. His body appears to be in good shape and he's more chiseled in his arms and shoulders than in the past.

I also thought that he competed and played with more toughness than I've seen in the past. He posted hard on the block and had a nice battle going with Myles Turner on Monday.

Rob Harrington: My vote goes to Thomas Welsh. He's playing head-up for the West with Jahlil Okafor, and while Okafor is getting the slightly better of it, Welsh easily is holding his own.

He has been terrific off the catch, knocking in short- and medium-range jump shots with a smooth release. He also has been physical with Okafor defensively. Granted, that hasn't been good enough at times, but his willingness to scrap against the most dominant interior scoring weapon in the country bodes well for his competitiveness at UCLA.

And on offense, he challenged Okafor with his shooting range as well as his uncanny interior passing. This is a player currently ranked outside our top 40, and that definitely will change in our final rankings.

Evan Daniels, Josh Gershon and Rob Harrington contributed to this report

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