McDonald's: Assessing the intensity

CHICAGO — Yes, it's practice and no, the scrimmages aren't being scored consistently and the respective coaching staffs stop the action frequently.

On the other hand, NBA scouts are watching closely and thus the stakes are high for the participants. Some players simply compete with fury irrespective of context, while others play up or down according to the perceived situation. Question for our experts in attendance: Who has jumped out at you here for ferocious play?

Josh Gershon: It's hard to say that anyone here is playing with more intensity than Stanley Johnson.

For a high school kid, Johnson's mental makeup is truly elite so it's no surprise that he would show up to McDonald's All-American Game practices with the same mentality that helped him win four straight state titles at Mater Dei.

Johnson's ferociousness on defense particularly stood out, as he brought a different level of effort on that side of the ball than most of the other players in Chicago.

On offense, Johnson's attacking mentality allows him to get to the rim, especially in transition, and he definitely did a lot of that on Monday as well.

Evan Daniels: I think the guy that has stood out in this area is Stanley Johnson. He's the ultimate competitor and doesn't back down from a dogfight. Johnson got after it during practice on Monday and showed his toughness, as well as his array of skills, shooting ability and rebounding prowess. From talking to a handful of NBA scouts in attendance, they agree with this as well.

Rob Harrington: I'll go with Rashad Vaughn. He has been tasked here with defending Emmanuel Mudiay and attempting to score against him as well, never an easy assignment. And in the process, he's scoring from all levels, mostly shutting Mudiay down and generally making a case as the most effective player in practice.

To the players' credit, however, I think there are several other contenders for this distinction. Karl Towns really got after it on Monday, as did Jahlil Okafor and Stanley Johnson. On the whole, I think the West's practice was more competitive than the East's.

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


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