Jackson, Okafor take over McDonald's game

CHICAGO -- After a week of grueling practices and a scrimmage, the nation's top players took the court at the United Center on Wednesday. The West team knocked off the East team 105 to 102. Justin Jackson and Jahlil Okafor won MVP honors.

Justin Jackson and Jahlil Okafor ended their high school careers with MVP trophies.

The two five-star recruits took home MVP honors in the 2014 McDonald's All-American game. Jackson finished with 23 points, while Okafor, Scout.com's top ranked player, scored 17 points and added seven boards.

Jackson is known for his efficiency and he held true to that in the game, finishing 11-for-14 from the field. Early in the game, Jackson scored off easy lay ups and transition finishes. He also hit a mid-range pull-up and a three-pointer.

"I just tried to go in and have fun and work as hard as I could and do the little things to help us win," Jackson said following the game. "We ended up coming up short. I'm just happy I was able to get [the MVP]."

"For me, I like to let the game come to me and I like to get easy shots before I start to take hard shots to get my rhythm," he said. "I tried to get out there, get a few lay ups, a few floaters and then my jump shot came."

Okafor, a 6-foot-10, 260-pound big man, showed off his impressive skill and touch around the rim. But he also ran the floor with purpose and scored in transition. He finished 8-for-15 from the field.

"It was a very exciting game and a very competitive also," Okafor told Scout.com. "It was a great opportunity for me to go out there and play against some really good players."

"I think I played pretty decent, nearly a double-double," he added. "I definitely should have had double digit rebounds, but I think I played decent. I had a lot of help from my teammates."

Okafor and the West team won the game 105-102. Emmanuel Mudiay scored 15 points and tossed out six assists for the West team, while Rashad Vaughn added 14 points in the wing.

For the East team, James Blackmon was second in scoring with 13 points. Tyus Jones also tossed out 10 assists and scored seven points in the loss. Cliff Alexander finished with 9 points and 11 rebounds for the East.

Other Top Performers

D'Angelo Russell, SG – After a solid week of practices, Russell, a 6-foot-4 combo guard headed to Ohio State, had a good showing in the game. Although he missed more mid-range jumpers than he usually does, Russell did hit a three-pointer and had a couple of nifty finishes at the rim. Russell had a good skill level, plays well with the ball in his hands and showed his good vision. He finished with 11 points on 5-for-10 shooting and tossed out four assists.

Tyus Jones, PG – Although Jones only took five shots, he had a major impact for the East team. Jones ran his team and showed off the impressive IQ and passing ability we've raved about with him for quite some time. Tossing out double-digit assists is impressive, especially when he only turned the ball over one time. Jones' points came off a pull-up three late in the game, a floater in the lane and a finish at the rim.

Emmanuel Mudiay, PG -- A point guard with absolute elite body control, Mudiay made some ridiculous drives to the basket and was just impossible for defenders to stay in front of. His outside shot wasn't falling, but he mostly played very well other than that. At the end of the first half, Mudiay used a ridiculously quick first step to get by his defender and throw down a one-handed dunk. It was a good summary of his high level physical tools.

Rashad Vaughn, SG -- It was a pretty successful week for Vaughn in practices and he continued that on Wednesday. Vaughn, finally healthy, has been feeling very confident with his jump shot and that continued in the game. He hit a step-back three-pointer and another shot from distance off the catch, nailed a floater off the glass, scored above the rim in transition and on the offensive glass. It was a really impressive performance for one of the top scorers in the class.

Josh Gershon also contributed to this report

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