McDonald's: Beasley, West Hang On

LOUISVILLE - It was Michael Beasley's evening at the 30th McDonald's All-American Game. His West team hung on for a close 114-112 win.

Had you been privy to the practices and scrimmages prior to the McDonald's Game, you'd have likely come to the same conclusion we did: O.J. Mayo was gearing up for his senior sendoff.

Few observers were prepared for the nightmare scenario which ensued: Mayo couldn't get a goal. He finished just 4-for-17 and 1-for-9 from downtown.

"It happens sometimes," Mayo said. "Some nights you aren't going to be on. You have to find other ways to get the team going like playing defense."

Kevin Love watched at halfcourt as the buzzer sounded on Mayo and his team's night.

"He took over in yesterday's scrimmage," Love said. "Sometimes you have an off day and you miss shots. He's a great player and he's going to bounce back and have some great moments in his career."

Mayo's rough night, a byproduct of numerous forces and frustration, didn't help the outmanned East as the West saddled up their stars –Love in the first, Eric Gordon late and Michael Beasley throughout – and rode them home to a 114-112 victory.

On high school basketball's single biggest stage, it was Beasley's star which shined the brightest.

Mayo, Gordon Tangle Again
Beasley, one of the most versatile frontcourt players in high school basketball, seemingly had his way inside and outside. Beasley's live body was un-checkable by the East frontline. His MVP performance consisted of 23 points, 12 rebounds and 2 assists on a night when he would shoot 10-for-13 from the field.

Plus, Beasley had a sidekick and that man was Kevin Love, the 2007 Wooden Award winner as the nation's top high school player.

There's been great debate about Love as a pro. The bottom line is the kid not only is going to be a tremendous collegian, anyone who doesn't think he's an NBA guy has lost their marbles. His game translates from high school to college and college to the league.

"I don't know if he's an impact guy in our league but he can flat out play (one day in the NBA)," one NBA personnel director told "He's simply a good player. Those outlet passes are ridiculous."

Even with the talent level tipping in favor of the West, the East would not quit. In fact, it outscored its counterpart 55-46 in the second half and had two chances to extend the game.

With 5 seconds remaining, Mayo got a clean look at a 3-pointer which didn't go down. Eric Gordon, who watched last summer as Mayo gunned down his AAU team with a game-winner, reflected on O.J.'s last look to win it.

"I hate to see that again," Gordon joked. "He did to us in the summer. He's used to hitting big shots like that so I'm glad we came out with a win."

Nick Calathes, one of the game's more complete performers corralled the rebound and got off a lay-up which would have tied the game. It did not go down as the East finally succumbed 114-112.

"We came back and gave it our all," Calathes said. "Everyone was doubting us but we've got all-americans too.

"I knew our team would come through and have a last shot at it. Our team is tough. Everyone doubted us because they had most of the top players in the country … but come on; you know we're all all-americans out there."

Beasley took a picture with John Wooden, held his MVP trophy up high and reflected on the honor that is being the McDonald's MVP. "With Magic Johnson, LeBron James and Michael Jordan … to be on that list it's a wonderful thing."

The hardware was in fact earned and so was his place in history. "O.J. was missing some shots and every dog has his day and today was Mike Beasley's day," Love said.

  • Chris Wright threw two backdoor bounce passes that anyone who values the "Princeton Offense" principles could truly appreciate.

  • Kyle Singler's selfless game doesn't get a chance in settings like this. It's a shame too. One NBA general manager told us Wednesday night that of all the guys on the floor, if allowed to use the information he knows about the kids, would take Singler above anyone else.

  • The West started 5 guys from the Top 10, including 3 from the Top 50. The East started 3 players from the Top 10 and only a single Top 5er in Mayo.

  • Eric Gordon's ability to drive, take contact and finish is uncanny. He played on a bum wheel but still managed to explode for a few tough buckets.

  • Nick Calathes gets credit for a lot of things and rightfully so. Of all the guys in the game few are as intelligent on the floor as the future Gator.

  • Jerryd Bayless is an incredible athlete who has a knack for scoring. Having said that, Bayless ain't too shabby defensively either. Athletically he moves at a rate most guys can't fathom.

    "I'm staying all four years!"

  • Michael Beasley's comment to a throng of reporters who didn't believe him for one second


    WEST – Beasley 23, Singler 10, Love 13, Gordon 13, Rose 5, Lucas 8, Harden 8, Griffin 4, Anderson 5, King 8, Bayless 11, Aldrich 6. Rebounds – Beasley 12. Assists – Rose 5.

    EAST – Greene 10, Patterson 8, Koufos 9, Flynn 9, Mayo 12, Wright 0, Hickson 14, Freeman 9, Smith 8, Stokes 8, Lawal 12, Calathes 13. Rebounds – Lawal 12. Assists – Calathes, Flynn 6. Blocks – Patterson 3.

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