McDonald's Notebook: Day Three

COLUMBUS, Ohio – It's almost final exam time for the Class of 2010. The practice sessions at the McDonald's All-American game offer a glimpse into the world of the elite high school basketball player.

The actual McDonald's All-American game itself, offers little chance to formulate an opinion on the players. The frenetic style and pace that accompanies an all-star game is far from a perfect environment to evaluate players. Practices, however, give you a better shot at achieving the unachievable.

These eyes only watched a singular practice session but I'll offer up what caught my eye.

When a player comes to the game in tiptop shape, you can't help but notice. This year's physical fitness award belongs to Fab Melo. He's made a remarkable transformation with his body. Still a novice to the actual game, when a kid commits to changing his body the way Fab has, he sends the message that he's taking the game seriously and covets being considered a "player."

When 24 of the nation's finest prospects gather, an incredible amount of sheer athleticism is on display. Maybe the finest package of physical attributes belongs to the lively C.J. Leslie. Perry Jones isn't far behind (if he's behind at all). Plus, Patric Young is imposing. His "Baby Dwight Howard" nickname is more right than wrong if you're comparing physiques.

In my opinion, Kyrie Irving is the finest point guard in this class. He's hit another growth spurt. Irving's shot up in height and believes he's a real player. When you factor in all the point guard attributes plus skill and talent, he rates the highest. His jump shot is clean and quick from deep and mid-range. Brandon Knight has better range and more apt to go for a bigger scoring number. Irving commands his team. Different strokes for different folks but Irving's made his move.

There are outstanding guards in this game, that much we know. The crop will go a long way in replenishing the elite talent at the point position in college basketball. Tomorrow night, we'll give the East the edge. Their quartet of Irving, Josh Selby, Kendall Marshall and Joe Jackson has more sizzle and sizzle sells in all-star games. The West's group is scary good with Cory Joseph, Knight, Keith Appling, Doron Lamb and Ray McCallum. Sizzle edge to the cookers from the East squad.

It's strange seeing so many NBA GM's and scouts in the building again. After the 2006 collective bargaining agreement they were escorted out the building. This time around, they're back in full force. Larry Bird watched on Tuesday and he had plenty of company. Former game participant Danny Ferry was in the gym.

Harrison Barnes' "serious approach" scored points with the brass. They also liked the raw materials Patric Young and Perry Jones had. One scout noted Marshall "will be a good defender because he has super feet." Overall, they were lukewarm on the group as a whole. Selby's ability to attack had at least one team liking him long term. They did feel like the group had some coachable guys in it.

Barnes possesses a strong body and the ability to separate and get his jumper off. … Tristan Thompson has an underrated motor. … Selby is going to be a problem in college. He's so good at playing in attack mode and he keeps coming at defenders. Few will put as much pressure on defenses. … Guys like Knight and Selby are extremely difficult to pigeonhole position-wise. What they both do best is score and are cut more from the lead guard mold. … Joe Jackson's speed is something. His vision isn't far behind. … Still want to see Marshall and DeShaun Thomas cultivate some arc on their J's. … Doron Lamb's mid-range jumper is nice. Ditto for Joseph. … Appreciate for Terrence Jones and his game has steadily grown with each season. He's delivered on his talent. ...

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