First off, a great job by the voting committee. It seems that every year has it's issues and this time around there really isn't someone who shocks the world by being off of the list. Certainly, all of the no-brainers are on there, from Howard to Jefferson to Telfair to Livingston. It's good to see Corey Brewer on the list and it proves the committee valued his defense and rewarded him for it.
The East has loads of scorers in the backcourt with Washington, JR Smith and Telfair. They look to have the edge on team speed which will certainly help them in this type of high octane, minimal defense game. Watch out for Rondo from Oak Hill as well -- as he's slippery quick to the hole.
The only thing that concerns me in regards to the West team is chemistry. There is a lot of talent on the squad but there may not be enough balls to go around to keep the big scorers happy.
Lots of firepower on that squad when you look at Nelson, Crawford, Gibson and McClellan. If they pound the ball inside to the 6-8, 325 pound Davis -- they might be able to get the East frontcourt into a bit of foul trouble. But hey -- this is an All Star game -- and that's not likely to happen.
I predict an East victory with lots of dunks, no-look passes and deep three pointers.
Clint's call -- East 136, West 119.
Players to watch
Certainly the guards and sky-walkers are likely to excel in a game of this magnitude. But I like watching the game to see who does the right things.
I, for one, am a big fan of Jordan Farmer. This guy knows how to run a team. He's not the flashiest, nor the quickest. But he may be the most sound and efficient. Write it down -- Farmer is going to be a GREAT college point guard.
Another to watch is Michigan's Malik Hairston. I've been fortunate enough to have seen Hairston a lot over the past year and one thing that stands out about him is that he always plays hard. And he does it on both ends of the court. There's no wasted motion in his game. He can shoot. He can drive and he can rebound. Whoever lands Hairston will get themselves one fine player.
Rudy Gay is another fine player that could explode in a game like this. He could be the most improved player on this team from a year ago. He's a big time talent who has both athletic ability and a fine set of skills. He's going to be instant impact for UCONN. Inside and outside -- Gay can do it all. I can't wait to see Gay and Marvin Williams go head to head.
Lots of these guys will enter the NBA Draft. It's certain with some of the kids and others are teetering and waiting on a guarantee from some NBA teams. As many as a 10-11 of these kids could declare -- so don't get too excited over these kids who may skip college altogether.
Watch JR Smith's range on his three pointers. It's unreal. 30 feet? No problem. And he'll showcase his insane leaping ability as well.
Dunk Contest and Three-point competition:
Lots of good prospects for the Slam Dunk contest. This may actually be one of the best crops of athletes in a few years. We expect JR Smith and Josh Smith to be the favorites. Also, look out for Corey Brewer, Malik Hairston, Shaun Livingston and Rudy Gay who could possibly sneak up and steal the trophy from the Smith's -- who are certainly going to be tough to beat.
As for the three point competition -- I like Gibson to win it. There aren't a lot of great shooters this year and we're not sure if these guys can enter both competitions or not. If they can -- JR Smith and Malik Hairston could make a run at this award as well.
Farmar can shoot as can Washington if he's feeling it.
Time and Location
The game will be played on March 31st at Oklahoma City's Ford Center. It will be televised by ESPN.