SOUTH BEND, Ind. Lets squash the rumors before they
Yes, Carmel (Carmel, Ind.) power forward Josh McRoberts was named MVP of the McDonalds All-American Game Wednesday night after scoring 17 points and pulling down 12 rebounds in leading the East team to a 115-110 win.
No, unlike last years McDonalds All-American Game co-MVPs, Dwight Howard and J.R. Smith, McRoberts wont be riding his MVP performance straight to the NBA. No ifs, ands or buts about it.
McRoberts has signed with Duke and says no amount of money could lure him away from playing for the Blue Devils next year alongside fellow 2005 McDonalds All-Americans Greg Paulus, a point guard out of Christian Brothers Academy (Syracuse, N.Y.), and Eric Boateng, a center out of St. Andrews (Middletown, Del.).
Right now I just really want to go to college and have that experience and play for Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski), says McRoberts, who was greeted with loud applause from his in-state crowd during pre-game introductions. Im not ready for the NBA physically or mentally yet.
A 6-foot-10, 235-pound power forward who is rated the nations No. 4 recruit in the Class of 2005 by SchoolSports.com, McRoberts scored on several Paulus feeds en route to 14 first-half points.
We talk all the time on the phone, and Im rooming with [Paulus] this week, McRoberts says. I think it kind of showed on the court.
Like McRoberts, Gulf Shores Academy (Houston, Texas) guard Gerald Green is adamant on following through on his commitment to Oklahoma State.
However, after scoring a game-high 24 points while going 6-of-9 from beyond the 3-point arc, Green might have locked up a spot in the lottery.
Rated the nations No. 11 player in the senior class by SchoolSports.com, Green is a 6-foot-8, 200-pound shooting guard reminiscent of Tracy McGrady. Most mock drafts have Green going in the first 20 picks of the 2005 draft and NBA scouts seem to be more enamored with him than anybody else in this class at this point.
Still, Green insists hell be a Cowboy next year.
Right now Im going to Oklahoma State, he says. Thats been one of my dreams since I was little, to go to college. My mind is really strong on going to Oklahoma State. I dont think that will change.
Green matched McRoberts shot for shot in the first half, scoring 14. After sitting on the bench for the first few minutes of the game, Green exploded once he subbed in, going 5-for-6 from the floor and 4-of-4 from beyond the arc in the first half. At one point, he scored eight straight points for the East team, which led 65-43 at the break.
Green scored five quick points at the beginning of the second half, including two when he skyed over a large crowd for a jaw-dropping two-handed dunk, before a Mario Chalmers-led West team closed the gap.
After a forgettable first half, in which he went 1-for-6 from the floor and scored only two points, the Kansas-bound point guard out of Bartlett (Anchorage, Alaska) caught fire as the West team crept back into the game after trailing by as much as 27 in the first half.
Chalmers scored 18 second-half points for a total of 20 as the West went on a 22-4 run early in the half. The West team pulled to within eight, 74-66, with 15:36 left in the game when Chalmers hit a 3-pointer, stole an inbounds pass and hit another 3-pointer during an eight-second span.
We were down by a lot of points, Chalmers says. We knew we had to come out with a lot of energy to get back in the game, and thats what we did.
After two Paulus free throws gave the East team a 106-102 lead, Lanier (Jackson, Miss.) guard Monta Ellis scored four straight points for the West team. His dunk with 1:20 left tied the game at 106.
But Green hit two free throws and Paulus hit five from the line in the waning moments to help the East escape with the win.
Ellis, a guard who signed with Mississippi State but is expected to go pro, finished with eight points and went just 1-of-5 from 3-point land.
Im happy about [my performance] because its an honor to be here, Ellis says. On the other hand, thats how life is. You cant look behind, Im just looking ahead.
While Ellis performance wont wow NBA scouts, his West teammate, Seattle Prep (Seattle, Wash.) guard Martell Webster, might have helped his draft stock with a line of 16 points and six rebounds.
Webster, who signed with Washington, was especially good early on. He scored his teams first eight points on two 3-pointers and a tip-in dunk.
I just let the game come to me and fortunately I got to knock down some jimmies, Webster says. Its definitely hard to shine because youve got a lot of people who can score. I mean those people wouldnt be here if it wasnt for their blocked shots, rebounding or shooting. A lot of people here can do that, and they did.
The games other legit preps-to-pro prospect, Louis Williams out of South Gwinnett (Snellville, Ga.), had a solid but not spectacular game. The Georgia-bound guard, who told reporters earlier this week he plans on going pro if the opportunity arises, scored 14 points for the East team.
For Notre Dame recruit Luke Zeller, the highlight of the night was when he was greeted with raucous applause during pre-game introductions in front of his soon-to-be home crowd.
Zeller, a power forward out of Washington (Washington, Ind.), was held scoreless and grabbed just two rebounds.
SYLVAN: McDonald's All American coverage
SOUTH BEND, Ind. Lets squash the rumors before they