McDonald's: Hickson Stands Out

NC State signee J.J. Hickson was impressive in the opening practice of the week. The 6-foot-10 forward will represent the Wolfpack in this year's McDonald's All-American Game.

Saturday night, Kansas fans saw their beloved Jayhawks season end a little bit earlier than they'd hoped to as they suffered an Elite 8 loss at the hands of UCLA. Sunday, a future Jayhawk Cole Aldrich was getting his feet wet during the 2007 McDonald's All-American game's first round of practices in Louisville.

The 6-11 native of Minnesota and his West teammates enjoyed a 90 minute get to know you session on Sunday afternoon. Although it was tough to draw much from the brief get together, Phog.Net was on hand for all of the happenings.


Cole Aldrich - Looking every bit of the 6-11 he’s now being listed at, Aldrich looked to be enjoying himself during the practice session. During limited scrimmage time he connected on mid range jumpers, ran the floor and looked to be having a good time with his teammates. In an interesting twist, Aldrich is rooming with future foe Michael Beasley and the two have already taken part in some good natured verbal sparring.

O.J. Mayo - There’s been no shortage of controversy following the 6-4 guard from West Virginia’s decorated high school career. Appearing to be on his best behavior, Mayo was clearly best performer in the limited amount of time players had to actually play. He stroked jumpers from all over, got to the rim with ease and carried himself like a pro. In the long run he projects more comfortably at the two guard and there is nobody in the class of 2007 who is more comfortable making contested jumpers.

J.J. Hickson - Sidney Lowe is going to have some fun with this 6-9 stud from Atlanta. Strong, explosive and relentless the on glass, Hickson showed a surprising level of skill from 12 feet and in. Always lauded for his athleticism and relentlessness on the glass, perhaps he deserves more credit for his overall skill level. Several clever spins, finishes with either hand and some short jumpers suggest that he could be the type of guy who may not need long in college before heading to the pros.

James Anderson - It’s a good thing that the soft spoken 6-6 wing from Arkansas was chosen to compete in the game because he deserves to be here. There’s not a single thing flashy about what he does, but he’s plenty effective. On one trip he’ll knock down a three in transition, the next he’ll find a teammate with a slick dish off the dribble and then he’ll go off the dribble for a contested left handed layup, it’s just who he is and what he does. He’s not necessarily going to be the most explosive guy ever, but odds are fans and foes alike are going to appreciate his game on the next level.


The West squad has a pretty solid Big 12 feel to it. Playing together are the future Jayhawk Aldrich, future Wildcat Beasley, future Oklahoma Sooner Blake Griffin and future Oklahoma State Cowboy James Anderson. Another West team member, PG Jai Lucas, hasn’t committed to the Big 12 but members Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are still heavily in the mix for the 5-10 playmaker from Houston. … One of the great things about McDonald’s All-American week is the relaxed atmosphere and chance to spend time with the players chatting. Because most players are committed, time can be spent in general conversation rather than grilling kids about which schools they are looking at and why. It’s a nice change to be able to relax and remember that these are still 17 and 18 year old kids. … The dunk of the day came at the expense of future Duke Blue Devil Nolan Smith. The 6-2 guard was victimized by East teammate J.J. Hickson who cut down the right baseline, caught a pass and exploded off two feet for an impressive one handed jam. Had there been a ref on hand the maneuver would have surely drawn a whistle and given Hickson a chance to add a third point from the free throw line. Instead, Smith only had to answer to chuckling teammates. … He didn’t get a chance to launch many shots, but you have to appreciate the explosiveness of Jerryd Bayless has when launching his jumper. He gets off the floor as quickly and as high as any player in recent memory. However, there is a decided difference in his release when he’s shooting off the dribble versus off the catch. He’s a rhythm shooter who looks much more comfortable with a bounce to set up a smooth and explosive shot. …Want a darkhorse for Monday’s three point contest? How about seven footer Kosta Koufas? As long as they let him in the contest and he can get his shots off quick enough, the future Buckeye is as pure as anybody in attendance. … With today’s new age ballers, body art is always something worth paying some attention too. There were plenty of new tats on display but our favorite is one that Derrick Rose has been sporting for at least nine months now. Nicknamed Pooh, Rose has a tatoo of a merlinesque magician with the nickname “Poohdini” written in cursive above it. ..

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