Breaking Down the McDonald's Rosters
Usually, the annual announcement of the McDonald's All-American Game rosters is a lot like the announcement of the NBA All-Star rosters — complete with surprises, snubs and plenty of criticism.
But when the 2004 McDonald's boys' game rosters were released on Thursday, there were few surprises, even fewer snubs and almost nothing to criticize about the selection of this year's team.
All the usual suspects will be there on Wednesday, March 31 in Oklahoma City, and fans across the country will get a peak at possible preps-to-pros players like Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, Sebastian Telfair, Shaun Livingston, Al Jefferson and several others.
In fact, there were so few surprises that the highest-ranked player in the SchoolSports.com Top 100 to not make the team was Oak Hill Academy (Va.) power forward Brian Johnson, rated No. 17 overall in the Class of 2004. In addition to watching his stock slip somewhat this year, Johnson was likely hurt by the fact that Oak Hill got two other representatives in the game: the aforementioned Smith, as well as point guard Rajon Rondo.
Interestingly, Rondo also represents perhaps the biggest surprise among the players selected for the game, at least when you look at where he is ranked on most recruiting lists. Rondo is rated the No. 60 recruit in the Class of 2004 by SchoolSports.com, and he isn't ranked even in several Top 100 lists.
But the Kentucky-bound Rondo has had a stellar senior season — averaging 20 points and 11 assists per game for the nation's No. 1 prep team — and no player in the country has raised his stock more in the past few months.
The only other two players not ranked among the Top 25 recruits in the nation by SchoolSports.com who made the McDonald's team were Portland High (Tenn.) swingman Corey Brewer and Compton Centennial High (Calif.) shooting guard Arron Afflalo. But considering Brewer is ranked No. 31 and Afflalo is No. 36, neither selection is a huge surprise.
The big winner among colleges was the University of Texas, which led the pack with three McDonald's All-American selections: Seagoville High (Texas) power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, Jesse Jones High (Texas) point guard Daniel Gibson and Wilcox Central High (Ala.) power forward Mike Williams. Aldridge, however, may never end up at Texas if he enters the NBA Draft.
Five other colleges have two selections apiece: North Carolina with combo forward Marvin Williams and swingman J.R. Smith; Indiana with small forward Josh Smith and power forward D.J. White; Duke with point guard Shaun Livingston and shooting guard DeMarcus Nelson; Kentucky with point guard Rajon Rondo and shooting guard Joe Crawford; and UCLA with point guard Jordan Farmar and shooting guard Arron Afflalo.