McDonald's All-American Preview
This year's McDonald's All-American games hold as much intrigue as any in recent memory.
Sure, last year had LeBron James. But by the time he played in the 2003 McDonald's game, he'd already competed in two other nationally televised games and was a well-known commodity and sure-fire No. 1 draft pick.
But this year's event features several interesting storylines. There's the chance to see as many as 10 players who might enter this summer's NBA Draft. There's the chance to see New York City point guard Sebastian Telfair and Illinois playmaker Shaun Livingston go head-to-head. And there's the chance to see female superstar Candace Parker — the girl who out-dunked the boys to win the slam dunk contest on Monday.
Chances are, most people will be tuning into the boys' game to catch a glimpse of the guys expected to enter the NBA Draft. This year's draft could be a record-setting one in terms of the number of high schoolers drafted, and most of them will be on display in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night.
The current record for prep players selected in the first round of the draft is four, set in 2001 (Kwame Brown, Tyson Chandler, Eddy Curry and DeSagana Diop) and tied in 2003 (LeBron James, Travis Outlaw, Ndudi Ebi and Kendrick Perkins).
But this year there could be as many as 12 high school players declare for the draft, with as many as 10 being drafted in the first round. Among the McDonald's All-Americans being talked about as potential first-round picks if they enter the draft are: Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, Shaun Livingston, Sebastian Telfair, Al Jefferson, LaMarcus Aldridge, Marvin Williams, Robert Swift and Randolph Morris.
A stellar showing in the McDonald's All-American game — with a bevy of NBA scouts watching — could clinch several players' decisions to enter the draft. In past years, players like Eddy Curry, Darius Miles and Jonathan Bender used strong McDonald's game performances as a springboard to the NBA.
There will also be some intriguing individual matchups. In addition to the Telfair-Livingston showdown, it will be great to watch East big men Howard, Jefferson and Morris square off against the West's Aldridge, Swift and Glen Davis, a 6-foot-9, 330-pound monster nicknamed "Big Baby." It should also be fun to watch the nation's two best small forwards — Smith and Williams — square off.
On the girls' side, all eyes will be on Parker. Already considered one of the greatest high school hoop players ever, Parker gained national notoriety this week after winning the slam dunk contest on Monday. Like LeBron last year, the MVP award on the girls' side this year is likely Parker's to lose.
Parker is one of five McDonald's All-American girls to have signed with the University of Tennessee. Joining Parker in the Lady Vols' recruiting class are: New York's Nkolika Anosike, West Virginia's Alexis Hornbuckle, Tennessee's Alex Fuller and California's Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood.