Top Recruits at the 2011 McDonalds All-American Game
Lost in the March Madness surroundings were 20 something of the best high school players in all of the country putting on an exhibition in the 2011 McDonald's All-American game. With the Tournament on a six-day hiatus, we shifted our focus to these teenagers for some early looks at next year's lottery picks, at next year's All-Americans and John Calipari's next starting lineup.
We came away impressed with the likes of a 6'10" extremely versatile forward, Anthony Davis from Chicago. Just a year ago, Davis was a talented junior point guard standing just 6'2", but a lucky little 8" growth spurt shot up the high schooler to a power forward with the quickness and ball-handling of a top guard recruit and the explosive athleticism and length to rebound and block shots. He'll start for Calipari at Kentucky right away next season, but likely won't be there too long- he's the number one prospect on our 2012 Big Board.
The consensus top recruit in the incoming class, Austin Rivers, had an impressive showing this past week in the practices leading up to and the game itself. Listed at 6'4", Rivers is closer to 6'2" and doesn't have great athleticism, limiting his appeal to NBA scouts. But he does have the eye-popping scoring abilities, basketball IQ and work ethic for a promising future.
Calipari's second starting frontcourt player is 17-year-old wing, Michael Gilchrist. First and foremost, Gilchrist is a competitor with a clear desire to get better, which is fantastic, because as it stands now, this 6'7" and still growing small forward prospect is our No. 2 ranked player on the Big Board. Offensively, he loves to take the ball to the rim and he has the ball-handling skills and aggressive nature to get him there, but he can also pull-up and knock down jumpers as well. He can really impact the game defensively with his length, quickness and improving strength to body up his opponent. He needs some more polish offensively, but that's just what he'll get under Calipari's watch.
Another promising big man, James McAdoo, will be able to step right in next year for Roy Williams, especially as we anticipate Tyler Zeller, John Henson and Harrison Barnes, the Tar Heels' starting frontcourt could all depart early for the NBA. The Virginia-product is a bit undersized, but has a nice, long wingspan to combat that negative. His skill set, fundamentals and feel for the game are advanced for an incoming freshman as he always seems to find himself in the right place at the right time. He can get there with some above-average ball-handling, a soft touch from the mid-range and an astonishing finishing ability around the rim. He needs to fill out his frame, but has some potential as an inside-outside forward.
A few more potential lottery picks loom in this freshman class, including Florida-commit Bradley Beal, Texas point guard Myck Kabongo and Baylor forward Quincy Miller.