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McD AAG: East powers to victory behind Cole Anthony and Isaiah Stewart

RANKINGS: 2019 Rivals150 | 2019 Team rankings | 2019 Position rankings

2020 Rivals150 | 2020 Position rankings

Top 75 of 2021

Cole Anthony
Cole Anthony (Courtesy of McDonald's All-American Game)

ATLANTA -- Thanks to an overpowering first unit led by five-stars Cole Anthony and Isaiah Stewart, the East squad powered out to an early 16-6 lead at the 2019 McDonald's All-American Game and never looked back while cruising to a 115-100 victory in State Farm Arena as Anthony and Stewart combined for 30 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.

Eric Bossi and Corey Evans look back at the game and the week that it was.

STEWART ENTERS DISCUSSION FOR TOP SPOT IN 2019

The debate has been ongoing at Rivals.com central regarding Washington-bound Isaiah Stewart and his legitimacy as the top-ranked senior in America. We are at the point now that we can no longer dispute the big man’s candidacy thanks to his toughness, competitiveness, production and the consistency that he goes about playing the game.

Faced against his fellow elite peers in Atlanta, Stewart was again dominant as a paint producer. He rebounded the ball with a ferocity, converted a number of drop offs following the rim-run, and even displayed a turnaround jumper from the mid-range.

Stewart pummeled his opposition in the post, which he has become known for, though he has already raised his ceiling as a prospect. He finished with 16 points and five rebounds, just another walk in the park for the possible number one player in America. He might not have the standing reach of James Wiseman or the inside-out abilities of Vernon Carey but he is the most consistent and most productive of them all which has only added more to his argument for why he should finish the Rivals150 in the pole position.

ANTHONY AND STEWART SAVE BEST FOR LAST

Neither Cole Anthony or Anthony Edwards got their McDonald's weeks off to very good starts. But during Tuesday's scrimmage and Wednesday night's game, the two showed off why they have been so highly regarded.

Undecided, Anthony navigated ball screens with creativity, made timely shots and then showed off some explosiveness in the open floor during a very well rounded 14 point, five rebound and seven assist performance that earned him MVP honors

Perhaps carrying a few extra pounds after taking some time off after the high school season, it took Edwards some time to find his legs but once he got them he showed why Georgia fans should be so excited. he showcased his powerful athleticism and ability to explode into jumpers and finish through contact. He finished with 12 points, two rebounds and three assists.

OSCAR THE INTIMIDATOR

There are physically imposing prospects and then there is Oscar Tshiebwe. Built like Hulk and with the motor comparable to that of a Ferrari V12, it is a giant surprise whenever Tshiebwe doesn’t leave a giant impression on whichever game he suits up in.

Tshiebwe provided for an impressive slew of plays on the offensive end Wednesday and while he was a bit one-dimensional this time last year, he addressed such shortcomings as he scored on an impressive hook in the lane and face-up jumper from 12-feet, two moves that he couldn’t have even imagined making 12 months ago. Basically he was a bad man racking up the only double double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

These positive strides are great to see but, at the end of the day, Tshiebwe is going to be primarily known for his intimidating tactics, which is all well and good for his future head coach Bob Huggins of West Virginia. With a major need to fill in the frontcourt, imagining such a devastating big man in Tshiebwe alongside Derek Culver should make Mountaineers’ fans forget what they watched this winter and dream of better days ahead beginning with Tshiebwe’s enrollment in the fall.

BUSINESS ABOUT TO PICK UP FOR WATFORD

The firing of Avery Johnson at Alabama and the uncertain status of Will Wade's future at LSU looked like they would help to narrow things down for undecided five-star Trendon Watford who finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Also, Memphis looked like they may be edging ahead. The Tigers are still in really good shape here, but things are about to get interesting for Watford.

After jumping into the picture in the last month, look for Duke to host Watford for a visit as soon as they are done playing in the NCAA Tournament. Look for new Alabama coach Nate Oats to make things interesting for the Crimson Tide as early word is that Oats will explore the hiring of Watford's high school coach, Bucky McMillan.

If Duke decides to offer a scholarship, they could move into a position of power in this one.

WHERE ARE THE SHOOTERS?

It was this exact same night a year ago that we sat here wondering where all of the shooters for the class of 2018 were. Sadly, that's still a major question after watching the top of the class of 2019 primarily unload bricks from the outside throughout the course of the week before shooting a combined 12-46 from three during the game.

The class isn't totally without hope. Louisville-bound Samuell Williamson (11 points, three rebounds) has the tools and stroke to develop into a dangerous outside shooter. Kentucky-bound Tyrese Maxey (13 points and only player in the game to make multiple threes by going 3-6 from deep) is a natural scorer who could become an elite jump shooter with some small tweaks. Another who has potential as a high level jump shooter is Florida-bound Tre Mann (five points) and maybe the best shooter of the bunch is undecided Matthew Hurt (eight points and five rebounds)

Others like Nico Mannion, Trendon Watford, Bryan Antoine and a few more also have a chance as shooters and improvement in that area is the most easily identifiable way for this class to be looked at in a little better light.

FINAL GAME NOTES

.... No shock here, but Villanova-bound forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl was solid in all aspects of the game. He rebounded, scored when given chances and was easily one of the best defenders playing in the game. He finished with 13 points and five rebounds.

.... Undecided five-star power forward Precious Achiuwa was clearly in go and get a bucket mode on Wednesday night. After recent visits to North Carolina and Kansas, the 6-foot-9 senior was letting shots fly pretty much each time he touched the ball. But, he was successful too showing off that he has some face-up game to go along with his big time athleticism and ability to run the floor. Achiuwa had a game high 22 points plus nine rebounds on 10-20 shooting from the floor.

.... Wendell Moore's brightest moments of the McDonald's week came during the game. He's not a guy that you look at to be your primary offensive option, but he's one heck of a glue/blend guy, defends and does all the little things well. He's not quite as big as former Duke star Justise Winslow, but look for him to play a very similar role in Durham. He finished with 13 points and a pair of assists.

.... Memphis bound James Wiseman finished the week on a relatively strong note. After being outstanding during the practice session he was pretty much a no show for the Tuesday scrimmage but came back to play on Wednesday night. He was good around the hoop and active running the floor to finish with 13 points, six rebounds and a pair of assists.