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McDonald's Nuggets: Final Four prediction, Gradey Dick, Illinois, more

Alabama senior John Petty
Alabama senior John Petty (AP Images)

In this week’s edition of McDonald’s Nuggets, analyst Dan McDonald makes his Final Four picks, highlights a sleeper out of Georgia and names his Team of the Week and his 2022 Commit of the Week.

MORE: Five predictions from Rob Cassidy | Four-star Gradey Dick chooses Kansas

2021 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2022 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2023 Rankings: Top 30

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QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Who will make the Final Four?

Baylor's Scott Drew
Baylor's Scott Drew (AP Images)

In last week’s column, I made the prediction that Michigan will win the national championship. Even after the Wolverines got thumped by Illinois, I’m standing by that pick, which means I obviously have them in the Final Four. But what about the other three spots?

I’ll start with the obvious one and go with Gonzaga. Mark Few’s team has three potential All-Americans in Jalen Suggs, Drew Timme and Corey Kispert. No team in the country has a better trio at the top of their roster than the Bulldogs. They are really deep and the pieces all fit together nicely. I’d be pretty surprised if they don’t make the final weekend.

Likewise, I’ll take Baylor to make its first Final Four under Scott Drew. Again, this is another team where it has a roster of guys that complement each other really well. The Bears' backcourt is as dangerous as any in the country. Matthew Moyer is an explosive scorer off the bench and there is plenty of depth in the front court. They would have made it last year, but they’ll make up for it this year.

And last - but certainly not least - give me Alabama to round out the four. I love teams with senior leadership, and the Crimson Tide have plenty of it with Herb Jones, John Petty, Alex Reese and Jordan Bruner. Nate Oats is one of the best young coaches in the country. While many think of his teams as putting up a ton of points and playing at a fast pace, they have also been one of the best defensive teams in the country. They will surprise some people this month.

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ONE TO WATCH: Jalal McKie 

High school playoffs are taking place all over the country, and that’s usually a good place for prospects to establish themselves for college coaches. But with college coaches not being allowed on the road right now, evaluations are limited to livestreams. When the dead period is lifted, one prospect I expect to see have his stock rise quickly is Jalal McKie out of Georgia.

I watched the 6-foot-5 junior wing play on Tuesday night against 2022 five-star point guard Scoot Henderson. McKie’s team took the loss, but he showed the type of ability that has me thinking he’ll soon be a hot commodity. He scored 31 points and scored it at all three levels. He has great length and he’s a really instinctive player. He has one of the smoothest jumpers and really good touch in the mid-range and around the basket,

His recruitment has been fairly slow so far, but there has been some action. He mentioned interest from Florida State, Georgia, Georgia State, VCU, UCF and Lehigh so far. I’d expect that list to expand throughout the next several months and into his senior year.

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TEAM OF THE WEEK: Illinois

Andre Curbelo
Andre Curbelo (AP Images)

The Illini had one of the best weeks in recent memory for the program and did it without star guard Ayo Dosumnu. Saturday’s win over Wisconsin without Dosunmu was impressive enough, but to turn around a few days later and beat Michigan by 23 on the road was stunning.

They weren’t one of my Final Four picks, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if they end up going all the way. They are that good, and Brad Underwood is an elite coach.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH ILLINOIS FANS AT ORANGEANDBLUENEWS.COM

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2022 COMMIT OF THE WEEK: Gradey Dick to Kansas

The Jayhawks are getting work done early in the 2022 class as Bill Self and his staff locked down a second prospect already in the class with Gradey Dick hopping on board earlier this week.

The 6-foot-7 wing is one of the best shooters in the class with really good size and pretty good athleticism. He’ll make an impact early in Lawrence. Alabama, Baylor, Florida, Illinois, Oklahoma State, Purdue and Texas Tech were among the other schools under consideration for Dick before his commitment.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH KANSAS FANS AT JAYHAWKSLANT.COM