For most high school stars, an invitation to the McDonald's All-American Game remains the ultimate goal and validation of an outstanding high school career.
Thursday, the rosters were unveiled for the 2013 game to be played in Chicago's United Center on April 3. Here's a brief look at the rosters and some of the matchups we'll be looking forward to.
Keith Frazier, 6-5 SG, Dallas (Texas) Kimball, undecided
Andrew Wiggins, 6-7 SF, Huntington (W.V.) Prep, undecided
Aaron Gordon, 6-8 PF/SF, San Jose (Calif.) Archbishop Mitty, undecided
Each year, the TV-viewing public only gets to see Wednesday night's games. However, during the week each team holds three team practices and there is a highly competitive closed scrimmage between the East and West the day before the game.
Often, these practices and scrimmages are more competitive and provide much more insight than the game itself. Here are a few of the potential matchups that we are most looking forward to seeing.
We'll go ahead and start with the nation's top player vs. No. 3. Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker haven't met on the court, but we should finally get that during the McDonald's game. Parker is big and skilled, while Wiggins is on another level athletically and has come out on top in nearly every head-to-head battle against another touted player.
Another intriguing matchup is Chris Walker vs. Marcus Lee. In what should be a preview of future SEC battles between the Florida-bound Walker and the Kentucky-bound Lee, it will have two lengthy and dynamic athletes who can really run the floor. Walker and Lee play above the rim and run the floor like guards and the head to head between them should be plenty of fun, should it occur.
The third potential matchup between five-star combo forwards Aaron Gordon of the West and Noah Vonleh of the East. Both are similarly sized, have lengthy frames and can play a bit inside and out while collecting a high volume of rebounds. Gordon is more of an explosive athlete while Vonleh probably has a slightly higher overall skill level. Neither shies away from contact and both play tough on each end of the floor.
By the numbers
How many members of Kentucky's top-ranked recruiting class will be on display during the McDonald's game. Four of them playing on the West team. Florida, Duke and Kentucky are the only other programs with multiple players.
The number of players representing the states of California and Texas in the 2013 Mickey D's game. The closest any other state comes to matching those numbers is Florida. Three Floridians -- including high school teammates Dakari Johnson and Kasey Hill -- made the game this year. North Carolina and New Hampshire (or Massachusetts if you go by Wayne Selden and Noah Vonleh's home states) are the other states to produce multiple selections to this year's game.
The number of undecided players who have been selected to this year's game. Only Andrew Wiggins (Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina), Aaron Gordon (Arizona, Kentucky, Oregon, Washington) and Keith Frazier (Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, SMU) have yet to make their college choices.
That's how many members of the Jones family have been named McDonald's All-Americans in the past year. This year, Duke-bound Matt Jones follows in the footsteps of his sister Jordan Jones (a freshman at Texas A&M) who was selected to the women's team in 2012. Jordan won last year's skills competition, giving her little brother something to shoot for.
The number of exceptions we would have liked to see game director Morgan Wooten make to include Julius Randle. We understand that it is important to have rules, guidelines and regulations when it comes to choosing participants for the game. By those regulations, the 6-foot-9 senior from Plano (Texas) Prestonwood Christian, who ranks No. 2 nationally, is ineligible for the game after missing almost the entire season with a broken foot. However, Randle has been a standout his entire career and would have likely been a unanimous decision had he been healthy. We understand why Randle couldn't be placed on the team, but it is unlikely that many would have complained about his inclusion had he been added.
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