The 2011 McDonald's All-American Game festivities got rolling on Sunday afternoon. Players from the East and West gathered at the Attack Athletics facility in Chicago for their first practice session. For the East, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Brad Beal and Mike Gilchrist were among the first practice's standouts.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG- The thin Georgia signee has a lightning-quick release and deep range. Generally considered more of a shooter, he's a lot more clever and effective off the bounce than people might think. His lateral quickness and instincts are big assets.
Brad Beal, SG- The 6-foot-4 shooting guard looked at ease and comfortable playing under the watchful eyes of several NBA types who joined the typical crowd of analysts to take in practice. He looked to have some bounce in his step and was quick to the rim on baseline drives. As usual, the future Florida Gator was money from deep and the NBA three-point line wasn't an issue for him.
Mike Gilchrist, SF- The 6-foot-7 Kentucky signee was outstanding during the first session. His team had the chance to scrimmage quite a bit and he flourished on both ends. It was good to see him hitting dribble pull-up jumpers from either elbow extended out to the three-point line. Of course, he was active as a defender as well.
Chane Behanan, PF- Sometimes at an event such as the McDonald's game, shorter power forwards like Behanan can struggle to get their shot off. That's not the case for Behanan. He uses fakes, hits jump hooks and has range to around 20 feet. He picked his spots and was very effective offensively.
James McAdoo, PF- McAdoo was active in transition as he ran rim to rim for dunks and tips. He's got wide shoulders and great length, and is a pretty fluid overall athlete. Catching, facing and attacking from the free throw line, he's efficient.
Rakeem Christmas, C- There are times where the effort level isn't necessarily there with Christmas so it was a pleasant surprise to see him play with a high level of activity on Sunday. He ran the floor, contested shots and made guys work for hoops near the rim.
P.J. Hairston, SG- When it comes to shooting the ball from way beyond the three-point line, the 6-foot-5 Hairston may have the deepest range of anybody in attendance. At the 2004 game it was another North Carolina signee - J.R. Smith - who put on a shooting clinic. While Hairston wasn't draining it from 28-32 feet as Smith did, he was pretty good from 23-26.