The 2014 McDonald’s All-American Game was played in Chicago on Wednesday, featuring some of the top high school prospects in the country Although there shouldn’t be a lot of stock put into an All-Star game environment, there were plenty of observations to be confirmed. There will be an abundance of one-and-done prospects to watch next season.
Names that fans should definitely remember are Emmanuel Mudiay (SMU), Stanley Johnson (Arizona), Jahlil Okafor (Duke), and Myles Turner (Uncommitted). These four prospects clearly have NBA potential, while Cliff Alexander (Kansas), Trey Lyles (Kentucky), and Karl Towns (Kentucky) should be thrown into the next tier as well. Mudiay might have the most star potential because of his scoring ability and upside. Johnson is a proven winner while Okafor and Turner are skilled big men that are hard to find.
Scouting reports collected from the game and other events are below:
Cliff Alexander, PF, 6-foot-9 (Kansas): Despite playing with a wrist injury, Alexander flashed the athleticism and length to make an instant impact. He had nine points (4-11 FG) and 11 rebounds but easily could have had more points after missing some lob attempts. If he develops a post game and adds some bulk at Kansas, he should be one of the top freshmen in the country. There’s plenty of upside for this athletic power forward.
Grayson Allen, SG, 6-foot-4 (Duke): Allen certainly didn’t have his best shooting day with only four points (2-6 FG, 0-2 3FG), but that’s what he can do at the next level. He’s a shooter who is starting to become an overall scoring threat that can slash to the bucket as well. After winning the dunk contest, it’s evident that he has the athletic ability to compete at Duke. He may not play big minutes as a freshman, but could be a quality four-year contributor.
Joel Berry, PG, 6-foot-0 (North Carolina): Berry isn’t an elite athlete, but is a smart point guard with a high basketball IQ. After getting his shots blocked on a couple drives to the basket, Berry implemented a floater to compensate for his struggles to finish inside. He finished with seven points (3-6 FG, 1-2 3FG) and four assists. He’s an overall solid point guard prospect who can defend as well, but may not see the floor very much during his freshman season with Marcus Paige returning.
James Blackmon Jr., SG, 6-foot-2 (Indiana): The shooting specialist took some questionable shots on Wednesday but still had a nice performance. Blackmon Jr. finished with 13 points (5-11 FG, 1-4 3FG) but can work on impacting the game in other areas. He’s a knock-down shooter who can contribute immediately because of his jumper.
Devin Booker, SG, 6-foot-5 (Kentucky): Another shooting specialist, Booker had eight points (3-8 FG, 2-3 3FG) with a pair of three pointers. His calling card at this point is in his shooting ability, but he has the physical tools to expand his game. Booker takes quality shots and could start from day one if James Young declares for the draft.
Justin Jackson, SF, 6-foot-7 (North Carolina): Jackson was a co-MVP for good reason. He had a game-high 23 points (11-14 FG, 1-2 3FG), five rebounds, and two assists. Jackson can be a quiet scorer, but seems to have a nose for the basketball in transition and put-back situations. He’s a lengthy small forward without an ego and is a decent ball handler as well. Jackson needs to add strength, but he’ll be a great addition to North Carolina’s bench next year. He’ll have plenty of upside to develop into an all-around sound player for the Tar Heels.
Stanley Johnson, SF, 6-foot-7 (Arizona): With the likely departure of Aaron Gordon, Johnson will be the perfect replacement. Their games differ immensely, as Johnson is a scorer who can shoot or attack the basket. He has the physical ability to get by a defender and finish at the basket. In addition, he uses a right to left crossover where he hesitates and can pull up for the jumper or attack off the bounce. He’s won four state titles at Mater Dei and is a proven winner. Johnson even played some point guard this past season and is an underrated passer. He had eight points (4-10 FG, 0-3 3FG) with four rebounds and although those numbers may not be overly impressive, Johnson should be one of the best freshmen in the country next season.
Tyus Jones, PG, 6-foot-1 (Duke): A solid point guard prospect, Jones excels in pick-and-roll situations. He used a screen to shed a defender and then spun into a floater for a highlight play on Wednesday. Jones will be a good floor general who had seven points (3-5 FG, 1-1 3FG) and 10 assists in the game compared to only one turnover. He isn’t a great athlete, but has a high basketball IQ and is a gifted passer. Jones could start immediately but will compete with Quinn Cook for the starting job over the summer.
Kevon Looney, F, 6-foot-8 (UCLA): The first trait that pops out about Looney is his length. He has extremely long arms and is a good athlete who can play either forward spot. The UCLA bound forward can handle the ball and has a solid jumper from mid-range. He will need to add strength and a consistent jumper from deep to become a lethal scoring weapon. Looney should provide an instant impact due to his rebounding ability while he has plenty of upside. He had six points and 11 rebounds on Wednesday.
Trey Lyles, PF, 6-foot-10 (Kentucky): A skilled big man, Lyles had eight points (3-7 FG, 0-1 3FG), eight rebounds, two assists, and two steals. He can face up and knock down the mid-range jumper or use his moves on the block. Lyles is a versatile big with plenty of potential at Kentucky.
Emmanuel Mudiay, G, 6-foot-5 (SMU): Mudiay could very well end up being the top freshman in the country next season. He’s a great athlete who excels in isolation situations. As a point guard who plays at a good pace, he changes speed to keep defenders off balance. He can also play off the ball because of his size, length, and scoring ability. Mudiay had a highlight play to end the first half after using a hesitation dribble to freeze the defender and followed with a soaring one-handed slam down the lane. Later, he had an athletic up-and-under finish for a layup. He finished the night with 15 points (6-15 FG, 0-3 3FG) and six assists. If he adds a three-point jumper, he’ll become nearly unstoppable. Mudiay is a smooth operator who has the athleticism and skill set to become the leading scorer at SMU next season.
Jahlil Okafor, C, 6-foot-10 (Duke): The game’s co-MVP finished with 17 points (8-15 FG) and seven rebounds in the win. He’s an old school, back to the basket center who looks for contact down low. Okafor isn’t a great athlete, but uses his size to box out and fight for position. He also displayed decent touch from eight feet. Most sites rank him as the top prospect in this class and he should start at Duke from day one. If he can finish over length at the next level, there’s no doubt he’ll make a huge impact next season.
Kelly Oubre, SF, 6-foot-7 (Kansas): Oubre struggled from the field, shooting 3-of-13 and 0-of-5 from behind the arc to finish with 11 points and seven rebounds, but he’s shown the ability to excel at Kansas on previous occasions. He’s a lengthy wing who can hit threes from the wing. Oubre’s size makes him a mismatch against other small forwards and his athleticism helps him attack the glass. He’ll be a nice replacement for Andrew Wiggins.
Theo Pinson, SF, 6-foot-6 (North Carolina): Pinson had the play of the night with a dunk over a defender in transition. He clearly has the athleticism, although the only other point he had was from a free throw. Pinson has the upside to become a star, but needs to add a consistent jumper to compliment his mid-range game.
D’Angelo Russell, SG, 6-foot-4 (Ohio State): Russell will provide much-needed scoring for Ohio State next season. He’s a smooth operator who had 11 points (5-10 FG, 1-2 3FG) and four assists. Russell can play either guard spot but excels in mid-range when he can pull-up off the dribble.
Karl Towns Jr., C, 6-foot-11 (Kentucky): Towns Jr. is a versatile center who can stretch the floor. He has soft hands and touch to dominate down low while he can also knock down three-pointers. The future Wildcat had six points (3-6 FG, 0-1 3FG), five rebounds, and two blocks on Wednesday. He can work on his assertiveness because his size and skill set should allow him to dominate.
Reid Travis, PF, 6-foot-8 (Stanford): Also a tremendous quarterback prospect, Travis seems to be sticking to basketball at Stanford. He’s a strong power forward who had eight points (4-8 FG, 0-2 3FG) and five rebounds in the All-American game. Travis battles down low and competes on the glass because of his energy. He tried stretching the floor, but still has a shaky jumper. Travis is an undersized power forward who finds a way to dominate on the block.
Romelo Trimble, PG, 6-foot-2 (Maryland): Trimble is a good ball handler with a nice crossover. He struggled in the All-American game without a field goal and had two points on 0-of-4 shooting, but had some nice passes where his teammates couldn’t convert. Trimble can get to the basket and should challenge for a starting role at either guard spot.
Myles Turner, C, 7-foot-0 (Undecided): The only uncommitted prospect in the game was also one of the best. He had an efficient seven points (2-3 FG, 1-1 FG) to go with seven rebounds. His size and length help him on the defensive end as Okafor had trouble scoring against Turner. The 7-footer can stretch the floor out to the three-point line and he’s extremely versatile on the offensive end. He’s an all-around center who still possesses plenty of upside. Turner mentioned that he’ll name a decision date after sitting down with his family after the Jordan Brand All-American Game. Texas and Kansas have been two teams frequently mentioned as the favorites in Turner’s recruitment.
Tyler Ulis, PG, 5-foot-9 (Kentucky): Ulis isn’t a typical Kentucky prospect, as he’s only 5-foot-9 and isn’t a great leaper, but will be an instant fan favorite in Lexington. He’s extremely quick and has a great handle for the ball. Ulis can hit the three but is a quality distributor who can run a team. He had five points (2-5 FG, 1-2 3FG) and three assists, but seemed to make a bigger impact than the box score may show. The future Wildcat can also harass opposing ball handlers due to his energy and quickness. If the Harrison twins declare for the draft, Ulis should be ready to step in and start immediately.
Rashad Vaughn, SG, 6-foot-6 (UNLV): Vaughn is an elite athlete and scorer at the shooting guard position who should make an instant impact at UNLV. He was 5-of-11 from the floor, and 2-of-5 from deep, en route to a 14-point, 5-rebound performance. Vaughn already has the size, athleticism, and skill set to succeed at the next level as he’ll only need to improve his consistency while continuing to improve.
Thomas Welsh, C, 6-foot-11 (UCLA): This wasn’t the ideal environment for Welsh as he was the only player held scoreless, but still showed why he was invited to the game. He’s a good passer out of the post, as he had two assists in eight minutes to go with two rebounds. Welsh is a more traditional big man who prefers his back to the basket although he can knock down the mid-range jumper. He isn’t a great athlete, but has soft hands and has the competitiveness to rebound.
Isaiah Whitehead, SG, 6-foot-4 (Seton Hall): Whitehead will be one of the most talented freshmen to play at Seton Hall. He’s a scorer who attacks the rim and can get to the free throw line. Whitehead had six points (2-5 FG, 0-1 3FG) in only nine minutes of action on Wednesday. He’ll make an instant impact as a scoring guard next season.
Justise Winslow, SF, 6-foot-6 (Duke): Winslow has the makings for a perfect glue guy. He’s a good defender who can play multiple positions. Winslow is extremely unselfish and seems to take pride on the defensive end. Offensively, he’s a quality passer who can attack off the bounce. Winslow had nine points (4-6 FG, 0-1 3FG) and three rebounds.