The 2013 McDonald’s All American Game proved to be a two-hour infomercial on the Kentucky Wildcat basketball program. John Calipari had six committed compete in the game as well as one player that he is still actively recruiting.
First, let’s start with the players that Cal has locked up. Dakari Johnson was the player that surprised me the most. He is a top ten recruit but I had not seen him play very much previous to this game. He showed very strong post moves and ran the floor very well as a big man. His skills are far from polished but he has the potential to become a star. Johnson actually led the Kentucky recruits with 12 points. I could see him challenging Willie Cauley-Stein for a starting position.
Julius Randle is more athletic than I had anticipated. He showed elusive moves around the rim and highlighted the night with a reverse alley-oop dunk. The stories about his never-quit attitude were on display as he was one of the only players to give 100% effort on both sides of the floor all night long. He ended the night with 11 points and seven rebounds. He will start over Alex Poythress at power forward.
The Harrison Twins started the game off with a bang as Andrew threw an alley-oop dunk to Aaron for one of the first plays of the game. Andrew finished the night with 11 points and Aaron had six points of his own. The offense clearly ran better with the two of them on the floor for the West. They showcased good ball handling schools, excellent shooting, good passing and ankle breaking moves to the basket. They were as good as advertised. Their skills make them a must have commodity on the court at all times. As twins they have impeccable timing and an advantage over the defense as they seem to know what one is going to do without even talking about it on the court.
James Young played well in his time on the court. He handled the ball at the point a few times and has a smooth driving game. I wanted to actually see more of what Young has to offer, but a six point performance was all we were able to see. I see Young emerging as the season goes along.
Marcus Lee played limited minutes and scored two points along with a couple of rebounds. Lee has a long body to go along with good quickness around the rim. Out of all the players he has the most improvement to make. Don’t expect him to make much of an impact right away.
The destination of Andrew Wiggins was the elephant in the room during the game last night. No hints were dropped as to where he may end up, but both Jalen Rose and Jay Williams, who called the game for ESPN last night, agreed that Kentucky would be the right place for him. Their reasoning? All of the star power at Kentucky would allow the soft-spoken Wiggins to be a part of a unit and take the focus off of being “The Man”. Anywhere else he went to play would have the spotlight shined solely on him. At Florida State he would single-handedly be expected to make the Seminoles a tournament team and a title contender.
Although Aaron Gordon received the MVP award due to his seven dunks, Wiggins was the best player on the floor. He locked down Jabari Parker on defense and gave the number two player in the country fits on offense. Wiggins spent a lot of this night at the free throw line as Parker was unable to guard him one-on-one and had to foul him to slow him down. Wiggins scored 19 points last night. Although he wasn’t the focal point, thanks to Gordon, he was clearly head and shoulders above the rest of the kids.