Since most televised Baylor sports are on hiatus until Sunday night and the middle of the week tends to be relatively void of worthwhile programming to watch, I present to you another option tonight starting at 8:30 PM CST on ESPN: the McDonald's All-American game. In case you've never heard of it before, it's basically basketball's answer to the Army All-American game in San Antonio each year. The best and brightest seniors from the ranks of high school basketball are invited to two days of practices leading up to an exhibition game. Having a recruit play in the game is considered a fairly high honor for a college program, and the players in this game from year to year tend to be the players that go on to have extremely successful college and pro careers. The prospects invited are divided into two teams-- East and West-- and at the conclusion of the game, an MVP will be chosen. Looking at a list of the MVP from the Boys' game (there is a girls' McDonalds AA Game, too, in case you were wondering, AND IT IS ALSO TONIGHT) is basically like looking at a who's who of basketball greats.
Though the game itself started in 1977 and includes names like Patrick Ewing, Michael Jordan, Vince Carter, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwight Howard, and Kevin Durant, just to name a few, Baylor's representation in the game began much more recently. Baylor's first-ever McDonald's All-American came, Tweety Carter, was selected for the game in 2006. I clearly remember it being considered a big deal when he was named because we'd never had one before. Perry Jones III (selected in 2010) followed him both to the game and to Baylor, and this year we are lucky enough to have Baylor signee Isaiah Austin representing the green and gold tonight on the West squad. I'll put more information about Austin below the jump along with a roster from tonight's game.Johnson,
In case you want to know more about all of the recruits that will be playing tonight, Barking Carnival's JC25 posted an excellent preview of the game that you can read. It focuses mainly on Texas recruit Cameron Ridley, who has decided that he will not reclassify and will sign with the Longhorns in the second signing period in April, but also covers the rest of the major recruits (in terms of the Big XII) that will play in the game. As far as I know, Baylor doesn't have a serious chance with any of the uncommitted players on display tonight.
CORRECTION: The women's McDonald's AA Game is also tonight, but it is at 6:00 PM CST on ESPNU. Baylor has two players in the game, teammates Niya Johnson and Alexis Prince. I will add information about them below the jump, as well.
|Brandon Ashley||Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)||PF||Arizona|
|Isaiah Austin||Grace Prep (Arlington, Texas)||C||Baylor|
|Anthony Bennett||Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)||PF||Undecided|
|Yogi Ferrell||Park Tudor (Indianapolis)||PG||Indiana|
|Archie Goodwin||Sylvan Hills (Sherwood, Ark.)||SG||Kentucky|
|Grant Jerrett||La Verne Lutheran (La Verne, Calif.)||PF||Arizona|
|Shabazz Muhammad||Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)||SF||Undecided|
|Marcus Paige||Linn-Mar (Marion, Iowa)||PG||North Carolina|
|Devonta Pollard||Kemper County (De Kalb, Miss.)||PF||Undecided|
|Cameron Ridley||Bush (Fort Bend, Texas)||C||Texas|
|Marcus Smart||Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas)||SG||Oklahoma State|
|Rasheed Sulaimon||Strake Jesuit (Houston)||SG||Duke|
The links above will take you to the ESPNU profiles for each player. As you can see if you click on it, Baylor's Isaiah Austin is ranked third in the 2012 class by ESPNU behind only Nerlens Noel, who is ineligible for the McDonald's AA Game tonight because he recently reclassified into the 2012 class from the 2013 class in order to graduate early, and Shabazz Muhammad, the previously top-ranked recruit before Noel switched.
Austin is also ranked at No. 3 in the 2013 class by 247Sports.com, No. 4 by MaxPreps.com and No. 5 by both Rivals.com and Scout.com (each link should take you to his profile at the various places). He was rated as the nation’s top prospect at his position by ESPNU and 247Sports.com, No. 2 nationally by Scout.com and No. 3 by Rivals.com. He is the third consensus top-10 recruit in the last three years to sign with Baylor, joining Jones III and freshman Quincy Miller (2011).
There's quite a bit less information available at the women's game tonight, but Baylor has two players in it, both of whom will be playing for the East team.
HoopGurlz Ranking: 43
Pos: PG Ht: 5-7 HS: P.K. Yonge (Gainesville, Fla.) College: Baylor
Bottom Line: A point guard who has really developed the leadership skills as a senior.
From her profile:
Quick, athletic and strong, she can be a force on both ends of the court. With the ball in her hands she returned to the aggressive and powerful penetration that gets her to the rim almost any time she wants. Even in transition, opposing defenders had trouble stopping the ball and she created numbers situations time and again. Once in the paint she can deliver both the shot and the pass but occasionally forces one or the other rather than taking the easy choice. She's physical enough to finish among the bigs and took more than her share of hits leading to multiple trips to the line. When she digs in defensively, she can be a point guard's worst nightmare. She has the ability to turn the ball and recover again and again in the backcourt. Off the ball she anticipates well and often comes up with the pick leading to easy transition baskets. When Johnson plays the way she did last week she's among the elite in the 2012 class.
HoopGurlz Ranking: 16
Pos: W Ht: 6-1 HS: Edgewater (Orlando, Fla.) College: Baylor
Bottom Line: A long wing player with a deadly mid-range jumper and consistent stroke on 3-pointers.
From her profile:
If you're looking for the "new age" perimeter player this is your best example. Combining size and athleticism with smooth, fluid play makes her a strong contributor at both ends. Her ballhandling and passing skills allow her to exploit bigger defenders while her size and physical skills take advantage of those of lesser physical stature. The biggest and most obvious speed bump in her game is a tremendous lack of consistency. When at her best she's on par with almost any player in the class. At other times it's not that she play poorly, but more that she has a tendency to disappear.