Posted by Jeff Borzello
The McDonald’s All-American game, the most prestigious of the annual high school all-star games, just announced its selections and, not surprisingly, there are some interesting inclusions.
To start, I’m befuddled as to how Marshall Plumlee made the team. I might be lower on Plumlee than most people, as I don’t have him in the top-100, but I’ve never seen him ranked in the top-24 players in the country. He’s nowhere near as good as either of his brothers, and does not have much of an offensive skill set right now. Being selected to a game like this will set unnecessarily high expectations for him at Duke.
Others players whose inclusion I question include Chane Behanan, P.J. Hairston, Johnny O’Bryant and Amir Williams. Personally, I don’t believe Rakeem Christmas is a top-24 player, but it’s tough to leave out someone with his shot-blocking ability. Behanan has been playing great for the past several months, but I’m not sure he’s proven enough to be selected. O’Bryant and Williams have deteriorated over the past couple of years, while Hairston has developed a reputation as something of a ball-hog.
Now, who should have replaced these players?
The player with the biggest beef is Jabari Brown, one of the top scorers in the country. He lit it up on the AAU circuit last summer and has continued to cement his top-15 status while playing out in California.
His teammate on the Oakland Soldiers, Josiah Turner, also could make a case for being selected. One of the top point guards in the country, Turner’s transfer to Quality Education Academy in the middle of the season could have played a part in him being left off.
Yet another Oakland Soldiers guard was snubbed as well. Nick Johnson is arguably the best dunker in the class besides Deuce Bello and has also proven himself as a lockdown defender. He has an addictive personality and would have been perfect for the game.
I.C. Norcom (Va.) forward Dorian Finney-Smith has turned heads in a major way since leaping onto the scene at Boo Williams last April. Moreover, he has received rave reviews for his performance during the season, helping lead Norcom to a top-five national ranking.
Arkansas-signee B.J. Young was talented enough to make the team, but he has had academic problems throughout his high school career – and character is supposed to play a factor.
Lastly, the flashy Tony Wroten has seen his ranking drop over the last couple of years, but he is still one of the best passers and playmakers in the class. Throwing him into the spotlight in a game like this would be a joy to watch.
As with every all-star game, there were questionable decisions regarding who is in and who is out. Despite that, though, the McDonald’s All-American game will still provide a chance for college hoops fans to see the next crop of stars before they really blow up.
Photo: Indy Star