On the eve of the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16, the best high school players in America who hope to be on a similar stage next season convened in Atlanta for the annual McDonald's All-American Game. The East jumped out to an early lead over the West, and wound up cruising to a 115-100 victory.
The top unsigned senior in the country, Cole Anthony, led the way for the East team with 14 points, five rebounds and seven assists in an MVP performance. Teammate's Precious Achiuwa and Isaiah Stewart outscored him with 22 points and 16, respectively, but Anthony's all-around impact on both ends of the floor along with his scoring and willingness to involve others stood out among the rest.
For the West, five players finished in double figures in scoring led by Kentucky signee Tyrese Maxey, Memphis signee James Wiseman and Villanova signee Jeremiah Earl-Robinson who each scored 13 points. West Virginia signee Oscar Tshiebwe scored 12 points and grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds.
MVP: Cole Anthony
The top-rated unsigned player in the 2019 class had himself a day. When he wasn't gaining new fans at Wake Forest, Georgetown, North Carolina, Oregon and Notre Dame -- his current top five as he announced during the game -- he was dishing out dimes and getting to the rack with ease. Anthony is a smooth athlete who has a chance to be a star as a lead guard at the college level.
His recruitment is winding down and he says a final decision will come down to the talent around him and the coach in place. "We're getting very close," Anthony said on ESPN. "I want to see what talent I have around me, and who can help me reach the Final Four as a freshman."
North Carolina is the 247Sports crystal ball favorite to land Anthony as he nears a decision, with 80 percent of experts predicting he picks the Tar Heels.
Best dunk: Isaiah Stewart
The flash of Washington pledge Isaiah Stewart in this game was jarring. He was all over the court and made his presence felt on both ends. He finished with 16 points on an efficient 8 of 11 shooting, and added a block, a steal and five rebounds for good measure. Oh, and about the best dunk:
Most flashy player: Tyrese Maxey
Big Blue Nation is in for a treat come 2019 when five-star guard Tyrese Maxey arrives in Lexington. He has the pull up game, the handles, the whole package, and in 19 minutes he flashed a little of everything including an NBA-range 3-pointer on a pull up from the logo.
Maxey had 13 points on 5 of 10 shooting and made three of his six shots from long range.
Best defensive sequence
Yes, even in All-Star games, defense is played. (OK, not particularly well, but whatever.) Nonetheless, this defensive sequence was tremendous. Georgia signee Anthony Edwards jumped the passing lane at the top of the key, and while he didn't come up with the ball, he caused enough chaos in the sequence to find himself an open jam in transition.
High scorer: Precious Achiuwa
The thirst for more information on Precious Achiuwa's recruitment will only become more difficult to quench after his stellar performance on Wednesday. He led all scorers with 22 points (and also led all players in shot attempts with 20), while adding nine rebounds and one steal.
As for where the 6-9 forward is going to land, it's anyone's guess right now -- including his own.
"My recruitment is still open, we're just going to go look at what's the best option for me, that's going to benefit me as a player," he told 247Sports insider Evan Daniels this week. "And whatever program that is and wherever I go, I hope to win, so it's a combination of all of that."
He's taken official visits to Kansas and North Carolina and is expected to take a few more before an expected May commitment.
Most ready to contribute: Oscar Tshiebwe
West Virginia's swoon under Bob Huggins won't last long. After a last-place finish in the Big 12 standings, 2019-2020 figures to be a bounce back season in part because of the arrival of one of the best rebounders in the class in five-star Oscar Tshiebwe. He grabbed 10 boards -- including four on the offense glass-- while adding 12 points on 5 of 7 shooting. He's going to be a plug and play post presence for the Mountaineers from day one.