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VIDEO: McDonald’s Practice Montage & Standout Players

Posted on 31. Mar, 2010 by Ryan Miller in High School, Media, Tournaments, Videos

The McDonald's All-American Game is as much about the week leading up to the game as it is the game itself.  The players partcipating hail from all over North America, and thus, its a unique opportunity for them to bond with their fellow All-Americans on and off the court.   On the court, this select group of young men are fortunate enough to spend the week learning from some of the best in the business.  Whether it's learning new stretches from strength and conditioning guru Alan Stein, or learning to manage the exposure from LeBron's former coach, Dru Joyce, it's an experience of a lifetime. 




Words by Nolan Shulman

Video by Ryan Miller


The week of practice was a terrific opportunity to evaluate some of the best this continent has to offer.  Whether it be recruiting analysts such as myself, or NBA scouts like Larry Bird and Chris Wallace, the players were monitored closely and for the most part did an outstanding job.

 Here's a look at who stood out !!!

Perry Jones, Duncanville (Baylor)

Nobody has ever questioned Perry as a talent.  It's his motor that has left some wondering whether he'll ever channel that talent and consistantly get after it, to become the superstar he's capable of.  This week he's erased some of that doubt, and Perry left quite an impression on NBA scouts in the gym.  He is so long and so talented that it's next to impossible not to let your mind drift into what could be.  He knocked down his jumpers, ran the floor better than anyone else in practice, attacked the rim, and most importantly never let up.  I know I for one went from a doubter to thinking he could be an NBA all-star one day. 

Tobias Harris, Half Hollow Hills West (Tennesssee)

How many times can I write about Tobias' versatility?  At least one more !!! The guy can do everything you want on the basketball floor. In my opinion he may have emerged as the best player in this class.  Scottie Pippen Jr. is the best point forward prospect, both on the high school and college level.  He shoots, passes, scores on the baseline, handles, works hard…..etc.  Not much left to be said.  He's been the best all week.  Only knock on him was his three-point contest effort (he has little experience shooting off a rack so we won't hold it against him).   

C.J. Leslie, Word of God (Uncommitted)

A guy who makes his living in transition, C.J. proved that on the break, he's absolutely unguardable.  I spent the morning yesterday watching the West team go through workouts and scrimmage, but everytime I looked over to the other court, there was C.J. finishing with authority.  He's not a one trick pony though.  C.J. is effective in the half court as well.  He doesn't have many low post moves to speak of, but he's active on the glass, sets great screens, and never stops moving.  If he can develop his back to the basket game, he'd be one of the two or three most completes forwards in this class.  Limitless upside.   

Josh Selby, Lake Clifton (Uncommitted)

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about Josh Selby is his toughness.  He's like a little bulldozer on the floor.  He can get to the rim anytime he wants (and he always seems to want to), plays hard at all times, and takes every second on the floor personally.  I love that in a player.  When you don't have to coach desire, it makes it a heck of a lot easier to get guys to execute.  There's no doubt he has the athleticism to get it done on any level, and he made sure there were no doubters by winning the dunk competition at Powerade Jam Fest.   He also shot the ball well, played unselfish, and made sure their was little doubt amongst NBA scouts, that he's got the talent to possibly be a one and done player.

Tristan Thompson, Findlay Prep (Texas)

Tristan's body was the first thing that stood out for me this week.  He looks to have come into McDonald's week in tremendous shape.  Not only did he look more fit, but he also played more aggressive.  He dunked everything he touched and attacked anyone who guarded him.  He's always had that type of capabiity, it's been his lapses in energy that needed work.  Not this week.  Tristan played hard and made an impact the entire time he was on the floor this week.  No one in the gym played harder, and noone in the gym was more effective. 

Cory Joseph, Findlay Prep (Uncommitted)

Speed has been the one area which has made Cory stand out among the best this week.  There isn't a player in the building who can keep Cory in front of them.  He can break anyone down off the dribble and has a tremendous mid range game; something which is rare in high school basketball players these days.  He's already known as a great winner, great defender, and great shooter, so scouts were really focused on his ability to run half court sets.  He passed with flying colors, doing an excellent job communicating, as well as playing mistake free, pass first basketball. 

Ray McCallum, Detroit Country Day (Uncommitted)

Ray came into this week with the opposite scouting report from Cory Joseph.  He's known as an outstanding offensive orchestrator with mediocre hops, and just an average jump shot.  His slam dunk contest efforts and practice dunks put to rest the talk about his bounce, and he actually shot the ball really well all week.  No player in this class raised their stock more in Columbus. 

Fab Melo, Sagemont Upper School (Syracuse)

Fab told me he has shed 25 pounds since December and it certainly showed.  He looks to be in tremendous shape and it was evident in the way he ran the floor.  Not only does Fab project as an outstanding prospect protecting the rim, but he also posseses a jump shot, hook shot, and ball handling skills almost never seen on a legit 7-footer.  In workouts Fab has always been impressive, but his court awareness and his understanding of spacing and defensive rotations are really starting to come around as well.  3 months ago, I didn't feel Fab would be able to be special as a freshman.  I thought he had too far to grow along the learning curve to make a dramatic impact in the Big East.  After watching him with some of the best high school players on the planet this week, I'd say I was dead wrong.  He may not be ready to average 20 and 10, but his presence in the 2-3 zone is going to be a major bonus for the cuse's "shut it down" movement.  This was the best I've ever seen Fab play. 

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