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April 1, 2013
Breaking down the East at Mickey D's
Chicago-- The 2013 McDonald's All-American Game festivities got off to a strong start on Monday. The East and West teams had closed workouts on Sunday, but their Monday morning practice was the first open to the media and family, and big names such as Andrew Wiggins, Aaron Gordon, Julius Randle and Jabari Parker didn't disappoint.
Here's a look at how each of the players on the East looked during Monday's action.
Monday's breakdown of the East team
Anthony Barber: Cat was generally solid during the Monday morning workout. The N.C. State-bound point guard is very fast, and he's gotten stronger. The East's bigs are outstanding, and Barber did a good job of keeping them happy. On defense, he did a good job of staying in front of guys.
Keith Frazier: The shooting guard from Dallas' play was one of the most pleasant surprises of the day. He was feeling it from deep and has legitimate range to the NBA 3-point line. He's bigger than we realized and likely pushing 6-foot-6. There is no question he's a five-star talent.
Isaiah Hicks: It was a good day for Hicks. The North Carolina-bound power forward is extremely athletic but not refined. At least, not in this setting on Monday. He can really sprint the floor, has good body control and appears to be an improved rebounder. The most important thing for him is getting stronger.
Kasey Hill: Similar to Cat Barber, Hill seemed mostly focused on getting the ball to his bigs. You can see his quickness, but Hill wasn't looking for his shot or forcing any action on Monday.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson: You can always count on a big effort from the Chester, Pa., product. At 6-foot-7, he looks to be caught between being a three and a four in this setting. Did hit a couple of jumpers, but his bread and butter is going at the rim and working the glass.
Demetrius Jackson: Physically, Jackson looks like he could play strong safety next year at Notre Dame. His scouting report would be similar to the other East PGs on Monday: solid, but deferred to the bigs.
Dakari Johnson: The 6-foot-11 Johnson gets it. He's big, he's strong and he plays terrific positional defense in the post. He's not a high flyer or speed merchant, but he is smart, has good touch around the rim and plays hard. A true back-to-the-basket player.
Kennedy Meeks: There's no way around it, Meeks struggled on Monday. Playing against the other thoroughbred big men on the East, Meeks lagged behind and seemed to want to hang on the perimeter to shoot jumpers even though he wasn't dialed in with his shot.
Julius Randle: At times Randle was a little too quick to settle for deep jumpers, but overall he was very good. Randle is in incredible shape, given the layoff he had for a broken foot, and looks more explosive than ever. He's a hard guy to put in a box because his game is outside of it. His passing is underrated.
Wayne Selden: Selden looks like he hit the genetic lottery. The Kansas-bound wing is tough and athletic, and he plays with power on the wing. Selden was under control while playing a man's game and thriving in pick and roll. He says the KU coaches want him to be a defensive stopper and slasher. There's no doubt he'll be getting bumped to five-star and move up the rankings.
Noah Vonleh: The Indiana signee was solid on Monday. At times he'll get himself into trouble by over-dribbling, and his game is that of a tweener. He used his length to be a factor on the glass and was fine playing physically.
Chris Walker: Outside of Aaron Gordon and Andrew Wiggins, the 6-foot-10 Walker could be the most athletic player in the game. Walker was flying from one end of the floor to another, and he covers a lot of territory as a rebounder thanks to his length and elasticity. Walker hit a few elbow jumpers and played like a guy who should be in the conversation for top five in the class of 2013.
Andrew Wiggins: A few times during the high school season, Wiggins was relatively quiet. Best guess is that he was simply bored. The nation's No. 1 player sure looks the part in Chicago. He's truly a freaky athlete, and despite being on the lean side he can play physically. He's a tough guy to compare, but when he fills out you could see him having some Dominique Wilkins to him. For good measure, Wiggins' jumper looked the best it has in some time.
We will speak with him on Tuesday, but we spent time asking some of his teammates where they thought he was going. From the sounds of it, he's not giving any hints to the other players.