As usual the McDonald’s All-American Game had its share of dunks and explosive athletic plays. The West All-Americans ended up prevailing behind a three pointer by Brandon Knight, but it was Jared Sullinger and Harrison Barnes that came away as the game MVP’s.
Kyrie Irving: it is pretty safe to say that the Duke Blue Devils won’t have any issues at the point guard position next season. The New Jersey standout was on top of his game all week in Columbus and that carried over to the game. He was extremely efficient, and did everything a coach could want out of a point guard. He is slick with the ball in his hands, a good passer, and has a flair for the spectacular while also taking care of the ordinary. As far as guards go, Irving was as good as it gets.
Jared Sullinger: The big fella is just so posed down low with the ball and extremely fundamental. While not an explosive athlete like some of his peers, Sullinger showed off his complete game. He started off his scoring by hitting a three, then went to work down low. Also his foul shooting was excellent. As always Sullinger was good on the glass. He looked like a day one impact guy with his performance.
C.J. Leslie: Overall it was an interesting week for Leslie, but on Wednesday night he showed a lot of what makes him so intriguing. Leslie had a few impressive shot blocks, he attacked the glass relentlessly, and also used his length and athleticism to score down low. When aggressive he is tough to match up with, and on Wednesday that was the case.
Tobias Harris: Unfortunately Harris broke his toe, and wasn’t able to finish out the game, but when on the floor he was extremely impressive. The face up forward scored inside and out, and also got on the glass rebounding. Beyond that he showed his tremendous feel for the game with excellent passing. His skill set is off the charts.
Reggie Bullock: Bullock isn’t someone who thrives in an all-star game setting, but he got hot on Wednesday. After hitting a shot from deep, he crashed the boards, and also threw several nice outlet passes to start the break. There is no doubt he can shoot, and to his credit he lets the game come to him, but when he does everything is when he stands out, and he did more than just shoot with the bright lights on.
Josh Selby: He wasn’t as dominant during the game as he was during the practices and scrimmage, but still he was fairly good on Wednesday. Selby scored on his usual array of shots, and also used his athleticism to get to the rim. Beyond that Selby does defend very well, and at the next level he has the potential to be a lockdown type of guy. While he played out of control at times, he did a good job of not gunning, and being a lead guard.
Perry Jones: The game was a microcosm of Jones’ career. He did one or two things to wow you, but then disappears for long stretches. Jones hit a face up jumper, had some open dunks, and had a nice shot block, though it was incorrectly called goal tending, but other than that he was largely invisible. The tools are there, but soon he the production has to match the potential.
Kendall Marshall: All-star games aren’t where Marshall is going to show his stuff because he is so unselfish. Marshall is never going to be a big scorer, but he had several nice passes that either led directly to buckets, or set up a bucket off of another pass. He is the consummate floor general who did his best to simply fit in.
Deshaun Thomas: The final box score looked good for Thomas, 11 points and seven rebounds, but he wasn’t efficient at all. He struggled mightily from the field, and also didn’t get it going down low against bigger defensive players. Thomas looked like a power forward with some three point range. Obviously it wasn’t his best day, but in the end he did get buckets.
Jelan Kendrick: Kendrick was the last player to get in for the East team, and actually played the fewest minutes, so it was tough to get a good feel for his game. He did have one nice baseline drive for a dunk, but other than that he was largely not heard from. Kendrick has the natural tools, but he just didn’t get an opportunity to do much on Wednesday.
Joe Jackson: After getting some criticism for not passing earlier in the week, Jackson was unselfish during the big game. He had a few nice passes that led to buckets, and also one hoop to crack the scorebook. Not a huge game, and not much to go on, but definitely a step in the right direction for the floor general.
Jayvaughn Pinkston: It was a tough end to a tough week. Pinkston never got into rhythm during the game, and finished 2-8 from the floor and really struggled at times. He is an undersized four who is at his best in the half court, and this was a full court game. Pinkston definitely will fill a role, but this wasn’t his finest hour.
Harrison Barnes: The steady senior did it all for the West squad. He finished with 18 points, and scored in a variety of ways. As usual in an all-star game he got a few cheap points on dunks, but also he hit a three, scored off the dribble, and also was a facilitator for his teammates. Add in that Barnes proved he could guard multiple positions, and he came home with the MVP trophy for a reason.
Terrence Jones: Quietly Jones managed to have an excellent game. He didn’t rebound like maybe you would have liked out of a power forward, but he is active down low, can block shots, and just knows how to score. With his body and athleticism, there just aren’t many matchups for Jones, and he showed what he is capable of with his performance.
Fabrico de Melo: The Brazilian didn’t put up a ton of points, but he did everything else for his team. He blocked shots, made excellent passes, ran the floor, played defense, and overall was a major factor on the game. He will need to get stronger in college, but still he played excellent and did all the little things down low to help the West.
Tristan Thompson: It was a solid and efficient game for the Texas bound big man. Thompson looked to have more bounce off the floor than earlier this season, and finished around the rim well. Also with his length he altered shots, and was simply a big problem inside the paint. When he plays hard and active like this, he can make things very difficult on defenders.
Jereme Richmond: In a game where efficiency can often times be thrown away for the sake of a highlight, Richmond showed how important it is. He only took seven shots, finished with 11 points, and was just solid and let the game come to him. As usual he scored mostly for the mid-range, and didn’t have the flash and dash to him, but at the end of the day Richmond just gets buckets and puts up numbers.
Patric Young: The only way to describe him is “animal”. Young pulled in nine rebounds, and as usual did damage around and above the rim. He just shows a knack for knowing how to get rebounds, and that is something that can’t be taught. Add in his athleticism, and Young put on a good performance. Now he must improve his skill level.
Doron Lamb: It was a typical game for Lamb. He made shots, handled the ball well enough, and did what he could do to help out. Uncharacteristically Lamb didn’t try much from the outside, but in that mid-range he showed how he can be so lethal. His space dribble is second to none in the class, and once his feet are set, it always looks like it is going in.
Cory Joseph: Joseph just has a calm to him that was evident. Even with the game being helter skelter, Joseph seemed to always be in control, and always playing at his pace. That quality in a floor general is great. Jones’ lone bucket of the evening was an impressive looking shot from the perimeter in which he created space for himself. More than scoring, it was the way that he controlled the flow of the game when in that was impressive.
Josh Smith: It is disappointing that Smith came into the game so out of shape. He had a nice spin for a bucket, ran the floor, showed his good hands, and rebounded the ball in his area. The problem was, he also was a liability on defense because he couldn’t move as well as normal, he wasn’t a factor blocking or altering shots. If Smith works his way back into shape, the talent is clearly there to be very good for a very long time.
Ray McCallum: McCallum couldn’t buy a bucket from the outside, but the rest of his game looked good as usual. The son of a coach, McCallum really has a great idea of how to play, and dished off a trio of impressive assists. Also he controls the game with his intelligence, and always seems to know how to make things happen. He isn’t super explosive off the bounce in terms of blowing by people, but he is steady and smooth as a ball handler who finds a way to get into the lane.
Brandon Knight: Knight did hit the game winner, and that was a good ending for him, but everything that came before that just didn’t work. Knight’s shot was off, and he seemed to get frustrated which led to several poor shots. The athleticism, quickness, and explosiveness are all still there, but he fell in love with his jump shot and that took away from his overall game.
Keith Appling: Appling had a game that quite honestly wasn’t his best. He was only 4-15 from the floor, and do too much else besides shoot from deep. Appling is a very good athlete, and a capable ball handler, but he settled a lot on Wednesday, and didn’t show off everything he is capable of doing.