In what was a surprisingly competitive game (most all-star games aren’t) the nation’s top senior, 6’9 Missouri commit, Michael Porter solidified that ranking with a 17-point, and 9-rebound MVP-earning effort to lead the West to a 109-107 victory over the East in the 2017 McDonald’s All-American Game. Prompting our good friend, Clark Francis, of the HoopScooponline.com to comment:
“One of the hallmarks of being a great player is coming up big at crunch time and in big games and this obviously has been the case with 6’9 Michael Porter from Seattle (Nathan Hale) WA,” Francis remarked. “He proved it again as he took home McDonald’s All-American Game MVP honors while leading the West Team to a victory over the East Team last night at the United Center.”
Enough said, but Francis reminded us that Porter has been the one dominant player at every venue he was involved with on a national level this past year, including the Nike EYBL and Pangos All-American Camp where he proved head to head that he was the nation’s top talent. He also put up 36 points in a signature win for his Nathan Hale squad over Oak Hill Academy at the Hoophall Classic in route to their undefeated season and No.1 team ranking nationally. Make no mistake about it, the McDonald’s Game just added the exclamation point to his title of “Best in Class!” Where he will reside as we finalize our final look at the Class of 2017 over the weekend…stay tuned for that!
But, He wasn’t the only talent to shine in Chicago, as our No.3 rated senior, 6’11 Mohamed Bamba, the nation’s top rated unsigned senior was equally as impressive for the East scoring 17 points on 7 of 10 shooting from the floor, grabbed 5 boards and blocked 4 shots. Had his squad won, he might have taken MVP honors from Porter for the game. These two were clearly the two talents who stood out for their respective squads.
But, as is the case in all-star venues that game is about the players, and here is a look at who fared well and solidify their national positions in our eyes.
One player who seems to absolutely refuse to accept the fact that to be number one you have to do what you do best, is most likely our No.2 rated senior in the final analysis, 7’0 power man, DeAndre Ayton from Phoenix, AZ Hillcrest, who finished with 8 points, 11 boards and 3 steals. He, unlike Porter, is a true low block monster who when he stays inside the 12-foot arc is clearly a dominant force, but unfortunately he tends to float to the perimeter in hopes of developing a Karl Towns type game, which is still a work in progress! He has improved away from the hoop, but it is still a long way from becoming a strength that time might see it become. He is headed to Arizona and will be the best low post talent that the ‘Cats have recruited in the Sean Miller era.
Another player who impressed us and could break into the top ten in the final rankings was 6’8 Kevin Knox from Tampa, FL Catholic. This versatile and unsigned talent, finished with 15 points on 7 of 11 shooting and showed he has the strength, ball skills, and athleticism to play either forward spot in college. His counterpart for the West, 6’10 combo forward 6’10 Billy Preston from Mouth of Wilson, VA Oak Hill (transferred to Lawrence, KS) had 10 points three rebounds, 4-8 field goals and 2-2 3-pointers. He has all the tools, but needs to step it up at times on glass and defensive end.
Two other big men who helped themselves with their play in Chicago, one was 6’11 Western Kentucky signee Mitchell Robinson who finished with 14 points hitting 7 of 9 shots from the floor. He was stellar on defense, altering shots and using surprisingly quick feet to get position and deny the post pass and take away angles from opposing post players.
The other was 6’11 Brandon McCoy from San Diego, CA Cathedral Catholic who finished with 13 points, 7 boards, 4 steals and had the game saving block on Collin Sexton of Mableton, GA Pebblebrook to preserve the win or the West.
Another player for the West that surprised a number of pundits with his play was 6’8 wing man Troy Brown from Las Vegas, NV Centennial, who had 12 points, seven rebounds, two steals, on 5 of 9 shooting from the field. He will be a force from day one at Oregon. He could challenge DeAndre Ayton for Frosh of Year honors next season with the Ducks! He was joined by 6’6 USC commit, Charles O’Bannon from Las Vegas Bishop Gorman who added 10 points to give the West an added dimension on the perimeter all night long that the East didn’t seem to have.
The “Morgan Wooten National Player of the Year” award went to 6’9 Wendell Carter (a top five prospect in our eyes, but not POY, which belongs to Porter) struggled at times versus the size of the West inside, but did finish with 10 points and five rebounds. He is a tremendous rebounder and will be a force in college on the glass for the Duke Blue Devils.
In the back court, the guy who ran the show and made the motor run for the West was 6’3 Jaylen Hand who finished with 14 points, three assists and 2 steals. He did a good job handling the pressure he received from the East’s Quade Green and Collin Sexton. He will be a solid lead guard from day one at UCLA. Four talented guards, who rate among the top fifteen nationally, struggled to show the offensive brilliance we have seen form them in the past, as 6’3 Trae Young and 6’1 Quade Green each scored 9 points, but did a good job handing out 5 and 7 assists respectively, while Trevon Duval and Collin Sexton added 8 each for their squads. Sexton ties Green with 7 assists, while Duval added 5 dimes of his own.
The overall consensus of those in attendance was that Sexton, despite not scoring like we have seen in the past, could be the top guard in the class!
Here’s a look at the rest of the talent and how they fared at the United Center –
6’8 Kris Wilkes from Indianapolis, IN North Central had eight points, and 3-6 field goals.
6’5 Gary Trent from Napa, CA Prolific Prep had seven points, 3-11 field goals.
6’7 P.J. Washington from Henderson, NV Findlay Prep had seven points five rebounds, three steals, and 3-5 field goals.
6’4 Lonnie Walker from Reading, PA H.S. had seven points, two assists, one steal, 3-6 field goals.
6’11 Jaren Jackson from La Porte, IN La Lumiere had five points, three rebounds, and 1-2 field goals.
6’7 Brian Bowen from La Porte , IN La Lumiere had three points, 1-6 field goals.
6’11 Nick Richards from Elizabeth, NJ The Patrick School had two points, four rebounds, two blocks.
6’8 Jarred Vanderbilt from Houston, TX Victory Prep had two points, six rebounds, and 1-2 field goals.
6’5 M.J. Walker from Jonesboro, GA H.S. had one point, four assists, four rebounds, 0-3 field goals.
We will cover the Jordan Brand and Ball is Life All-Star games this spring…watch for our final rankings of the Class of 2017 net week, right here at TheBasketballChannel.net