When the McDonald’s All-American Game tips off March 28 at the United Center in Chicago (ESPN, 9:30 p.m.), basketball fans will get to watch 24 future stars before they head off to college.
Of course, one of the more intriguing angles to this year’s game is that several of the players selected this past week have yet to pick a school, which ramps up the excitement leading into the game.
Below are the SheridanHoops.com Top 5 uncommitted senior prep stars.
What do they all have in common? They’re all considering Kentucky and head coach John Calipari.
1. Nerlens Noel
The 6-foot-10 Noel out of the Tilton (N.H.) School was not selected for the McDonald’s game because he was considered a fifth-year player until just recently, and such players are not eligible for the game. Still, as we documented in last week’s column, Noel is a true program-changer and slots in as the potential No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.
Considering: Syracuse, Kentucky, Providence, UConn, Georgetown, North Carolina, Duke, Florida
2. Shabazz Muhammad
The 6-6 small forward from Las Vegas Bishop Gorman is the top uncommitted player in the McDonald’s Game and says he’s excited about following in the footsteps of other great McDonald’s All-Americans like LeBron James and Kevin Durant. Muhammad says he likely won’t pick a school until April, meaning the Shabazz Sweepstakes will remain in a fever pitch for at least another six weeks or so.
“I don’t think I’m that close at all,” he told ESPNU. “I really haven’t been looking at it. Just been working on this season for high school, but when I get down to it it’s going to be really stressful for me. But I’m just going to talk to my family and talk it over with them.”
Considering: Kentucky, Duke, Arizona, UCLA, UNLV, Kansas
3. Anthony Bennett
A 6-7 forward from Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep, Bennett is one of many Canadians making waves in the pro, college and prep ranks. Following in the footsteps of Steve Nash, Canadian forward Tristan Thompson was selected No. 4 in last year’s NBA Draft and Canadian guard Cory Joseph went No. 29 to the Spurs. Joseph and Texas freshman guard Myck Kabongo, another Canuck, both attended Findlay Prep, and Bennett is the latest to attend the prep powerhouse.
Considering: Kentucky, UNLV, Washington, Oregon, Florida
4. Tony Parker
A mobile 6-9 big man with tremendous hands and feet, Parker has kept his recruitment close to the vest in recent weeks. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has expressed strong interest in Parker, as has UCLA coach Ben Howland, who hopes to pair him in a class that includes 6-9 point guard Kyle Anderson, another McDonald’s All-American from St. Anthony, and hopefully Muhammad, too.
Considering: Duke, Ohio State, UCLA, Kentucky
5. Amile Jefferson
The 6-8 Jefferson is expected to announce his college choice once his high school season at Philly Friends Central ends, perhaps this coming week. Duke is considered the favorite for Jefferson, a hybrid forward who ultimately could play on the wing, but N.C. State and hometown favorite Villanova are hanging tough.
Considering: Duke, N.C. State, Kentucky, Ohio State, Villanova, UConn