Last week, Where Are They Now? covered the players whose potential was once untapped as McDonald’s All-Americans. With an abundance of talent that took part in such a game, it’s only fair that we expand our search to other great McDonald’s All-American Game alumni.
So Where Are They Now?
1. Malik Hairston
In 2004, Malik Hairston was one of the most prolific recruits in the nation. He was a Top 10 player per all major recruiting sights and made his way into the McDonald’s All-American game as a starter who went toe-to-toe with current Toronto Raptors star Rudy Gay.
Hairston finished with 11 points, three rebounds, three assists and a steal in 22 minutes. This set the stage for Hairston to attend the University of Oregon, where he started all but two games in four seasons.
In that time, he tallied 1,644 points, 598 rebounds and 145 3-point field goals.
Hairston’s most significant moment came during the 2006-07 season, as he averaged 12.3 points and 6.3 rebounds during the NCAA Tournament. His contributions led the Oregon Ducks to their fourth Elite Eight appearance in school history.
To put it simply, Hairston ended up being one of the most productive players in Oregon’s history.
During the 2008 NBA Draft, Hairston was selected by the Phoenix Suns with the 48th overall pick. He was soon thereafter traded to the San Antonio Spurs, where he spent the first two years of his professional career.
While splitting time with the Austin Toros of the NBA D-League, Hairston played 62 games for the Spurs and shot 51.2 percent from the field in that time. Unfortunately, his NBA career did not go as planned and Hairston opted to move overseas.
From there, Hairston signed with Montepaschi Siena of the Italian League and Euroleague. He topped double-digit scoring in year two and shot a high percentage from beyond the arc during Italian League play.
Since then, Hairston has joined Olimpia Milano and is in the second year of his tenure with the team. He’s scored in double-figures in Italian League and Euroleague play in every season with the team.
This former high school star has made the leap to Europe in impressive fashion.
2. Jai Lucas
The 2007 McDonald’s All-American Game was one of the deepest in the history of the exhibition event. Countless future NBA players were on the court, including Derrick Rose, James Harden, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, O.J. Mayo, Eric Gordon, Michael Beasley, J.J. Hickson, Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith.
Along with this stacked class of prep stars was a 5’10″ point guard named Jai Lucas.
Lucas, a product of the famed Lucas family, finished the McDonald’s All-American Game with eight points, three assists and a steal in 15 minutes. This set the stage for what some believed would be a superb career with the Florida Gators.
Despite leading the Gators in 3-point field goal percentage, Lucas opted to transfer in 2008 to join the Texas Longhorns. Unfortunately, Lucas would see minimal run upon arriving to Texas.
After proving to be one of the nation’s sharpshooters in 2012-13, Lucas disappeared the following two seasons—so where is he now?
During the Summer of 2011, Lucas went undrafted. He proceeded to go overseas to play for BK Valmiera of the Latvian Basketball League and Baltic Basketball League. In that time, Lucas was wildly successful, averaging 14.3 points and 4.0 assists in BLB play, as well as 16.7 points and 4.5 assists in LBL action.
This has led to Lucas returning to the U.S., as he’s played for three NBA D-League teams in 2012-13 alone. In that time, he’s averaging 6.9 points and 2.4 assists in 19.2 minutes of action, and he will appear in the playoffs for the Canton Charge. At 24, it is not for him to have a solid career that eventually lands him in the NBA.
3. Vernon Macklin
Vernon Macklin was a 2006 McDonald’s All-American with some of the brightest college basketball stars of our time. That includes Kevin Durant, Greg Oden, Jon Scheyer, Ty Lawson, Brook and Robin Lopez, Mike Conley Jr., Thaddeus Young, Wayne Ellington and Gerald Henderson, to name a few.
During the All-American Game, Macklin tallied six points, 10 rebounds, two assists and a steal on a perfect 3-for-3 shooting—he did so while being defended by the likes of Brook Lopez, Robin Lopez and Spencer Hawes.
This set the stage for what many believed would be a magnificent career while attending Georgetown University. After two years of experiencing limited playing time, however, the five-star recruit transferred to play for the Florida Gators.
That proved to be a brilliant decision, as Macklin proceeded to average double-figure scoring in both of the seasons he attended Florida. That includes 2011, when Macklin scored 25 points during an Elite Eight battle with Butler on 11-of-14 shooting—his final collegiate performance.
How’s that for going out in style?
In 2011, Macklin was selected 52nd overall by the Detroit Pistons. Macklin played 23 games for Detroit, playing at a high level but never managing to receive consistent playing time in the process.
During a 10-game stint with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA D-League, Macklin averaged 14.5 points and 14.3 rebounds per contest. This was enough to build his profile internationally, as he signed with Royal Hali Gaziantep, spending three months in Turkey.
Since then, Macklin has returned to the D-League to continue performing at the high level. With averages of 14.6 points and 5.6 rebounds in 22 games, Macklin against built up his profile and ended up signing with Barangay Ginebra San Miguel of the Philippines Basketball League.
Thus far, he’s averaging over 13 points per game and continuing to prove his worth as a promising big man with prime time capabilities.
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