The McDonald’s All-American Game plays host to the biggest names in high school basketball. From Shaq in ’89, to Emmanuel Mudiay in 2014, the teams are chock-full of talent, and many of the athletes go on to become pros. Catch the game on ESPN at 7:30 ET, March 30. Here are a few notable Eastbay cover athletes who have participated in the annual showdown.
NOTABLE PAST PARTICIPANTS
Kevin Durant (2006) — Before he went on to become the first-ever freshman to win the Naismith Player of the Year, KD earned himself the McDonald’s AA Game MVP with 25 points, some monster dunks, and a “what are those?” moment.
LeBron James (2003) — Easily one of the greatest high school basketball players of all-time, LeBron was more physically imposing than your typical high school athlete. His build gave way to his explosiveness, which, coupled with his on-court IQ, led him to winning the Mr. Basketball USA award his junior year. He led his team to an undefeated season the following year despite a difficult national schedule.
Derrick Rose (2007) — Rose was part of the supercharged 2007 class (and quite possibly the most talented class ever) that included James Harden, Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon, Michael Beasley, Kevin Love, and Jerryd Bayless. And those were the guys that were just on his team! Rose’s high school highlight came when he scored 28 points, dished nine assists, and grabbed eight boards on an ESPN-televised game over Brandon Jennings’ undefeated Oak Hill.
Anthony Davis (2011) — In basketball lore, it is well known that Davis grew seven inches between his junior and senior year. He maintained his speed, ball-handling skills, and athletic ability, but with his newfound height, he became utterly dominant around the rim. In 2011, Davis raised scouts’ brows (and elevated the branding of his own) with 14 rebounds during a double-double performance in the McDonald’s AA Game. He went on to become the No. 1 overall NBA draft pick the following year.
Josh Jackson (3rd — ESPN Top 100): Hailing from Napa, Cal., the 6-foot-7 shooting guard is the complete package. He’s got it all: from quickness and athletic ability, to awareness and offensive talent. One of the most well-rounded high school athletes, look for Jackson to impress in this game.
Jayson Tatum (2nd — ESPN Top 100): Slasher, shooter, dunker, defender. There are a lot of labels you can use for the guard, but there’s no weakness in this kid’s game. If you play basketball, chances are Tatum is better than you.
Lonzo Ball (5th — ESPN Top 100): Tall high school point guards don’t come along very often, but Ball provides a large stature (6’5”, 195 lbs.) which allows him to elevate over (or power through) defenders. He’s also equipped with incredible passing skills, and just led his Chino Hills, Cal., high school to a 35-0 record.
Kobi Simmons (18th — ESPN Top 100): Heading to Arizona, Simmons just eclipsed the 2,000-point career mark, becoming his school’s all-time leading scorer. He’s another freakishly large point guard, at 6’5”.
Terrance Ferguson (13th — ESPN Top 100): The Dallas shooting guard is 6-foot-7, has an impressively natural shooting stroke, and might be the most athletic player invited to play in this game. Here he is dunking over guys two years older than him, helping his country earn a world championship.
Be sure to catch the game at 7:30 ET on ESPN tonight!