Tonight the 38th Annual McDonald’s All-American Game will take place at the United Center in Chicago. Twenty-four of the top high school players in the country will showcase their skills in front of a national audience in what is one of the few opportunities for fans to catch a glimpse of next year’s class of recruits. Over the past few days, the players have been competing in practices against one another ahead of tonight’s showdown. With a number of players either committed to or still considering Big 12 schools, we felt that it would be a good idea to quickly profile those players to keep an eye on tonight as you tune into the game. All rankings from Scout.com.
This year’s class of All-Americans includes two players who have already committed to Big 12 schools.
- No. 16 Carlton Bragg (Kansas). Bragg, a 6’9″ power forward from Cleveland, committed to Kansas in the fall. Despite his size, he was the only player to compete in the skills competition, the three-point contest and the dunk contest at Monday night’s Powerade Jam Fest. Bragg’s a versatile frontcourt player who can handle the ball and can reasonably step out beyond the three-point line. His skill set should make him a great fit in Bill Self’s high-low offense, but he’ll need to improve on the defensive end where he sometimes lacks the consistent effort that Self will require.
- No. 26 Jawun Evans (Oklahoma State). Jawun Evans has had a busy week dealing with rumors that his chosen school was considering a buyout of head coach Travis Ford, but the Oklahoma State athletic director appeared to put that speculation to rest on Tuesday. Evans, a 6’0″ point guard, committed to the Cowboys back in October, and with the departure of senior Anthony Hickey, he figures to immediately compete for a starting spot in Stillwater. He possesses an outstanding ability to penetrate the lane against opposing defenses, which should open up space for shooters like Phil Forte next season.
The 2015 McDonald’s All-American Game also features a number of uncommitted prospects who plan to sign with schools in the coming weeks. Many of these players are considering Big 12 institutions, with Kansas on the lists of just about all of them. Here is a quick rundown of each McDonald’s All-American prospect who is still considering a Big 12 school next season.
- No. 1 Jaylen Brown, Wheeler High School (GA). Brown is a 6’7″ small forward who has spent the week speaking highly of Kentucky’s program while also saying that academics will help guide his decision. Despite having the skill set to make the jump, Brown may not be a typical one-and-done prospect. He’s got NBA size and athleticism but needs to spend time working on his jump shot to truly become an effective player at the next level. Kansas is the lone Big 12 school that remains on this prospect’s list.
- No. 5 Ivan Rabb, Bishop O’Dowd High School (CA). It would be a big surprise to see Ivan Rabb in the Big 12 next season. Kansas is currently the only Big 12 school that remains on his list, but Rabb appears headed to California. He’s another versatile big man who showed off his shooting touch recently by hitting the game-winning free throws in overtime of California’s state championship game.
- No. 8 Malik Newman, Callaway High School (MS). Newman has made his plan clear that he intends to spend as little time in college as possible. He’s considering six schools, including Kansas. Newman is a combo guard who has spent quite a bit of time running the point during practices this week, so keep an eye on how much he plays the position during tonight’s game.
- No. 9 Stephen Zimmerman, Bishop Gorman High School (NV). Zimmerman is an almost seven-footer from Las Vegas who has also been open about his desire to get to the NBA as soon as possible. Hometown school UNLV appears to be the favorite over Kansas and some other bluebloods like Kentucky and UCLA. Zimmerman obviously has the size to develop into an impressive post presence over time. He’ll get a chance to show off some of that development this evening.
- No. 10 Cheick Diallo, Our Savior New American School (NY). Diallo is perhaps one of the more interesting players on the uncommitted list. He’s being recruited by both Kansas and Iowa State but the Cyclones’ lead recruiter on Diallo is headed to St. John’s next season. He is a high energy big man who impressed observers during Tuesday’s practice, according to Rivals’ Eric Bossi, by showcasing his ability to block shots and collect rebounds on the defensive end while hustling to finish dunks on the other.
- No. 13 Brandon Ingram, Kinston High School (NC). Ingram is another Kansas prospect. The 6’8″ forward spent most of Tuesday’s practice engaged in trash talk with Jaylen Brown. He backed it up with an impressive scoring ability that has Rivals‘ Eric Bossi calling him the “biggest revelation” of this week.
- No. 33 Thomas Bryant, Huntington Prep (WV). Bryant is also considering Kansas but he hasn’t yet visited the school. He is a physical 6’10” center who has impressed with his play on the block during practices this week.
While obviously not all of these players will end up in the Big 12 next season, it is likely that one or more will choose a school in the conference. Tonight’s McDonald’s All-American Game should give fans a chance to see what each of them has to offer.