- Antonio Williams, Basketball Recruiting
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MILWAUKEE -- Though only an all-star exhibition, both McDonald's Game squads competed at a very high level to secure bragging rights. Through aggressive play in the passing lanes on defense and an effective transition game, the East established a big early lead and withstood a late run for a 107-102 victory.
East player notes
6-6 SG Tyreke Evans (undecided): Evans has the ability to score points in bunches, preferring to use his quick first step to penetrate to the basket as opposed to shooting the perimeter jump shot. When he drives, he generally goes right. Once at the rim, Evans uses his upper body strength, long arms, body control, and hang-time to absorb contact, make in-air adjustments, while still converting the basket. As he prepares for the next level, he will have to improve his jump-shot in addition to becoming a better ball-handler.
6-2 SG Mike Rosario (Rutgers): Rosario had a strong all-around performance, spending time playing the point and off the ball. He connected on jumpers with his textbook form and surprised with his respectable offensive ability off the dribble.
6-0 PG Kemba Walker (Connecticut): Walker runs his team very effectively, leading the fast break and locating open teammates. He competes at a very high level on defense and will not back down from a challenge. Walker also has the skills to finish at the rim in transition.
6-9 PF JaMychal Green (Alabama): Green runs the court very well and has a great motor. He has quick, explosive leaping ability and finishes around the rim well. Green likes to get out on the break and finish with authority at the rim. Green attacks the glass, particularly the offense glass with passion. He also makes attempts to block shots, both on-ball and weak-side.
6-9 PF Ed Davis (North Carolina): Davis pounds the offensive glass with aggression. He also has a nice left-hand jump hook he does not use nearly enough. Davis needs to continue to improve footwork in the post and add a right-hand jump hook to diversify his game.
6-4 combo-guard Elliot Williams (Duke): Williams, when playing the point, likes to use his electrifying quickness to drive past opponents and get to the rim. Once in the paint, he will have to add strength and muscle as defenders easily knock him off his path in the paint. Williams also has to get a handle on his shot selection issues.
6-9 C Samardo Samuels (Louisville): Samuels established deep post position early on in the game. However, as the game went on, his team did not look to get him involved as much. He needs to demand the ball more on offense and make his guards aware he wants the ball. Samuels has really nice footwork in the post and displayed that part of his game more. Samuels has deceptively good athletic gifts he needs to utilize more.
7-0 PF Tyler Zeller (North Carolina): Zeller again got out in transition better than any player of his size in the nation, using his lively legs to out-run thicker, slower big men. He also displayed improving post skills, even connecting on a left-handed jump hook on the low block.
6-5 SG William Buford (Ohio State): Though he did not get a high number of shooting opportunities, Buford did not shoot the ball from the outside well. He surprisingly forced a couple of shots and could not find his rhythm. He needs to put the ball on the ground, go to he bucket and get fouled to shoot free throws, which could get his offensive game back on track if he struggles.
6-6 SF Sylven Landesberg (Virginia): Landesberg struggles when defenders get physical with him. He needs to get stronger himself, work on his ball-handling and clean out the kinks in his shooting form while not putting the ball behind his head. His unorthodox shot turned off teams potentially recruiting him.
6-9 SF Al-Farouq Aminu (Wake Forest): Aminu has the frame of a prototypical NBA small forward. He will have to improve his skills off the dribble as well as both his mid-range and long-range jumpers. Aminu also has to add strength and improve on defense.
West player notes
6-1 PG Brandon Jennings (Arizona): Early on, Jennings decided he wanted to dominate the game by distributing the ball as opposed to shooting. He has outstanding vision and passing skills, sometimes over-passing in his efforts to involve teammates. He plays good pressure defense when he sets out to do so and needs to continue those efforts. Though he did not shoot exceptionally well, Jennings shot the ball well enough for the East to have to account for him at all times. When Jennings decided to score, he easily scorched the nets.
6-4 combo guard Jrue Holiday (UCLA): Holiday does everything on the basketball court. He has a never-ending motor and plays great defense with no fear of contesting shots. Holiday adeptly anticipates passes and steps in the passing lanes for steals topped off by finishes at the basket. He has uncanny ability to finish with his left hand (off-hand) after absorbing contact in the lane.
7-1 C B.J. Mullens (Ohio State): Mullens, in spurts, simply dominates games on the offensive end when he decides to do it. He also shows a good ability to get out and run for dunks in transition. He needs to concentrate on taking guys to the rim with him, absorbing contact and getting to the line. Mullens did a good job of playing post defense at times.
6-6 SF Demar DeRozan (USC): Derozan has pro potential given his great size and body for an incoming college freshman. His leaping ability and quickness also make him very intriguing. Derozan has to continue to develop his jump shot, but presently he excels most in the open court on the fast break.
6-5 SG Scotty Hopson (undecided): Due to his quickness with the ball, Hopson relies on getting to the basket for his points. He will have to continue to work on his jumper and add more elements to his offense game.
6-4 combo guard Willie Warren (Oklahoma): Spearheading the West's determined run with his inspired play, Warren penetrated to the basket almost at will, using his reliable handle and quickness to drive past defenders. He also has a developed body and good strength, fueling his ability to penetrate into a congested lane, take a hit from an opposing big and still finish the lay-up.
6-10 C Michael Dunigan (Oregon): Dunigan played only a limited number of minutes but did so with a great deal of passion. He contested shots and crashed the boards effectively. If Dunigan competes at this high level whenever he steps on the court he will have major impact at Oregon.
6-0 PG Larry Drew II (North Carolina): Drew has good vision and the right disposition for the point guard spot. He does a good job of running a team and distributing the ball. He has to work on his jumper, both from the mid-range and long-range.
6-8 PF Luke Babbitt (Nevada): The easy-going Babbitt seems a little over-matched by his more athletic counterparts. He struggles when he has to finish at the rim with bigger, more athletic guys challenging him. He will have to drive to and make more use of his right hand (off hand) for the next level.
6-4 SG Malcolm Lee (UCLA): Lee has good leaping ability and quick feet, which helps him to get out on the fast break for lay-ins and dunks. He also plays great defense, moving his feet well. Lee will have to continue to improve shooting skills this summer.
6-4 SG Iman Shumpert (Georgia Tech): Shumpert did not exert much energy in the game, instead opting to attempt to fit in with the group. Though not quite Jrue Holiday, Shumpert brings a wealth of effort on both ends of the court when he plays.
6-10 PF Greg Monroe (Georgetown): Monroe sustained an injury above his eye that hindered his effectiveness in the game. He did not respond well to the challenge of having to guard the East's better players. Monroe also faltered on a number of outlet passes, which probably resulted from the cut above his eye.
Antonio Williams is a recruiting coordinator for Scouts Inc. He previously worked as an NBA scout for Marty Blake Associates.
Scouts Inc.'s Antonio Williams breaks down the performance of every player from the 2008 McDonald's All-American Game.