McDonald's game matchups to watch
Here is a look at seven matchups we are looking forward to in the McDonald's All-American Game on Wednesday (ESPN at 10 p.m. ET).
This matchup is intriguing for two reasons. First, they both were committed to play for Florida at one time and it will be interesting to see which player is able to be the more dominant scorer during a game in which defense is usually optional. Rivers, a Duke signee, may be the most complete offensive player in the 2011 class, but Beal has the ability to be an explosive scorer and is a better defender.
Size, skill, feel and athletic ability at the power forward position make this matchup intriguing. Wiltjer, a Kentucky signee, will have to deal with the energy, length, mobility and skill of McAdoo, while the UNC signee will have to put his best defensive foot forward because Wiltjer can drop numbers inside and out with his ability to post and hit open 3-pointers. McAdoo is a terrific rebounder who can score inside and along the baseline with comfortable range to 17 feet and can put the ball on the floor from short distances and get to the rim. It will be fun to see how Wiltjer defends when McAdoo attacks him off the bounce and how McAdoo handles the numerous post moves and 3-point shooting threat that Wiltjer posses.
All-Star games are made for guards, and Kabongo's speed and quickness with the basketball make the Texas signee tailor made for this type of setting. But don't discount Cook, who is never shy about looking for his own offense and comes in with a chip on his shoulder after the Duke signee's selection was questioned by so many.
Behanan, a Louisville signee, is a bruising power forward. He is skilled enough to take the ball off the bounce from the wing into the paint to score. He is a solid athlete that generally out-efforts his opponent. He will try to bully Nash in the paint, however the Oklahoma State signee and Powerade Jam Fest winner is a skilled combo forward who can operate equally well on the perimeter or in the paint. Nash will try to take Behanan on the perimeter where he is less comfortable and either shoot from range or take him off the dribble.
Let's face it, this is his biggest chance to make a national splash. The East doesn't have great options to check the Kentucky signee and if he receives enough touches, he's likely to do work. Davis will find that most of his touches will come on put-back dunks or long rebounds. Syracuse signee Rakeem Christmas (Philadelphia, Penn./Academy of New Church) might be the most logical big to put on him and could bother Davis with his length. McAdoo would be an interesting match of skilled guys, though Davis towers over him. The bottom line is this is Davis' chance to spread his wings on the biggest stage of his career against a frontline he could master.
When it comes to blue-collar basketball, O'Bryant is near the top. The LSU signee utilizes his strong frame and warrior's mentality to snatch rebounds and finish with contact. In addition, he turns over his left shoulder well for the finish or he can step out and nail the midrange jump shot. On the other hand, Zeller is more finesse and possesses a feathery touch inside and out. In transition, the Indiana signee runs well and can beat his opponent down court for the finish. However, in the half-court set, O'Bryant has a definite strength advantage and may be able to punish the slightly-built Zeller in the paint area.
Both players play with a high motor, are physical and are clutch from 17 feet and in. Thomas is a little stronger and Gilchrist is a better defender, but it will be interesting to see them defending each other in the post and battling for rebounds. Nothing is going to come easy for either one because both take pride in their defense. Can either score on each other?
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2011 MCDONALD'S ALL-AMERICAN GAME
Only 24 players from the 2011 class are given the honor of being named McDonald's All-Americans. This year's group is second to none.When: March 30, 2011 (10 p.m. ET on ESPN)
Where: United Center, Chicago