The official rosters for the 2014 McDonald’s All-American games were announced. Somehow, no girls from the Illinois area made it. Mount Carmel’s Tyra Buss was thought to be a shoe-in with her amazing 45 points per game average that validates her place among the elites. Spectators at the McDonald’s All-American games will have a chance to see University of Illinois recruit Chatrice White. The Shelby, Nebraska star is an elite center in her class. She hits the boards hard and is a constant double-double threat. It will be interesting to see her battle ESPN’s #1 and #2 ranked post players: Jatarie White out of Charlotte, North Carolina and Lynee’ Belton out of Clinton, Maryland.
^ Chatrice White is a tough player, who gives max effort at both ends of the floor.
On the boys side, most believed that Chicago had at least two clear-cut All-Americans. Game-changing big men Jahlil Okafor and Cliff Alexander both made the team. The two Chicagoans (from Whitney Young and Curie respectively) have been dominant and solidified their place as two of the top players in country. They are joined by Tyler Ulis from Marion Catholic (Chicago Heights, Ill.). Ulis has been on fire as of late. He has shown even more progress since his dominant summer where he played his way into a scholarship from the University of Kentucky. While Okafor and Alexander are household names, it is perhaps Ulis that has the most potential of the three. Ulis is a 5-9 point guard in the mold of Chris Paul. He is a true PG who passes first and shoots second, but he fills the scoring role nicely in the clutch à la Chris Paul. All three of these players have the potential to be lottery picks one day, but in the here- and-now their future impact on college basketball is going to make for an interesting game on April 2nd at the United Center.
Tyler Ulis has led Marion Catholic to the #5 ranking in the Chicago Tribune’s top 20 teams, and at 15 wins-2 losses they have been off to a blazing start to the season. He is trying to lead his program to new heights. Ulis is an intriguing prospect because he has passing skills on par with #1 PG Tyus Jones, but he has the ability to take over games with his scoring; Tyus Jones on the other hand plays steadier, but usually does not provide the huge scoring outburts.
As you can see in the video above, Tyler Ulis is a very motivated young man. He keeps a chip on his shoulder, and that has caused him to raise his level of play to an impressive level. After being unranked early in his career, Ulis worked hard and moved his way up to 24th-ranked player in the ESPN Top 100 for the class of 2014. Though Tyler loss the game in the video shown above, he (in my opinion) outplayed the #1 point guard in the nation. Ulis proved he belonged. And of course they are on opposing teams for the McDonald’s All-American game. It will be interesting to see how many times these two (Jones and Ulis) match up against each other on April 2nd. They will hopefully continue their rivalry at the college-level, as Duke and Kentucky fans have resented each other for a long time.
If you are a basketball fan Jahlil Okafor (Whitney Young) and Cliff Alexander (Curie) are two names that you probably have been bombarded with. The two prospects have dominated the competition, while making NBA scouts debate who has the most potential. Okafor and Alexander know each other well. They play on the same AAU team and they have faced each other multiple times. Neither one seems to dominate the other.
In the game above, the two put up pretty similar numbers, and Whitney Young won despite Alexander out-rebounding Okafor. When the two face-off, you notice that Alexander does not posses the same skill and footwork as Okafor. You also get to see how Okafor struggles with mobile big men, especially those with Alexander’s immense athleticism. At the end of the day both players will go on to have great college careers. Okafor will provide Duke with perhaps the most talented low-post threat they have ever had, while Cliff Alexander seems ready to help Kansas continue the trend of producing NBA-ready power forwards. The McDonald’s All-American game will give fans the opportunity to see these Chicago big men face off yet again. And because they are so often compared to each other, it will be great to see how much improvement each player has made.
The McDonald’s All-American game is always a huge draw because it is a look into the future of basketball. Those in attendance will see future NBA lottery picks, as well as guys who will create grand legacies in the NCAA. One of the main reasons the game attracts so many, is the story-lines and lasting rivalries that come out of the game. And in 2014 the( Tyus Jones and Cliff Alexander-led) West and the (Jahlil Okafor and Tyker Ulis-led) East are sure to supply fans with a performance to remember.