by Franklyn Calle / @FrankieC7
This is it. Arguably the best All-American class since 2007 takes the floor for one last time tonight. There are many who consider this class to be the best in as many as six years, alluding to the 2007 class that featured the likes of Derrick Rose, OJ Mayo, Michael Beasley, Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, James Harden, Eric Gordon, Jerryd Bayless, Donte Greene and DeAndre Jordan, among many others. Only time will tell if this group will live up to what the guys in the ’07 class went on to achieve.
Many of the prospects that will be playing in tonight’s game need no introduction, as many of you have become familiar with the names via the mixtapes we constantly run on basketball’s rising stars and the class rankings we do every few months. The two names that you might be the most familiar with are Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins. After all, they were the cover boys of SLAM 167 and all over newsstands for the past month.
The highly anticipated matchup between Parker and Wiggins never quite materialized to what fans had hoped for at the McDonald’s All-American Game last week. But since tonight they are on opposite teams once again, maybe this time they will go head-to-head a little more frequently—let’s hope.
A few other guys in this game have drawn comparisons to the players in the aforementioned Class of 2007. Kentucky-bound point guard Andrew Harrison has been compared to Chicago Bulls’ Rose. Then there’s this guy named Aaron Gordon, who is going to play at Arizona in the fall and has drawn comparisons to high-flying dunker and ’07 JBC alumni Griffin of the L.A. Clippers. Point is, this class is loaded with studs like no class in recent memory.
One thing I feel should be noted is that although the All-Americans have been split into East and West just like they were at the McDonald’s game last week, some of the players have been shuffled from one team to the other. For example, the Texas players: Julius Randle, Andrew Harrison and Aaron Harrison are now playing for the East Team instead of the West. Yet, Kentucky-bound center Dakari Johnson, who is from New York and played HS ball in Florida, will be playing for the West Team instead of the East now. Indiana-bound Noah Vonleh, who is from Massachusetts and played prep ball at New Hampshire will now play for the West Team instead of the East. Yes, very weird, confusing and random, I know.
Figured why not fill you in on the results from the afternoon games. The international game, which was played at 3:30 p.m. EST, saw Lovro Mazalin and Jamal Murray take home the MVP honors. Mazain, from Croatia, finished with 12 points and 8 rebounds, while Murray, hailing from Canada, finished with a game-high 24 points and 7 rebounds.
We will be back after the regional game in a few minutes to fill you in on the top scorers from that game.
7:50 Spike Lee is in the building wearing a black New York Knicks hoodie.
7:55 I must say Kentucky is by far the most represented college on the crowd based on all the blue shirts scattered throughout the arena. Big Blue Nation is everywhere.
7:57 Prediction: East wins by 15.
8:00 Canada is also well represented in the crowd. Canadians Tyler Ennis and Andrew Wiggins got the biggest ovations during player intros.
8:03 Brooklyn’s own Michael Jordan is in the building as well; has his own suite.
East Starters: Andrew Harrison, Tyler Ennis, Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle and Chris Walker.
West starters: Nigel Williams-Goss, Matt Jones, Jabari Parker, Aaron Gordon, Joel Embid.
8:06 Chris Walker dunks over Jabari Parker to start the game.
8:08 Walker, a Florida recruit, with six of the East’s first eight points.
8:10 Julius Randle gets blocked trying to posterized Joel Embid.
8:12 East is up 10-6 heading into the first television timeout.
8:15 Carmelo Anthony just took his seat and Barclays Center went crazy.
8:20 So Drakes walks in and even the game photographers turned around and started taking pictures of him. Suddenly everyone forget there was a game going on.
8:29 Nice crowd tonight, about 80% full.
8:31 Chris Walker leading all scorer so far with 10 points. West is up 30-26.
8:38 Nice up and under by Kuran Iverson, followed fastbreak by Jabari Parker on the other end of the floor. This game is relatively very slow-paced for an all-star game.
8:46 Andrew Wiggins lobs it up to Julius Randle for the dunk. We might be seeing a whole lot of that at Kentucky next year… maybe.
8:49 West leading the East 42-38 at halftime. Walker leads all scorers with 10 points. James Young, Williams-Goss, Troy Williams, and Parker all have six points each.
9:00 Joel Embid brought his defensive game tonight with three blocks at the half.
9:03 The East Team is 1 for 13 from behind the perimeter (13%) and 1 for 5 from the free throw line (20%). Yeah, that’s not good.
9:07 And right after I say that, Andrew Harrison hits a three for the East to start the second half.
9:15 Williams-Goss is 3-for-4 from the field, along with four assists. They’re going to love him at Washington next year.
9:20 Ennis with back-to-back baskets. He is 4-fo-6 from the field. The east leads by one, 59-58 with 14 minutes to go.
9:25 Wiggins is getting hot now for the east with consecutive baskets. He leads all scorers with 13 points.
9:35 Williams-Goss hits a three-pointer. He is now 5-for-6 from the field. 12 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds so far. Games is tied at 76 a piece with under 8 minutes to go.
9:45 Like Ben mentioned in the comments section, the guys are actually playing defense (which doesn’t usually happen in all-star games like these) so maybe that explains the lack of highlight reel dunks?
9:47 And right after saying that, Ennis lobs it to Aaron Harrison for the dunk, followed by Kentucky-bound James Young with a one-handed slam on the other end of the floor.
9:49 Kasey Hill hits a three-pointer and then finds Parker in the paint on the next possession to tie the game at 86 with under four minutes to go.
9:52 Ennis lobs it to Randle for the dunk. Ennis got six assists, so do And. Harrison and Hill.
9:55 Tied at 88 points with 2:31 remaining. Guys have ironically been playing defense throughout. There’s a bunch of guys with four and five fouls out there.
9:59 The defensive effort is all of the sudden not there. A whole lot of back and forth lay-ups. Tied at 96 with 50.5 seconds to go.
10:01 Williams-Goss with the conventional three-point play to put the West up 99-96 with 30 secs left.
10:02 Not sure if the crowd was booing Wiggins or the refs in that play, but they are not happy that the East is losing.
10:04 Randle hits the lay-up but the East is still down 100-98 with 1.5 seconds to go.
10:05 Williams-Goss at the free throw line with 0.4 remaining. He makes both to seal it at 102-98.
10:08 Julius Randle (19 points & 7 rebounds) and Jabari Parker (16 points and 7 rebounds) are named the MVPs of the 2013 Jordan Brand Classic. Andrew Wiggins also finished with 19 points, to go along with 5 rebounds. Williams-Goss led the West in scoring with 17 points (6 for 7 from the floor), 4 assists and 3 rebounds.
10:10 That’s all from here. Thanks for hanging with us!