A look at the top high school basketball all-star games in the country.
by Kellon Hassenstab / @Hoopniks
While any basketball fan worth their salt knows about the McDonald’s All-American Games, the explosion of interest in college basketball recruiting and high school hoops has produced an increase in post-season all-star games that feature future college stars, and oftentimes the next generation of NBA newcomers.
The 2012 McDonald’s Games are in the books, but here are a number of other contests worth catching for hardcore hoops fans:
Date: April 1
Location: New Orleans, LA
Television: ESPN3 and ESPNU, 3:00 and 4:30 EST
Breakdown: The second annual All-American Championship is a doubleheader that features some of the nation’s best high school boys basketball players.
Some of the top senior talent in the game includes Shaq Goodwin (Memphis), Ricardo Gathers (Baylor), Joel James (North Carolina), Robert Carter (Georgia Tech), Hanner Perea (Indiana), Omar Calhoun (UConn), DaJuan Coleman (Syracuse), Mitch McGary (Michigan), Kaleb Tarczewski (Arizona), Nerlens Noel (undecided) and Willie Cauley (Kentucky).
The All-American Championship is a unique event in that underclassmen are included. Some of the top high school juniors in the event are Nate Britt (North Carolina), Andrew and Aaron Harrison (Undecided), Keith Frazier (Undecided).
Derby Festival Basketball Classic
Date: April 6
Location: Louisville, KY
Breakdown: The former adidas-sponsored event is still going strong, but is now presented by papajohns.com. Louisville and Indiana fans will have the opportunity of catching their future players in the event, including point guard Terry Rozier, who is bound for the Cardinals, and Ron Patterson, Hanner Perea and Jeremy Hollowell, who are set to be Hoosiers next year.
The game has a Midwest flavor, with Indianapolis-native D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera (Georgetown) and Cincinnati-native Semaj Christon (Xavier) returning from private schools to their home area. Other top national talents like Amile Jefferson (undecided), Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State), Devonta Pollard (undecided) and TJ Warren (NC State) are on the loaded rosters.
Nike Hoop Summit
Date: April 7
Location: Portland, OR
Television: Fox Sports Net and its regional affiliates, 7:00 PST
Breakdown: The annual contest features a team of American standouts against a hand-selected crew of international players.
There isn’t much to argue with the USA roster, which includes to two top dogs in the 2012 class in wing Shabazz Muhammad and center Nerlens Noel, who are both undecided. Unselfish guard Kyle Anderson (UCLA), scorer Archie Goodwin (Kentucky) and interior standouts Mitch McGary (Michigan), Tony Parker (undecided) and Kaleb Tarczewski (Arizona) will be tough for the international team to overcome.
The World Select team features some players who are familiar to basketball junkies in top-10 ranked Findlay (NV) Prep forward Anthony Bennett, a native of Canada who is currently undecided, and arguably the top player in the 2014 class in forward Andrew Wiggins, also from Canada. In the past, the World Select team has been a spring board into the NBA Draft, most recently with Bismack Biyombo last year. Participants from Serbia, Argentina, France, Russia, Poland, Croatia, Zambia and China are also on the roster, hoping to be the next international first-round pick the game has produced.
Jordan Brand Classic
Date: April 14
Location: Charlotte, NC
Television: ESPN, 7:00 EST
Breakdown: The Jordan Brand Classic has more flexible roster rules than the McDonald’s All-American Game, which has allowed for the inclusion of fifth-year (prep school) players in the contest.
Talents such as Nerlens Noel, Kaleb Tarczewski, Steven Adams and Ricardo Ledo (Providence)—who were ineligible for the McDonald’s Game—will showcase their talents in this loaded contest.
Also, North Carolina fans will be able to watch the majority of their recruiting class for next year with Brice Johnson, JP Tokoto and Marcus Paige playing relatively close to the Triangle.
Other talents such as Kyle Anderson (UCLA), Gary Harris (Michigan State), Kris Dunn (Providence), Rodney Purvis (NC State), Isaiah Austin (Baylor), Grant Jerrett (Arizona) and the Kentucky-bound duo of Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin are also in the game.
BallisLife All-American Game
Date: April 7
Location: Fullerton, CA
Breakdown: The West Coast mixtape producer and hoops lifestyle company is putting on another top-notch all-star game.
With high-major bound talent like Dominic Artis (Oregon), Gabe York (Arizona), Ricardo Gathers (Baylor), Xavier Johnson (Colorado), Tyrone Wallace (California), Katin Reinhardt (UNLV), Torian Graham (undecided), Rosco Allen (Stanford) and many more expected on the roster, the future of the Pac-12 will be on display.