Friday, April 1, 2011

McDonald's All-American Game Nuggets

I know earlier this week I spent some time talking about bad headlines, but how can you resist the nuggets and McDonald's connection. It's like trying to resist a McDonald's breakfast sandwich when you are hungover...tough to do.

With the game being played at the United Center, Daily Onions was able to earn a media credential for the evening, which allowed us a media room pre-game meal (boy, have we missed these!), the ability to rub shoulders with Doc Rivers, and also chat with players after the 40-minutes of action. Here are some news, notes and thoughts from the evening.

From a college conference perspective, the SEC cleans up having seven players in the game, thanks to that slick salesman Mr. Calipari. Kentucky has 4 of the 7 SEC players in the game, including game MVP and New Jersey native Michael Gilchrist. We won't get into the fact that World Wide Wes was at the McDonald's practices rocking the UK gear (not shady at all). The Big East and the ACC each had five players, the Big Ten claims four, while the Big 12 has two and Conference USA has one.

Duke had three players in the game including the high school player of the year Austin Rivers. We (along with the rest of the hoard of media) had the opportunity to chat with Austin after the game. As impressive as he is on the court - compare him to Stephen Curry with a little more pop - he is just the same off the court. Well-spoken kid, who says the right things and just gets it. Not surprised since he has been around elite athletes his entire life. In addition to Doc, Austin's older brother plays hoops at IU, while his sister was a volleyball player at Florida. If Kyrie Irving ends up staying at Duke, the Blue Devils automatically have the best backcourt in the country. Even if Irving leaves, Rivers will be able to step right in and make an impact from Day 1.

Carter-Williams and Christmas headed to the Cuse (
Speaking of the Blue Devils, they'll now have THREE Plumlee brothers on the roster. Mason and Miles' younger brother Marshall will be joining them next year. The Dukies also get Quinn Cook, a 6-0 guard out of Oak Hill Academy.

Let's get on to more important, Orange colored things, as in Syracuse. Two members of the East squad are headed to CNY next season. Rakeem Christmas (Philadelphia), who is listed at 6-10, didn't look that big on the court during the game. However, standing next to him afterwards definitely gave us a crick in the neck. He looks to have the potential to be a solid man in the middle, despite only getting one bucket (a 12-ft jumper). He doesn't have a ton of weight (235 lbs in your program) on  him right now but looks to have a pretty athletic build and a long wingspan. Will he be able to replace I'm Sorry Rick Jackson next year? Probably not, but in two years could be a double-double guy in the Big East. We also have a soft spot in our heart for him now, as he showed us a lot of love with a handshake into a half hug, when he learned of the 'Cuse connection. Can't wait for Christmas in Syracuse (heyoooo).

The other player to head to the Salt City is Michael Cater-Williams (from Mass.). First thing that stood out about MCW was the 'S' shaved into the back of his head. Nice. The second thing that stood out was the fact that he was swimming in his uniform. He's listed at 6-5, 175. I think its probably closer to 6-3, 135. Syracuse will need to put him on the 40 meals per week once he steps on campus. No disrespect to the skinny kids. Daily Onions was once just as skinny and Cuse helped us bulk up freshman year (15?). MCW won the skills competition at on Monday night and will be a slasher/shooter coming off the bench next year. We LOVED the fact that he took a an All-Star game! We've taken a charge in a scrimmage at a summer camp played on tennis courts, so we like the effort. With Scoop, Triche, Waiters, Fair, Mookie (?), and Joseph playing the 2 and 3 positions, MCW may take some time to see the court next season. In the long run though, a McDonald's All-American is a McDonald's All-American.

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