On Tuesday night, March 22, at the United Center in Chicago twenty-one of the nation's top high school seniors participated in Sonny Vaccaro's 41st annual Reebok/EA Sports Roundball Classic All-Star Game. Although the level of talent this year did not equal last year's game that included seven participants who were taken in the first round of the NBA Draft, it is likely that several players will be drafted by NBA teams this June. And, virtually all others will be immediate contributors for collegiate teams.
Following are our evaluations of the performance each player on the East All-Stars team in the Roundball Classic, listed alphabetically. EAST TEAM
Korvotney Barber 6-7 230 PF signed with Auburn Game stats: 6 pts., 3-5 FG, 0-0 3pt., 0-0 FT, 4 rebs., 3 assists, 0 TO, 2 blocks, 1 steal Very strong, athletic, and physical; but raw offensively. Must develop shooting range and accuracy. Excellent athlete in the Donnell Harvey mold. Was one of top rebounders at NBPA Top 100 Camp. Needs to develop basic offensive skills. Will play in the McDonald's All-American Game.
Andray Blatche 6-11 240 C/F unsigned. Plans to enter NBA draft. Game stats: 13 pts., 5-12 FG, 1-1 3pt., 2-4 FT, 14 rebs., 2 assists, 3 TO, 2 blocks, 2 steals Has excellent potential; must be willing to play inside and bang with the big guys. Now tends to play away from the basket. Too many turnovers. Was not 100% at this game due to stomach virus. With added intensity and physical development could become a future NBA standout. Likely to be drafted late in the first round.
Bobby Frasor 6-3 190 1/2G signed with North Carolina Game stats: 8 pts., 3-7 FG, 2-3 3pt., 0-0 FT, 2 rebs., 8 assists, 3 TO, 1 block, 1 steal Somewhat in the Kirk Hinrich or Jeff Lebo mold, Frasor is now a combo guard, and seems more comfortable off the ball. He has the skills and potential to develop into a very good point guard at North Carolina. However, Eric Devendorf got the better of him in the Roundball Classic. It was great that some 250 Brother Rice High School students attended the game to cheer for their "hero." I think he will be a fine four-year player for Roy Williams, and could start as a freshman if Raymond Felton goes to the NBA. Frasor will play in the McDonald's All-American Game.
Tony Freeman 6-1 170 1/2G signed with Iowa Game stats: 5 pts., 1-7 FG, 1-5 3pt., 2-4 FT, 1 reb., 3 assists, 1 TO, 2 blocks, 1 steal May have been a little over-matched in this game. Had a good senior year at Westchester, Ill., St. Joseph High School, and has good fundamental skills. More of a combo or scoring guard than a true playmaking point guard. Freeman needs to improve his defensive efforts, and become a team leader and playmaker. He should add solid support to coach Steve Alford's Hawkeyes next year.
Danny Green 6-6 195 G/F signed with North Carolina Game stats: 15 pts., 6-13 FG, 1-4 3pt., 2-2 FT, 9 rebs., 1 assist, 6 TO, 3 blocks, 3 steals Other than too many turnovers, and erratic outside shooting, Green performed well enough for the losing East squad to earn game co-MVP honors. Tough competitor, and a total team player. Works hard on defense, and rebounds well from the wing. Needs to improve his outside shooting, and become less careless with the ball. Should be a effective addition to the Tar Heels next season. Will play in the McDonald's All-American Game.
Gerald Green 6-8 195 G/F signed with Oklahoma State Game stats: 17 pts., 5-12 FG, 0-4 3pt., 7-8 FT, I reb., 0 assists, 3 TO, 0 blocks, 0 steals Scored 9 points in final quarter after his East team was far behind. Did not play with intensity, and was very soft defensively. Explosive athlete, and very versatile. Actually played at the point position in the fourth quarter. Good ballhandler for his size. Must become a better and more consistent outside shooter. Most of his points came on dunks, and foul shots. Has been considered a prime candidate to go high in the NBA draft. After his play here, that is subject to debate. His play in the McDonald's All-American Game could determine his future. Hopefully, next year he will play for coach Sean Sutton's Cowboys.
Davon Jefferson 6-7 215 WF signed with UNLV Game stats: 12 pts., 5-15 FG, 0-1 3pt., 2-2 FT, 10 rebs., 2 assists, 2 TO, 1 block, 1 steal Can play either forward position. Had strong rebounding game, and played with intensity. Normally an effective outside shooter, but not in this game. Could really help coach Lon Kruger's Runnin' Rebels next year, but, reportedly, may be at South Kent, Ct., Prep school.
Jerel McNeal 6-3 185 2G signed with Marquette Game stats: 12 pts., 5-9 FG, 2-2 3 pt., 0-0 FT, 7 rebs., 1 assist, 1 turnover, 1 block, 1 steal Hardnosed, very competitive player. Actually can play either guard position, and showed in practices that his future could be at the point guard position for coach Tom Crean at Marquette. One of best backcourt on-the-ball defenders in the game. Has an accurate outside shot, and is a very complete player. One of the "true sleepers" in this senior class.
Nate Minnoy 6-3 280 forward signed with Purdue Game stats:16 points, 7-14 FG, 2-4 3pt., 0-0 FT, 6 rebs., 2 assists, 1 TO, 0 blocks, 0 steals Does not have a true position, but causes difficult matchups. Somewhat "Barkley-esque" with his big body, Minnoy has an accurate outside shooting touch, and can power to the hoop. Should be an immediate impact player for coach Matt Painter's Boilermakers next year. Was named co-MVP for the East team.
DeAndre Thomas 6-8 290 center/forward - still undecided about future college Game stats: 11 pts., 3-9 FG, 0-0 3pt., 5-8 FT, 5 rebs., 0 assists, 4 TO, 0 blocks, 2 steals Prototypical "wide body," uses bulk to create space inside. Was not able to finish well in this game. Does not run the court well. Needs to lose weight, and improve athleticism. Will make visits to Kansas, Illinois, Florida State, and Georgetown.
Marcus Williams 6-8 200 WF signed with Arizona. Game stats: 4 pts., 2-7 FG, 0-2 3pts., 0-2 FT, 6 rebs., 1 assist, 1 TO, 3 blocks, 1 steal Late addition to game, played as the sixth man, which made it difficult for him to get into a game rhythm. Very talented, versatile swing man. Long and rangy with a good outside shot. Had an excellent senior year. Should be a valuable addition for coach Lute Olson's Wildcats.
Rivals.com will have the winning West Team player evaluations in our next Roundball Classic update.