As with any all-star team, there are players left off the McDonald’s All-American Game roster that clearly have an argument that they belong. The 24 man team was announced on Thursday, and several players have a legitimate beef that they got snubbed.
When looking at the McDonald’s Game it is important to understand that not every elite level prospect is eligible. In this year’s class both Quincy Miller and Mike Gbinije are ineligible for the game. Miller didn’t play as a senior due to an injury disqualifying him from selection and Gbinije is a fifth year high school prospect thus making him ineligible.
With those two not under consideration, the two prospects who have the biggest beef with the selection committee would be Jabari Brown and Josiah Turner. Both Brown and Turner are natives of California who are clearly amongst the elite level players in this class.
Brown checks in as the No. 14 player in the class while Turner is No. 15. Brown was seemingly punished for what was a somewhat well discussed transfer from Henderson (NV) Findlay Prep back to Oakland (CA) High School after the start of his junior basketball season. The high scoring Brown might be the premier long distance shooter in the class, and is a good student, so that can’t be behind the reasoning, but none the less he didn’t make the roster. He is clearly the biggest shock on the list of names left off the roster.
Turner is a slightly different case. He was considered a lock for the game with the lack of high level point guards in the class, but a transfer from Sacramento (CA) High School to Winston-Salem (NC) Quality Education Academy changed that.
The transfer involved some odd quotes in newspapers from Turner’s mother as well as the high school coach at Sacramento High, and also involved rumors of why he was suspended. With that, the powers that be on the McDonald’s Committee seemingly decided to stay away from Turner making him a snub for the list.
After those two, B.J. Young, Rodney Hood, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Otto Porter are the prospects who can have a good argument based on their ability.
Young’s problem no doubt wasn’t his talent, but the fact that he was ineligible for his first three years of high school basketball and then again got suspended as a senior. With the McDonald’s Committee putting a focus on off the floor ability as well as on the floor, Young was a long shot from the very beginning.
Hood and Finney-Smith are both well known wings who had great summers to vault into consideration for five-star status. Currently Hood is ranked as the No. 24 prospect in the class while Finney-Smith checks in at No. 26. There isn’t much of an argument against the players at the small forward and power forward positions who were taken instead of Hood and Smith, but none the less both prospects have a definite case for inclusion on the roster.
Porter is one of the most interesting test cases of the class. He was seen by virtually nobody until his senior season, and before it is all said and done could finish as a top 25 prospect. Porter did not play AAU basketball and only plays for a small high school, but in a big time matchup against Chicago (IL) Simeon early in the year, which is one of the top teams in the country, Porter dominated with 20 points. Currently Porter is No. 49 in the Scout.com top 100, but he is in position for a big bump up the rankings.
Quite simply very few of the McDonald’s voters have actually seen Porter play live, and at the end of the day probably was what kept him out of the game as much as anything. A good kid with great grades, Porter simply didn’t have enough evaluations from enough people to get the votes needed on the roster.
Coming into the year as the preliminary voting was going on, the question became how would the big guys be sorted out. In terms of legit centers, only Rakeem Christmas ranks in the range that you would expect a McDonald’s All-American to come from.
Still the voters decided to put a few other centers on the list instead of taking another combo forward or guard. With that in mind a guy such as Adjehi Baru can feel slighted. Baru is Scout.com’s No. 3 center in the class. While he isn't a typical McDonald’s talent as a center, the bottom line is if the committee decided to put multiple centers on the roster he has a right to feel upset for not making the game.
Overall it is a tough job to indentify the top guys and the voting process is far from perfect. Every year worthy players will be left off the list, and this year is no different.
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