Thoughts on the 2023 McDonald’s All-American Game

April 1st, 2023

By Alan Lu

Recently, the 2023 McDonald’s All-American game was played on March 28th, and there was buzz abound about LeBron’s prodigious son, Bronny James being invited to play at this prestigious event.  He made five three-pointers in this game, and other players such as D.J. Wagner and Ron Holland played very well on this day.  

For most of the players here, this was my first time watching a lot of the players that participated in this game, so I’m still working to try to get a better feel of their skill sets.  Here are my thoughts on how various prospects fared in this game.

Bronny James (in the middle) and Ron Holland (on the right) turned in strong performances in Tuesday’s McDonald’s All-American game this past week.
(Photo: Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports, via Fansided’s Ball Durham)

Strong Performances (8)

Texas’ 6-8 incoming freshman swingman, Ron Holland put forth a tremendous showing in this game.  He is a very athletic forward that made energetic plays to help his team on both ends of the floor, and he looked to be arguably the most impressive all-around player here, as he stood out in his team’s loss to the East.

He did a great job of attacking the hoop to score the basketball.  Holland has a quick, strong first step to the hoop, and he excelled as a scorer off the dribble.  He also was able to score on a high-flying dunk on the break.  He also showed some post-up skills, as well as good balance, body control, and finishing ability by scoring on a tough, turnaround flip layup in traffic.

Also, he showcased satisfactory playmaking skills.  Holland showed that he can make passes on the move as well as off the dribble, and he would set up scoring chances for his team is amates.  There was one play though where he over-dribbled on a quick drive off of an offensive rebound, which led him to get the ball knocked away that led to a turnover.

Plus, Holland did a good job of rebounding the basketball, and he was active at crashing the glass to get boards on both ends of the floor.  Also, Holland played terrific defense in this game.  He would make quick rotations and hustle to block shots to prevent opponents from scoring on quick drives around the basket.  He also would get his hands on passes to get steals, and he also was able to jump on a loose ball another time.  He excelled at challenging shots and forcing turnovers, and he is an energetic, rangy defender that was especially outstanding on the defensive side of the ball.

In general, Holland played really well, and he had a terrific showing in this game.  He’ll need to show that he can consistently knock down shots from the outside, but he really thrived in this event.  Holland has a game that reminds me of Boston Celtics’ forward, Jaylen Brown. Holland is an early contender to be the top pick for the 2024 draft, and he is a tremendous prospect that will be a definite player to watch in college basketball next season.

6-3 guard, Bronny James had a strong showing for the West.  He did a great job of shooting and scoring the basketball, especially from long distance, and he also played unselfishly.  He really thrived as a three-point shooter on offense.  He would move off the ball to make open threes, especially from the corners, and he is a very good shooter off the catch.  He also was able to utilize a quick side step move to his left to make a pull-up three from deep.  James didn’t really look to go all the way to the rim, but he was extremely effective as a long-range shooter in this game.

He also displayed satisfactory playmaking skills.  He is an unselfish player that can make long, interior passes, and he showed that he can find open teammates on the move to notch assists.  Every once in a while, he would telegraph his passes, and he threw a hasty pass once that got intercepted.

On the downside, James didn’t get many rebounds in this game, but he was able to get a defensive board when he was on the court.  James also defended well in this game.  He is a pesky defender that showed a knack for swiping balls away from opposing ball handlers when guarding on the ball to get steals.  He also was able to fight through a screen to stay with an opposing ball handler on a drive to force a miss.  Every once in a while though, he would occasionally be late on his rotations, which would him to commit fouls as a result.

Overall, Bronny James played very well, and he especially thrived as a sharpshooter on offense.  His ability to shoot and defend could make him a very valuable role player in the NBA.  On the downside, he’s not an explosive athlete and he might not develop to be the elite shot creator that his legendary dad is, but Bronny’s strong jump shot and solid defensive skills, combined with his ability to make team plays could make him a solid pick for an NBA team in the mid to late first round range in the 2024 draft, and he could be a similar player to Boston Celtics’ guard, Marcus Smart in the NBA.

Kentucky’s 6-3 incoming freshman point guard, D.J. Wagner also played very well in this game, and he had a big second half to help lead the East to get a comeback win over the West.  He is a very athletic, skilled point guard that thrived as a shooter, scorer, and defender when he was on the floor.

He shot the ball well, especially from downtown.  He can make shots both off the catch and dribble, and he has a lot of range on his shot.  He also was able to score on a couple of high-flying dunks on the break, and he also scored on a put back off of an offensive rebound.  Wagner did a decent job of scoring off the dribble, and he tended to prefer to go to his left to score on speedy drives to the hoop.  Sometimes though, he would miss on quick, rushed layups in traffic, and he also would sometimes take tough, pull-up threes from beyond the arc, which would lead to misses.

Wagner is a very good ball handler, but he looked to be about average at best as a playmaker.  He tended to look for his own shot a lot, and he didn’t seem to pass the ball that much.  He tended to throw inaccurate passes that would sail out of bounds.  He also fell when handling the ball and had it stolen away from him to turn it over another time.  He showed the ability to pass off the dribble and move the balll, but Wagner seemed to be very focused in trying to score, and he didn’t really look to set up his teammates that much in this game.

Though he didn’t get many rebounds in this game, Wagner was able to haul in a board on each end of the floor.  Wagner also defended well in this game.  When defending out on the perimeter, he was able to make a big-time shot block to a teammate due to possessing impressive athletic gifts.  He also would get his hands on passes to get steals.  On one play though, he rotated but tried a lazy ball slap, which led him to commit a reach-in foul that led his team to give up a basket on a drive and an extra free throw that time.

In summary, DJ Wagner had a solid showing in his team’s win in this game.  He is a very athletic playmaker that can score in a variety of ways, and he also looked to be a standout defender.  He’ll need to take better care of the basketball and improve his shot selection, but he is a very talented prospect that could be a lottery pick in the 2024 draft.

USC’s incoming 6-3 freshman point guard, Isaiah Collier had a solid showing in this game.  He is a strong, athletic guard that can shoot and score the basketball, and he also made some strong plays defensively.  On the downside, he didn’t take very good care of the ball, and he was also very turnover prone on offense.

Collier showed a solid ability to score off the dribble as well as to knock down jumpers from the outside.  He was able to pull up to make a three from deep, and he also ran off a ball screen to make an open, corner three.  He also can score on strong, speedy drives to the hoop, and he also was able to throw down thunderous dunks on fast breaks.  On the downside, he would sometimes take quick, rushed shots, and he would sometimes try to do too much when looking to score, which would lead to misses.

He also was very turnover prone on offense, and he can sometimes tend to be too careless with the basketball.  For the positives, Collier can make passes off the dribble to notch assists.  However, he tended to be inaccurate with his passes, which would either sail out of bounds or get intercepted.  He also had a ball poked off him out of bounds when handling it another time.

Also, Collier was able to get his fair share of boards to help chip in on the glass.  He also played solid defense.  Collier would get his hands on passes to get steals, and he also hustled to block a shot to help his team protect the paint.  On the downside, he would sometimes play too aggressively, which would lead him to either commit reach-in fouls or to wind up out of position.  Another time, he didn’t contest a three-point shot, which led his team to give up a three-point basket towards the end of the first quarter.

Overall, Isaiah Collier played well for the West in his team’s loss in this game.  He is a very athletic, scoring point guard that can make plays on both ends of the floor.  He’ll need to do a much better job of taking care of the basketball, but he could be a solid pick in the mid to late first round of the 2024 draft, and he could potentially be a lottery pick next year, especially if he can show NBA teams that he can reliably run the point in games.

Kentucky’s 6-7 incoming freshman swingman, Justin Edwards also played well to help the East get the win in this game.  He’s an athletic, skilled player that can score in a variety of ways, and he is a versatile player that can make some solid plays on both ends of the court.

Edwards generally excelled at attacking the hoop to score on offense.  He would score on aggressive drives to the hoop, and he was able to utilize a Eurostep move to score on a drive in transition.  He also ran in to score on a tip-in.  He was streaky with his outside shot, but Edwards was able to show that he can spot up to make catch-and-shoot jumpers.

Also, Edwards showed off decent playmaking skills in this game.  He did a good job of throwing long, accurate outlet passes to set up scoring chances for his teammates on the break.  He also can handle the basketball.  Sometimes though, when handling the ball, he would end up getting balls poked away, which would lead him to turn the ball over.

He also showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball.  Edwards played adequate defense in this game.  He is an active defender that would look to force turnovers.  He poked a ball off of an opposing ball handler to force a turnover once.  He also jumped a pass to get a steal, and he also managed to get a loose ball to get another.  He also managed to cut off penetration when defending an opponent off the dribble to force a three seconds in the key violation.  On the downside, he tended to over-help in the paint, which would lead him to be late to rotate back or to contest shots, which would lead him to give up three-point baskets to the opposition.  Another time, he got beat off the dribble, which led him to commit a reach-in foul.

Overall, Edwards had a solid showing to help lead his team to a win in this game.  He is an athletic, versatile playmaker that showed off an array of skills in this game.  He’ll need to be a more consistent shooter and tighten up his handles, but his ability to make plays in a variety of ways could make him a solid pick for an NBA team in the mid to late first round range of the 2024 draft, and he could end up being a lottery pick next year.

Kentucky’s 7-0 incoming freshman center, Aaron Bradshaw quietly had a strong showing to help lead the East to get the win in this game.  He is a strong, mobile big man that did a terrific job of drawing and making free throws to help his team on offense, and he also can shoot the ball from the outside.  He was active in scoring on tip-ins off of offensive rebounds, and he also can knock down mid-range jumpers.  He struggled to consistently score out of the post when he wouldn’t get foul calls, but he was able to take advantage of getting foul calls to consistently get to the free throw line. 

In this game, he didn’t seem to make any noteworthy passes but he showed that he can handle the ball, especially for a player his size.  On one play though though, after getting the ball on a short roll to the post, he ended up having the ball stolen away from him to commit a turnover.

He also did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He also played satisfactory defense.  He was able to intercept a pass to get a steal.  He almost was able to block a shot off of a drive, but his teammate had committed a foul earlier on the play beforehand, so it didn’t count.  On the downside end, sometimes he wouldn’t get back on defense, which would lead his team to allow opponents to score on fast breaks.

Overall, Aaron Bradshaw played well, although he did seem to be the beneficiary of being given some generous foul calls by the officials.  He is a strong, skilled big man that can score inside and out.  He’ll need to improve his playmaking skills, and he’ll need to improve his mobility, especially on the defensive end.  He could be poised to have a strong freshman season, and he could end up being a solid pick for an NBA team in the late first to the second round range in the 2023 draft.

Auburn’s 6-0 incoming freshman point guard, Aden Holloway had a strong showing to help lead the East to a win in this game. He is a versatile, agile scorer that excelled at making shots, and he also defended well.

Holloway showed a satisfactory ability to score on quick, aggressive drives to the hoop, and he also was able to score on a crafty floater early on.  He also shot the ball very well, especially from downtown.  Holloway was able to score on a deep, pull-up three, and he also made an open, spot-up three off the catch.

He also displayed adequate playmaking skills.  Holloway did a good job of throwing long outlet passes to set up scoring chances for his teammates on the break.  On the downside, he would sometimes struggle to make plays when pressured.  On one play when he was doubled and trapped, he threw a weak pass that ended up getting deflected and intercepted.

Holloway did a decent job of rebounding the basketball.  He also defended very well.  Holloway was able to pick off a pair of passes to get steals, and he also jumped on a loose ball that his teammate poked away to help his team get another.  Overall, Aden Holloway is a skilled combo guard that can score and defend.  He’ll need to do a better job of running the offense in a half-court set, and he’ll need to show that he can guard taller players on a consistent basis. Still, he could likely make a solid impact at the collegiate level next season, and he could be a solid player for an NBA team if he’s available for them to select in the second round of the 2024 draft.

Oklahoma State’s 6-9 incoming freshman big man, Brandon Garrison also played well in this game.  He is an athletic, energetic forward that thrived at making hustle plays to help his team on both ends of the floor.  He thrived at scoring on hustle plays.  Garrison would run the floor to score on powerful dunks.  He also scored on a tip-in as well as on a roll to the rim.  He Laos scored on a turnaround, fadeaway jumper out of the post.

He also is an unselfish player that can pass out of the post to find the open man.  He also was able to haul in boards on both ends of the floor to chip in on the glass.  He also played satisfactory defense in this game.  Garrison was able to block a shot off of a drive, and he also intercepted a pass to get a steal.  He also was able to contest a three to force a miss.  However, on one play, he was late to defend on a cut, which led him to commit a foul.  He also gave up too much space to a shooter another time, which led his opponent to score on a long two.

Overall, Brandon Garrison had a solid showing, and he is an athletic, high-motor player that did a good job of making plays in the paint.  He will need to extend his shooting range and work on his jump shot and ball-handling skills.  He might be a bit of a tweener at higher levels, as he may be in between forward positions, so improving his outside shot could come in handy for him later on.  He reminds me of Golden State’s forward, JaMychal Green, and if he works hard to develop his jump shot over time, Garrison could end up becoming an effective role player in the NBA in the future.

Okay Performances (8)

Colorado’s 6-8 incoming freshman swingman, Cody Williams had some good moments in this game.  He excelled at attacking the hoop to score, and he also defended well.  He didn’t make any threes nor grab many rebounds, however, but he generally played fairly well in this game.

Williams showed a knack for scoring on fast breaks.  He was able to score on a high-flying dunk on the break, and he would often draw free throws other times when getting the ball in transition.  He also was able to drive in to score on a quick dunk.  However, sometimes he would struggle to score in traffic, especially when he wouldn’t get foul calls, and he also missed both of the threes he took on offense.

He also showed off adequate playmaking skills.  He is an athletic player that can pass and handle the basketball, and he was able to throw a long, accurate outlet pass to set up a score for a teammate on the break.  Though he didn’t grab many boards in this game, Williams was able to get a board on each end of the floor.  He also defended very well.  Williams would apply considerable ball pressure to make it difficult for his opponents to handle the basketball.  He also managed to block a shot off of a drive hard out of bounds, and he also deflected a pass another time.

Overall, Cody Williams played fairly well in this game.  He was the beneficiary of getting favorable calls in this game, and there were times where it seemed as though as if he got his shot blocked or missed, but he was able to get foul calls to get to the free throw line, which worked heavily in his favor.  He’s an athletic, energetic forward that can make hustle plays on both ends of the floor, but he’ll need to improve his jump shot.  Even so, he may be a high upside prospect, and he could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the first round range of the 2024 draft.

Iowa State’s 6-8 incoming freshman forward, Omaha Biliew also played fairly well in this game. He generally thrived at making hustle plays, and he was able to make plays in limited minutes.

Biliew was able to use a drop step move to score out of the post.  He also made a deep three off the catch.  He especially thrived at scoring on off-ball motion plays.  Biliew also managed to score on a back door cut, and he also caught a long pass and drew free throws after trying to throw down a dunk on the break.

Also, Biliew generally passed and handled the ball well, and he was able to make a drive and dish pass to notch an assist.  On the downside, he didn’t grab any rebounds in this game.  He also defended well.  Biliew would poke balls away to get steals and deflections, and he is a long, rangy defender that can bother opposing ball handlers with his length and athleticism.  He also held his ground when defending in the post and contested the shot to force a miss. However, he also committed a bad foul on a three-point shooter another time, as he closed out too hard on that play.

Overall, Omaha Biliew played fairly well, and he is an athletic, versatile player that can score and defend in games.  He’ll need to be a more assertive player on the floor, but he is a skilled player that could end up being a solid pick for an NBA team in the first round of the 2024 draft.

Baylor’s 6-5 incoming freshman guard, Ja’Kobe Walter is an athletic, energetic player that excelled as a shot maker and defender, but he also was a bit turnover prone and didn’t grab as many rebounds as anticipated in this game.

Walter showed a decent ability to score off the dribble, and he also excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He used a drop step move to score on a put back, and he also ran the floor to score on a high-flying dunk.  He also made a quick, spot-up three off the catch to showcase his long-range shooting skills.

As a playmaker, he looked to be about average, though.  He didn’t seem to show great court vision, and he didn’t seem to handle the ball especially well, either.  On one good play, he made a drive and dish pass to find a cutter to notch an assist.  However, he tended to be inaccurate on his passes.  He threw an inaccurate lob that went off the glass and to a different teammate, and he also threw a no-look pass that got intercepted another time.  He drove to the mid-post, but he was indecisive and couldn’t decide on what to do after he stopped and pivoted around, which led him to commit a three seconds in the key violation.

Though he didn’t get many boards in this game, Walter was able to get a board on each end of the floor.  He also defended well.  Walter dove for a loose ball on the ground to help his team get a steal, and he also poked a ball away to nearly help his team get another.  He also contested a three to force a miss.  On the other hand, there was one play where he got beat off the dribble, and while he stayed with the play, he fouled the opponent that led to his team to give up the basket and an extra free throw.

Overall, Ja’Kobe Walter had a fairly solid showing, and he showed promise as a shot maker and defender in this game.  He’ll need to improve his playmaking skills and show that he can be a consistent outside shooter, but he may be a high upside prospect that could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the first round of the 2024 draft. 

It’s an exciting time for UConn basketball, as they just made it to the Final Four recently, and they also will be able to get 6-6 incoming freshman swingman, Stephon Castle to play for them next year.  Castle excelled as a shooter, scorer, and defender, but was a bit turnover prone, and didn’t get many boards in this game.

He shot the ball very well.  Castle showed a knack for scoring on fast breaks, and he also managed to score on a strong drive to the hoop while getting fouled.  He also was able to dribble off of a screen to make a pull-up three from downtown.

As a playmaker, he looked to be about average at best.  Castle is a player that can pass and handle the basketball.  He was able to make a drive and kick pass to get an assist.  He also threw an outlet pass to set up a scoring chance for a teammate on the break.  On the downside, he would sometimes be careless with the ball on offense.  He dribbled off himself carelessly as he lost the ball out of bounds once.  He also threw a careless lead pass that got intercepted another time.

He didn’t grab many boards, but he was able to get a pair of defensive rebounds in this game.  Castle also defended very well.  He excelled at picking off passes to get steals, and he would contest threes to force misses.  Overall, Stephon Castle is an agile, skilled swingman that can make shots and defend.  He’ll need to take better care of the basketball, but he is a versatile player that could end up being a first round pick in the 2024 draft.

Oregon’s 6-7 incoming freshman swingman, Mookie Cook played fairly well in this game.  He is an athletic, energetic player that thrived at making plays on both ends of the floor.  He thrived at scoring on hustle plays, as well as he was able to score off of a cut, on a put back, and in transition.  He missed on an open corner three however, and it remains to be seen if he can play nearly as well in a half-court offense.

He also showed off satisfactory playmaking skills.  Cook showed that he can pass off the dribble, and he also can handle the basketball.  However, he had a ball poked off of himself out of bounds that led to a turnover once.

Plus, he also did a decent job of rebounding the basketball.  Also, Cook was able to rotate to help force a ball-handling turnover on the defensive end, another time.  Overall, Cook is an athletic, energetic forward that excelled at making hustle plays.  He’ll need to improve his jump shot and shot creation skills, but his ability to make plays and pass the basketball could enable him to go in the late first to the second round range of the 2024 draft.

I was expecting Oregon’s 6-9 incoming, super skilled freshman forward, Kwame Evans to either dominate or have a strong showing in this game.  Unfortunately, I found his play to be relatively disappointing at this event, but he still played well defensively, and he was at his best at making energetic plays on both ends of the floor.  However, he didn’t make many shots, and he didn’t make any threes or show the long-range potential that he seemed to showcase in his high school games.

Evans was able to go coast to coast to score on a drive in transition while getting fouled to get an extra free throw.  He also ran in to draw free throws on a put back after getting an offensive rebound.  On the downside, he had trouble knocking down long two-pointers, and he couldn’t seem to find his shooting touch from the outside.

He also showcased adequate playmaking skills.  Evans is a tall, athletic forward that can handle the basketball.  He also threw an interior pass to a cutter to set up a scoring chance for his teammate.  However, he would sometimes throw hasty passes that would end up getting intercepted.

Also, he was able to get his fair share of boards to help chip in on the glass.  Evans also defended very well.  He was able to quickly jump a pass to get a steal.  He also poked a ball away to a teammate to help his team get another steal.  He also would use his length and positioning to contest outside shots to force misses.

Overall, Kwame Evans had his ups and downs, but he still was able to make some solid hustle plays, which included a coast to coast basket that he scored while getting the and one midway through this match.  He’ll need to be a more consistent outside shooter and he’ll need to improve his passing ability, but his athleticism, versatility, and upside could make him an intriguing option for NBA teams to consider for the 2024 draft.

Kentucky’s 6-3 incoming freshman guard, Reed Sheppard had a decent showing in this game.  He was able to make some plays to help his team on both ends of the floor in limited minutes and with limited touches on offense.  He didn’t shoot the ball very often, but he managed to score on a drive off of a dribble handoff, and he also scored on a two-handed dunk on the break to show off better athleticism and hops than anticipated.

He also passed the ball well, as he generally showed that he can pass off the dribble and on the break, but he also threw a bad pass another time that got intercepted.  Also, Sheppard also did a solid job of rebounding the basketball.  He also defended well.  He would get his hands on passes to help his team get steals and deflections.  He also managed to swipe a ball away when defending in the backcourt to get a steal another time. However, there was one play where he committed a bad foul on a three-point shooter due to over-aggressiveness.

Overall, Reed Sheppard didn’t seem to play very much, but he seemed to play well in limited minutes.  He is a versatile guard that excelled at making plays on both ends of the floor.  While he may not be an elite athlete, he didn’t seem to possess any glaring flaws in his game, and he could end up being a solid pick for an NBA team in the late first to the second round of the 2024 draft.

Duke’s 6-3 incoming freshman point guard, Jared McCain passed the ball very well in this game.  He didn’t shoot or defend quite as well, but he did a great job as a facilitator on offense.  McCain showed a knack for making dribble, mid-range jumpers, and he also used a ball fake to score on a smooth drive to the hoop another time.  While he did make an open corner three once, McCain wasn’t inconsistent in making threes, and he missed too many in this game.

McCain showed off good playmaking skills.  He sees the floor very well, and he excelled at passing off the dribble as well as out of the post to rack up assists.  He can find teammates on the move, and he’ll probe the defenses to consistently find the open man.  On the own side, he struggled defensively.  He had trouble keeping up with quicker guards at times, he would tend to be late on his rotations or to get back on defense, which would lead his team to give up fast break dunks.

Overall, Jared McCain had his ups and downs, but he was able to make some exciting plays to help the West in this game.  Duke fans should be very excited about getting McCain next year, and he’s basically like a Tyrese Proctor-clone.  McCain isn’t an elite athlete and he’ll need to be a more consistent outside shooter and will need to improve his defense, but his strong playmaking skills and court sense could enable him to be a second round pick in the 2024 draft.

Lackluster Performances (8)

Duke’s 6-8 incoming freshman forward, Sean Stewart had his ups and downs, as his play was inconsistent at this event.  He won the dunk contest earlier, but he didn’t shoot the ball very well in this game.

Stewart was active at scoring on hustle plays.  He generally thrived at scoring on put backs, and he also ran the floor to score on a high-flying dunk.  Stewart also pulled up to make an open long two another time.  Sometimes though, he would try to be too fancy on offense, and he struggled to score in traffic at times.  He also missed on a tough, fadeaway jumper out of the post.

He also passed the ball well.  He was able to throw a long outlet pass to help set up a score for a teammate.  Stewart rebounded the ball very well.  He also played adequate defense.  He is an athletic forward that would contest shots to force misses.  On one play though, he bit on a pump fake, which led him to foul a mid-range jump shooter.

Overall, Stewart is an athletic, energetic forward, but he will need to improve his jump shot and play more under control on offense.  He may be a high upside prospect, and he could be an intriguing prospect for NBA teams to keep an eye on in the future.

6-11 G-League Ignite-bound swingman, Matas Buzelis may be said to be an early contender to be the top pick for the 2024 draft, but he certainly didn’t play like a potential future top pick in this game.  I was mostly surprised that he didn’t start, but his play was not memorable, and he didn’t seem to show much of the skill that was hyped from him, as he was also turnover prone on offense.

Though he didn’t take many shots in this game, Buzelis was very efficient as an inside scorer with limited touches on offense.  He ran in to score on a strong put back dunk, and he also scored on another put back off of an offensive rebound.  However, he didn’t look to take outside shots, and he wasn’t able to try to score off the dribble in this game.

He also was very turnover prone in this game.  When dribbling to the post, he threw a hasty pass back that got intercepted.  He also tried bringing the ball up, but then had a ball stolen away from him that led to another turnover.

He also showed a satisfactory ability to rebound the basketball, and Buzelis was active as an offensive rebounder.  He also played adequate defense.  Buzelis was able to deflect a pass to nearly get a steal.  Another time though, he struggled to fight through a screen, and his team ended up giving up a corner three to an opponent.

Overall, Buzelis didn’t make a big impact on this game, and he seemed to fade into the background a bit too much.  Hopefully, he’ll play better in the G-League next season than how he did in this game.  In this game, Buzelis was just too passive, and he didn’t always make good decisions with the ball in his hands on offense.  He’ll need to show that he can ably create his own shot, make shots and plays on offense.  Maybe he might be talented enough to still be a lottery pick, but he certainly didn’t seem to play like a future lottery pick in this game, as he just didn’t show enough offensive skill or upside at this event.

Duke’s 6-8 incoming freshman forward, Mackenzie Mgbako didn’t play much in this game.  He didn’t really stand out, but he was able to score on a quick put back on offense.  However, he struggled to knock down jumpers, and he didn’t shoot the ball very well.

He was able to throw a sharp interior pass to find a cutter once.  However, on a drive in transition, he had a ball poked off himself that led him to turn the ball over.  He didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, but he was able to get a pair of defensive boards.  He also played adequate defense in this game.  He was able to contest a three to force a miss.  Overall, Mgbako is an agile, skilled forward that has some playmaking and defensive skills, but he’ll need to improve his jump shot and be more assertive on offense, but he could be a player to watch in the future.

Kansas’ 6-3 incoming freshman guard, Elmarko Jackson had his ups and downs in this game, but he was able to make some solid plays on offense. Jackson was able to run the floor to score on a powerful dunk.  He also scored on a quick drive, and he also used a jab step to make a three-pointer to show his versatility as a scorer.  However, he would sometimes get his shots blocked when driving to the hoop.

He also was turnover prone on offense.  For the positives, Jackson was able to make a drive and kick pass to notch an assist, and he also was able to throw an accurate pass to a cutter to set up a scoring chance another time.  However, he would sometimes throw inaccurate passes that would go astray, which would lead him to commit turnovers.  He also didn’t grab many rebounds in this game.  On defense, he didn’t seem to make many noteworthy plays, but on one play, he got beat off the dribble, which led him to commit a reach-in foul.

Overall, Jackson is an athletic combo guard that can shoot and score the basketball, but he’ll need to show NBA teams that he can reliably run the point, and he’ll need to work on his defense in the meantime.  He’ll need time to work on his game, but he could end up making it to the NBA if he can continually improve over time.

Michigan State’s 6-1 incoming freshman point guard, Jeremy Fears had his ups and downs in this game.  He passed and handled the ball well, and he can throw long passes to find teammates on the move to rack up assists.  However, he didn’t shoot the ball very well, and he missed all of the shots he took in this game, and he was held scoreless.

He didn’t grab many rebounds in this game.  Fears played satisfactory defense, and he would poke balls away to make it difficult for opposing ball handlers.  Overall, Fears is a solid facilitator that has good court vision, but he’ll need to improve his jump shot and ability to score on offense.  He’ll likely need time to work on his game in college, but he could end up being a second round pick in a future draft if he can continually improve over time.

Michigan State’s 6-10 incoming freshman big man, Xavier Booker had his ups and downs in this game. He looked to score on hustle plays, and he also was active in contesting shots to force misses, but he didn’t shoot well from the outside, nor rebound well.  He is an athletic big man that can make plays on the interior, but he will need to improve his jump shot, playmaking, and rebounding skills, but he could be a player to watch in the future.

Arkansas’ 6-11 incoming freshman center, Baye Fall didn’t make a major impact on this game.  He’s an interior player that wasn’t able to get a consistent footing in this match, and he didn’t make a field goal in this event.  He seemed to be at his best when looking to score on hustle plays, but he had trouble finishing plays around the basket.  

Fall also rebounded well.  Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  He was able to contest fadeaway jumpers to force misses.  However, he would be late to defend on switches and wouldn’t effectively communicate to his teammates on screens, which would lead his team to commit fouls and allow scores.  He also struggled to defend an opponent in the post, which led him to commit a foul that time.

Overall, he didn’t have a great game.  He’ll need to be a more skilled scorer on offense and will need to be more assertive in games.  Still, he has good size combined with above average athletic gifts, and he could project to be a rim protector at the NBA level.

Stanford’s 6-6 incoming freshman swingman, Andrej Stojakovic is the son of former Sacramento Kings’ superstar forward, Peja Stojakovic.  Andrej Stojakovic didn’t shoot the ball very well though, and he didn’t seem to have a big impact on this game.

Stojakovic was able to make an open three off of a kick out.  He also used a spin move to score on a smooth layup off the dribble.  However, he was streaky with his outside shot, and he also had his shot blocked on a drive to the rim another time.

He also passed the ball well.  Stojakovic was able to throw a quick pass to find the open man.  Overall, Stojakovic is a mobile, skilled swingman that can score in a variety of ways.  He’ll need to be a more consistent shooter on the floor, and he’ll need to show that he can guard upper-echelon opponents. He may not be a high ceiling prospect, as he may only be an average athlete and he didn’t seem to be elite in any one skill in this game, but his ability to make shots could enable him to project into a shooting specialist role in the NBA in the future.

All in all, those were my thoughts on how players fared in this game.  This game may serve as a glimpse into the future, but the 2024 NBA Draft is still a long ways away. Thanks for reading.

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