The annual McDonald’s All-American Game is a national showcase for the most talented high school basketball players in the country. Basketball fans around the world get a chance to take a glimpse at future pro basketball stars before they even step onto a college campus. NBA superstars like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Carmelo Anthony have all competed in the highly touted game.
For most high school players, being named a McDonald’s All-American is a crowning achievement that is a sign of how highly regarded they are on the national circuit. There is no doubt that in two years you will see some of the athletes in this game playing on a professional level. Some of these players only intend to suit up for their college basketball program for one year before testing the NBA waters. This “one and done” trend has been pretty consistent since the NBA ruled that a player must be at least a year removed from graduating high school before entering the draft. Prior to this rule, you had players make the leap to the NBA straight from high school.
The 2017 high school basketball class is loaded with talent and potential lottery picks in the 2019 NBA Draft. Here are a few names you should probably get used to hearing because they will more than likely be playing in the league very soon.
Michael Porter Jr.
The MVP of the 2017 McDonald’s All-American game, Michael Porter Jr. is widely regarded as the top recruit in the nation. A smooth shooting guard in a 6-foot-8-inch, 215-pound frame, Porter Jr. compares his game to that of a superstar player who jumped straight from high school to the NBA, Tracy McGrady. He played for Nathan Hale High school in Seattle and led them to a 29-0 record and a Washington state championship. He was coached by former NBA star Brandon Roy and was named the national player of the year while Roy was named national coach of the year.
Nathan Hale had a 3-18 record prior to the arrival of both Roy and Porter Jr. That just shows the immediate impact Michael Porter Jr. can have on a basketball program. This is exactly why scouts are drooling over his potential.
Michael Porter Jr. had previously committed to the Washington Huskies until they fired head coach Lorenzo Romar who was also Michael’s godfather. He is now committed to the University of Missouri. It will only be a matter of time before we see him shaking hands with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as a first-round draft pick.
Bamba is the type of player that only comes along once in a blue moon. The Harlem native sports an utterly ridiculous 7-foot-9-inch wingspan to go with a 9-foot-7-inch standing reach. At 6-foot-11-inches, with those measurements, he presents a nightmare for coaches to gameplan for. He has the potential to be an elite level post defender in the NBA because of his physical tools alone.
Not to mention that Mohamed Bamba is super quick, can run the floor, and has the hops to match. He is currently the third-ranked player in the class of 2017 and he is undecided on which college he will attend next season. He has narrowed his list down to four schools: Duke, Texas, Michigan, and Kentucky. Whichever program ends up signing Mohamed Bamba will definitely get an absolute physical specimen that can be a game-changer on both ends of the floor.
DeAndre Ayton is currently ranked as the No. 2 prospect in the class of 2017 but that may change before the year is over. The 7-foot center from the Bahamas has a nice shooting stroke to go with a 7-foot-6-inch wingspan. Ayton has absolutely dominated the high school circuit and had one performance where he accumulated 52 points, 33 rebounds, and 10 blocks against Sunrise Christian with Kansas head coach Bill Self in attendance. That’s a triple double that even NBA superstars James Harden and Russell Westbrook can’t reach. A big man that puts up video game numbers like that is bound to make himself millions of dollars playing professional basketball in the NBA.
DeAndre Ayton announced that he will be playing for the Arizona Wildcats next season. Adding him to an already talented core could mean big things for the Arizona program and possibly a potential run at the NCAA Championship next season.
With so much talent headed for the NBA in just a couple of short seasons, the entire landscape could change. After watching the 2017 McDonald’s All-American Game, it’s easy to see why NBA teams would be willing to trade some pretty decent players recently in exchange for higher draft picks in the upcoming NBA Drafts.
[Featured Image by David Banks/Stringer/Getty Images]