Shabazz Muhammad, Tyler Lewis

Kentucky lands five on McDonald’s All-American Game roster


The rosters for the 2013 McDonald’s s All-American Games were released on Thursday afternoon.

To be honest, as most of the time, there were very few surprises. Five Kentucky recruits or signees made the team, a record for a single school.

The scary part? Or, if you’re a #BBN fan, the fun part, all four are on the West roster: Aaron and Andrew Harrison, James Young and Marcus Lee, with Dakari Johnson being the lone future Cat on the East. John Calipari may not be done, with Andrew Wiggins still to decide, along with Aaron Gordon.

The Kentucky Five highlight the game along with Gordon, Wiggins and Jabari Parker on the roster of 24 players set to take on one another at the United Center in Chicago.

This proves just how loaded Kentucky will be next year and also, I think showcases how a lot of other programs are catching up with the big boy teams in recruiting. UTEP, California, Washington, LSU and Arkansas have had solid, but not banner classes in recent years, but for them to place a recruit/signee on the roster says something about their program. Especially since a few of those teams aren’t expected to make the NCAA Tournament this season.

The rosters look like this (alphabetical order):

East Team

Players                      High/Prep School         College

Anthony Barber         Hampton Prep            North Carolina State

Keith Frazier               Kimball                        Undecided

Isaiah Hicks                J. F. Webb School      North Carolina

Kasey Hill                    Montverde Acad.       Florida

Demetrius Jackson   Marian H.S.                 Notre Dame

Ronde Jefferson        Chester H.S.                 Arizona 

Dakari Johnson         Montverde Acad.        Kentucky

Kennedy Meeks         West Charlotte H.S.   North Carolina

Wayne Seldon            Tilton School               Kansas

Noah Vonleh            New Hampton            Indiana

Chris Walker               Holmes Co.                 Florida

Andrew Wiggins         Huntington Prep       Undecided

West Team

Jabari Bird                   Salesian H.S.              California

Aaron Gordon             Archbishop Mitty       Undecided

Isaac Hamilton           John Bosco Prep         UTEP

Aaron Harrison          Travis H.S.                    Kentucky

Andrew Harrison       Travis H.S.                    Kentucky

Matt Jones                   DeSoto H.S.                 Duke

Marcus Lee                  Deer Valley                   Kentucky

Jarrell Martin              Madison H.S.              LSU

Jabari Parker              Simeon Acad.               Duke

Bobby Portis                Hall H.S.                       Arkansas

Nigel Williams-Goss  Findlay Prep                Washington

James Young               Rochester H.S.             Kentucky

Follow David on Twitter at @David_Harten

Michigan State playing zone? It’s possible

Tom Izzo
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Throughout Tom Izzo’s tenure at Michigan State the team’s half-court man-to-man defense has been a staple, and the Spartans have generally proven difficult to have a high rate of offensive success against. The reliance on that defense is why Izzo’s conversations earlier this summer about using some token full-court pressure due to the shortening of the shot clock caught some people off-guard.

According to the Detroit Free Press there’s another wrinkle the Spartans may use, and it’s likely that this wrinkle will show up more often than the full-court press. During Friday’s opening practice the Spartans worked on a 2-3 zone, and Izzo wants his assistants to make sure the team works on the defense consistently throughout the season.

That’s also why zone in general isn’t going to get heavy play at MSU, but having it as a tool could be beneficial — especially in games with touch fouls on the perimeter called in droves.

“I told (my assistant coaches): ‘You hold me accountable to working on it every day some’ … I have a tendency to drift off on that, and I don’t want to drift off on it,” Izzo said of the 2-3 zone. “But we will be, rest assured, a 90-some percent man-to-man team still and hopefully take some of those principles to zone.”

As noted in the story one of the risks in using pressure is allowing quality shots, which is why it’s unlikely that Michigan State will go to it. But even with Izzo vowing that his team will work on the zone, that doesn’t mean they’ll be playing it as often as Syracuse does.

Man-to-man has been Michigan State’s staple and it will continue to be. But it doesn’t hurt to look for other ways to keep opponents from getting the looks they want, especially if teams have five fewer seconds to find those shots.

Virginia used 3-on-3 to adjust to new shot clock

Malcolm Brogdon
Associated Press
Leave a comment

When the college basketball rules committee made the decision to trim the shot clock down to 30 second from 35, one reason for the switch was the desire to improve offensive production. With offensive numbers at their lowest point in years, proponents of the move see the shot clock change as a necessary move if scoring is to improve.

Whether or not that winds up being the case will be seen throughout the upcoming season, but teams are still having to make adjustments during the preseason.

Virginia, which has played at a snail’s pace (and with great success, mind you) in recent years, made some adjustments to their summer work in anticipation of playing with a 30-second shot clock. One adjustment was more games of 3-on-3 with a 15-second shot clock, which forced all involved to be more decisive in their offensive decision-making.

While the pack-line defense will always be a staple of Tony Bennett’s teams, the feeling in Charlottesville is that they’ve got the offensive firepower needed to both play faster and be more efficient offensively than they were in 2014-15 (29th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency per Ken Pomeroy). One of the players who will lead the way is senior guard Malcolm Brogdon, who led the team in scoring and was a first team All-ACC selection, and he discussed the team’s outlook with Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

And even though Anderson’s highlight-reel shot blocking was the thing that frequently fueled fast-breaks for U.Va. last season, Brogdon and [Anthony] Gill said they expect this year’s team to actually push the tempo even more.

“I think we’re going to be a team that gets out and runs more,” Brogdon said. “I think we’ll have three guards on the floor, most of the time, will be able to handle the ball as a point guard and get out in transition. I think we’ll play a lot faster.”

Brogdon and Gill are two of the team’s three returning starters with point guard London Perrantes being the other, and the Cavaliers also return most of their reserves from last year’s rotation. That experience will help them on both ends of the floor as they prepare for a run at a third straight ACC regular season title. And in theory it also allows them to extend themselves a bit more offensively than they did a season ago.