Before we begin the McDonalds All-American game media notebook, I just want to say RIP to Sun-Times columnist, UI alum, iconic journalist and great man Roger Ebert. His life achievements were too many to list, and his passing is much bigger news than any basketball game. As an Illinois alum, I recommend you read one famous UI alum, Will Leitch writing about a legendary UI alum in Ebert. And also read the Sun-Times tribute on his life/passing.
-From now on, we'll refer to the McDonalds All-American game by it's hashtag/Twitter name MCDAAG. Not only for brevity's sake, but because right now I'm like Ringo Starr: "I'm warning you with peace and love that I have too much to do."
-The MCDAAG is a special event, and Chicago is the perfect place for it. It’s the third straight year that the United Center hosted the preps All-Star game, and it will remain here till at least 2015. And Chicago basketball icons have played in the event: Anthony Davis (’11), Michael Jordan (’81, the UC statue had a MCDAAG jersey on it yesterday), Derrick Rose ’06.
-Chicago’s very own Jabari Parker had his homecoming party at the home of the Chicago Bulls. After winning four state titles with the Simeon Wolverines, he will play for the Duke Blue Devils at the next level. Here’s my exclusive with him at Media Day. We talk Simeon, Duke Derrick Rose and more. Had he committed to the Illini or DePaul instead, attendance last night might have been better...
...Official United Center attendance was 15,818. It was a record 20,019 in ’11 & 16,308 in ’10. This game also would also have been more of a local draw if any future Illini were in it. Jereme Richmond '09 and Dee Brown '02 are the only MCDAA from this millenium.
Jabari Parker said the game was like homecoming while his four state championships were like prom. “homecoming’s great but prom’s better.”
-Jabari Parker may be a good soundbite, but man listening to Andrew Wiggins giving an interview...is like listening to Russell Crowe sing. My video of him on YouTube is not getting a very favorable reception. But Wiggins put on quite a show.
-From the Orlando Sentinel:
Jay Williams, the former Duke and Chicago Bulls guard who was helping call the event that was broadcast by ESPNU, tweeted the following after the stunning display: “That Andrew Wiggins dunks was absolutely naaaaaaaaaasttttttyyyy. Please tell me ya’ll saw it?”
As part of a dunk competition featuring America’s top high school basketball talent — Wiggins is from Canada originally, but played at a prep school based out of Huntington, W. Va. — the 6-foot-8 high school senior went in between his legs before completing a reverse 180-degree turn while in flight.
Will Andrew Wiggins choose the Florida State Seminoles, Kansas Jayhawks, or North Carolina Tar Heels? Or will he be like EVERY other blue-chip recruit in this class and head to Big Blue Nation? (The Kentucky Wildcats) Wiggins led the East team with 19 points in 24 minutes. The West won 110-99.
-Looking at the McDAAG roster, I think of the Elvis Presley song “Kentucky Rain” although it would be spelled “Kentucky Reign.” KY broke the record for total McdAAs in one recruiting class. And they still might get Wiggins. Either way there will be HIGH expectations, as they’ll bring in the highest rated recruiting class ever. Obviously, they’ll be the #1 team in the college preseason.
-Finally, this is a Bulls note, a Derrick Rose note. Rather mean and just ouch, babe. But still very funny. And given the Derrick Rose storylines this year, we could all use a good laugh.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, a Google News site generating millions of visitors. He’s an author who also contributes regularly to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, Walter Football.com and Yardbarker
Banks has appeared on Comcast SportsNet and the History Channel, as well as Clear Channel, ESPN and CBS radio all over the world. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@PaulMBanks)
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