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Event Preview: 2022 McDonald's All-American Game


In the latest edition of ‘P.I. Pulse’, Pro Insight’s Michael Visenberg previews one of the most storied high school basketball events in the country, the McDonald's All-American Game, analyzing each participant's journey as well as forecasting their longterm projections leading up to the 45th annual MCDAAG in Chicago, Illinois:


The McDonald’s All-American game has held the status as one of the highest levels of prestige for high school basketball prospects since its inception in 1977. It has produced countless NBA prospects and calendar-wise, the MCDAAG usually kicks off the high school all-star circuit and drives buzz for the next NBA draft class. Even with the game being canceled and just a symbolic gesture the past two years due to COVID-19, the alumni list of current and/or projected NBA players has continued to grow.

This McDonald’s class has been affected by COVID-19 as well, with past high school seasons and summers operating far from normal. The 2022 class lost a few likely recipients when top prospects Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren reclassified to 2021 (both competed for Memphis this season), with Shaedon Sharpe’s late reclassification and enrollment at Kentucky being yet another example (Note: check out our ‘Film Study’ breakdown on Shaedon, here). Some players who were likely selections also went the professional route, with Sterling “Scoot” Henderson joining the G League Ignite program, and three other likely selections going to Overtime Elite in the Thompson twins, Amen and Ausar, along with Jazian Gortman. Also, as is the case with the McDonald’s All-American game, multiple top fifth-year high school players were not eligible, removing top prospects Kyle Filipowski (Wilbraham & Monson Academy/Duke commit) and Yohan Traore (Dream City Christian/Undecided after decommitment from LSU) from consideration.

While the criteria for selection isn’t public, and the selection committee is under a code of secrecy, it is filled with a lot of major players in the world of grassroots basketball. The game is a career achievement and it’s something these players don’t take lightly as they work toward the designation. However, a lot of weight seems to historically be put into the summer before a candidate’s senior season in AAU basketball, when they are playing on more of a national scale and most of the committee can get to events to see them play. With the summers being far from normal in 2020 and 2021 with most of the major shoe circuits shut down or severely condensed, this past summer likely played an even larger role than normal.

With the 2022 rendition set to be played March 29 at Wintrust Arena in Chicago, it feels appropriate to become familiarized with what each nominee did to warrant their spot in the storied all-star game. Below, we’ll look at what each player may have done last summer to solidify their MCDAAG roster spot. We'll also look ahead as we project each prospect into the future. With this game being a launching pad of sorts for so many past and present pros, this article should serve as a helpful precursor as to what the 2022 McDonald’s All-American game participants have to offer.

East

Jaden Bradley | Guard | IMG Academy (FL) | Alabama commit

First ranked on 247 Composite: 7th (9/12/19)

Current rank on 247 Composite: 17th (1/20/22)

AAU Team: Team CP3 (Nike)

How he became an All-American: Bradley had long been considered one of the state of North Carolina’s best players and was near the top of the class nationally when he left Cannon School (NC) for IMG Academy (FL) as a junior. Bradley went on to lead the 2021 Nike EYBL in assists, and was named All-EYBL Peach Jam Honorable Mention, per The Circuit. Bradley will be playing in the GEICO High School Nationals on number-two ranked IMG Academy to close out his high school career.


What to expect moving forward: With Nate Oats possibly losing multiple guards to the professional ranks, Bradley will be expected to contribute right away regardless of who stays or goes. He has shown an ability to run the pick-and-roll, has finishing craft and his size at the point should help him contribute as a defender. Bradley is a streaky range shooter and while he is not the bounciest guard, he has functional quickness that should help him get to his spots. He may not be a lock to be a one-and-done at Alabama, though it’s only a matter of time before he’s fully on the NBA radar.

Dereck Lively II | Big | Westtown School (PA) | Duke commit

First ranked on 247 Composite: 27th (9/12/19)

Current rank on 247 Composite: 1st (1/20/22)

AAU Team: Team Final (Nike)

How he became an All-American: Though Lively was on the radar from a young age, he really rose up the rankings right before summer 2021 hit and he was featured in a Team Final (PA) frontcourt with likely 2022 NBA draft lottery pick Jalen Duren. Lively kept growing, both in terms of size and skill, throughout his high school career, now to the point where he is close to 7’2” with rim protection and developing offensive ability. The 2022 Morgan Wootten Player of the Year, Lively is very enticing as it is very rare to find someone with his combination of size, vertical pop and movement.

What to expect moving forward: With what we have seen in the development of Mark Williams during his time at Duke, Coach Jon Scheyer should have a great blueprint of how to develop Lively. This should lead to a lot of lobs, touches in the dunker spot and responsibility as Duke’s back line of defense at the rim. Lively has an exciting two-way ceiling, though using his size and athleticism to his advantage in the paint should really benefit him early on in Durham. He should provide immediate rebounding and rim protection, with his skill and development at the offensive end serving as icing on the cake. Just how quickly he rounds into form and continues to develop will be the difference in when he’ll hear his name called on draft night in June 2023.


Duke-bound big man Dereck Lively II. Credit: McDonald's All-American Games

Chris Livingston | Wing | Oak Hill Academy (VA) | Kentucky commit

First ranked on 247 Composite: 3rd (9/12/19)

Current rank on 247 Composite: 7th (1/20/22)

AAU Team: W.A.C.G (Adidas)

How he became an All-American: The latest superstar high school player from prep powerhouse Oak Hill Academy (VA) to participate in the McDonald’s All-American was proclaimed early on by many as the most talented player to come out of Akron, Ohio since LeBron James. Livingston was named MVP of the 2019 U16 FIBA Americas and has been considered among the top in the country since the inception of the 2022 class rankings. Known for his strength, athleticism and scoring ability, Livingston led both We All Can Go (TN) and Oak Hill in scoring. Oak Hill is a number-five seed in this year’s GEICO Nationals tournament, where Livingston will look to send off legendary coach Steve Smith on a high note.

What to expect moving forward: The last time Kentucky had a wing with the physical profile of Livingston likely dates back a few years to Keldon Johnson in 2018-19. While Livingston may not have the shooting profile of Johnson at the same stage, he should bring some physicality as a defender along with his ability to drive and finish through contact. The key with Livingston is rounding out his all-around ability, in terms of playing without the ball and finding more ways to impact the game if he is not scoring. He will have a role at Kentucky from day one and is a candidate to become yet another one-and-done from #BBN.


Brandon Miller | Wing | Cane Ridge HS (TN) | Alabama commit

First ranked on 247 Composite: 11th (9/12/19)

Current rank on 247 Composite: 11th (1/20/22)

AAU Team: Brad Beal Elite (Nike)

How he became an All-American: Strong consistency from Miller in maintaining his spot among this class, as he has long shown flashes on both sides of the floor as a rangy 6’8” wing. He certainly has displayed an ability to earn “stocks” (steals and blocks), plus has some soft touch out to long range and can even put the ball on the floor in a straight line. Miller was named the Defensive Player of the Session at the 2021 Nike EYBL Peach Jam, along with being on the All-EYBL 2nd Team. He was the second-leading scorer on a Brad Beal Elite (MO) that made it to the Peach Jam finals.

What to expect moving forward: Even with Miller not necessarily having prototypical length for a wing, he seems to make up for it with his movement, motor and instincts as a defender. While he did not take a huge volume of outside shots in the EYBL, he has touch and seemed very comfortable shooting off the catch and dribble in what was pretty much a do-everything role at Cane Ridge (TN) this past high school season. One can envision Miller fitting the “3-and-D” archetype, though a major key for his potential 2023 draft stock will be how he can develop finishing around the basket and getting to the free throw line. There is certainly some athleticism and agility to work with, and he should be called upon early at Alabama.

Dillon Mitchell | Forward | Montverde Academy (FL) | Texas commit

First ranked on 247 Composite: 172nd (11/15/20)

Current rank on 247 Composite: 14th (1/20/22)

AAU Team: E1T1 United (Nike)

How he became an All-American: One of the major summer risers in the class of 2022,