Evans stars in McDonald’s game
Babbitt receives Naismith Award for sportsmanship
AP and Staff Reports
MILWAUKEE – Tyreke Evans relishes the spotlight as the nation’s top uncommitted recruit even if he hinted he’s already made up his mind.
Still, he did plenty to elevate his profile among the four teams considered still in the running – Memphis, Connecticut, Villanova and Texas.
“I’m making my decision on April 16,” said Evans, who finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead the East to a 107-102 victory over the West in the McDonald’s All-American High School Basketball boys game on Wednesday night.
Galena High’s Luke Babbitt had four points, two rebounds, one assist and one blocked shot in the game. Babbitt also received the Naismith Award for Sportsmanship and Citizenship. The award is chosen by players and coaches involved in the game.
Is Evans making his decision or announcing his decision?
“I’m announcing my decision,” Evans said with a chuckle and without elaborating on his choice.
Evans, a 6-foot-6 guard who won the Most Valuable Player award, took over late in the second half after the East closed the West’s lead to 82-80.
He had a series of slashing drives to the basket to open a 95-88 lead, none more impressive than when he faked out a defender and forced his way through Demar DeRozen, drawing a foul as he made the basket.
“I knew it was going to be tough coming out going against the top guys I was going against,” Evans said. “So I know all the hard work I put in at the gym it paid off.”
Evans, who went 9-of-15 from the field, missed the ensuing free throw, but the East stretched the lead back to 99-88 with 3:29 left and the West never got closer than the final margin.
Willie Warren, headed to Oklahoma, scored 10 straight points for the West on a 10-2 run that made it 82-80 with about nine minutes left before Evans took over. Warren finished with 23 points and three steals, including when he picked Sylven Landesberg cleanly off the dribble and sent up an outlet pass which was returned to him for a layup.
“I was trying to keep us in it so then when it came down the end of the game if we was close enough I knew Brandon (Jennings) would take over,” Warren said.
The game, which has showcased future NBA stars as LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O’Neal and Michael Jordan, played out in typical fashion with lots of offense, acrobatic dunks and a lack of consistent defense.
The East also got strong performances from Michael Rosario (18 points and five steals), Kemba Walker (13 points), Ed Davis (11 points), and Elliot Williams (10 points). For the West, DeRozen and Scotty Hopson, the other uncommitted player, scored 10 each, while B.J. Mullens added 12 points.
Greg Monroe, considered the nation’s top player by recruiting sites Rivals.com and Scout.com, had a tough game for the West, committing five turnovers and scoring one point after an 0-for-2 performance from the field. The 6-10 forward who plans to play for Georgetown had six rebounds and two blocked shots.
Jennings, one of the fastest guards in the nation and a top point guard prospect who plans to play for Arizona, had 12 points and nine assists for the West. He flashed his speed when he missed a 3 but ran down a lazy outlet pass for a steal.
Jennings saved his best play of the night for moments later, when he flipped an alley-oop pass off the backboard across the rim to Jrue Holiday for the dunk. Holiday, who will play for UCLA, finished with 14 points.
“I was trying to get the assist record,” joked Jennings, who fell short of Jacque Vaughn’s record mark of 13 set in 1993. “The experience is just great. I’m not worried about the loss. I’m just worried about my assist record a little bit. Everything else is cool, though.”