Monday, March 29, 2010
Updated: March 31, 3:17 PM ET
Barnes will show versatility
By ESPN Recruiting
Here's a look at the most intriguing matchups to watch for during the 2010 McDonald's All-American Game. The contest takes place Wednesday, March 31 (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET).
Jelan Kendrick (Marietta, Ga./Wheeler) and Doron Lamb (New York/Oak Hill) are two of the best midrange scorers in the country. Each has a terrific skill set and the athleticism to excel at the next level. Kendrick utilizes his length and savvy to convert consistently on the offensive end. Although he can hit the 3-point shot, he is at his best scoring in the midrange area with either a pull-up or a floater in the lane. In addition, he is one of the better passers in the country at his size. Like Kendrick, Lamb is deadly in the midrange area. He has a slick handle to get by opponents and can really slash to the rim -- not to mention he is one of the better pull-up jump shooters in the nation. While Kendrick has more upside -- due to his length and intriguing skill set -- Lamb has a better mental approach to the game. Kendrick has a tendency to float too much during games and lacks that killer instinct at times. Lamb, on the other hand, approaches each challenge with an even keel. His jump shot may be streaky, but he plays hard at both ends each and every possession.
If these two match up against one another, watch out! Harrison Barnes (Ames, Iowa) is the epitome of a smooth wing. He can do everything you want a wing player to do with no wasted motion. CJ Leslie (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) is a super athletic combo forward. In their past showdowns, Leslie has played Barnes better than anyone else in the country. He is so athletic and long that he can stay with Barnes. He loves the challenge of going against the top-rated player in the country. Barnes is not soft, so he gives it all back to Leslie on the other end of the court. Leslie loves to drive and dunk from the wing, so Barnes plays him for the drive. Leslie has improved his midrange game, so he can hit the 15-footer on the move.
These two scoring point guards have great size and matching strength. They both can put up big numbers and win high school games by themselves. They play with great toughness and compete on both ends of the floor. It will be fun to see who attacks whom first and how the other responds. Josh Selby (Baltimore/Lake Clifton) attacks the rim with touch and body control and can finish over or around multiple defenders. Brandon Knight (Coral Springs, Fla./Pine Crest) has improved his shooting at a steady rate. With his excellent first step he keeps defenders on the retreat. Selby is more explosive, but Knight is physically stronger. They both can get it going and make plays that can bring a crowd to its feet. Knight has been a bit more consistent on both the club and AAU circuit.
This matchup will showcase Terrence Jones' power and strength versus the super skills of Tobias Harris (Dix Hills, N.Y./Half Hallow Hills West). It'll be interesting to see who can guard whom. Both players have good strength, but they get it done. They both can play inside and out and beat the opposition in the post and off the bounce. Both Harris and Jones (Portland/Jefferson) also rebound extremely well and can start the break from the forward position. Jones (he is put together like an NFL defensive end) is the more physical of the two while the lanky Harris is smooth and versatile. You have to admire Harris for the way he has transformed his body over the years. His work ethic has paid off in the past year.
This showdown will feature two high-scoring wings. Keith Appling (Detroit/Pershing), a quick, scoring wing, will try to attack Reggie Bullock (Kinston, N.C.) off the dribble and utilize his midrange game. Bullock, who boasts much better size at 6-foot-6, should attempt to shoot over the smaller Appling. They each have a different approach, but this matchup will showcase two players with great offensive skill sets. Each one of these players can score in bunches when he's on.