Three years ago when John Wall was rocking rims with acrobatic dunks and buckling ankles with jaw-dropping crossovers at Word of God Christian Academy (Raleigh, N.C.), Rodney Purvis, then a freshman with "the next big thing" buzz, told Wall that he wanted to follow in his footsteps and play in the same postseason all-star games that Wall did.
Tops on that list was the Jordan Brand Classic.
Purvis and 19 other top high school basketball players in the Class of 2012, representing 15 states, were selected Thursday for the 2012 Jordan Brand Classic, which will be held at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C., on April 14 (7 p.m. ET on ESPN).
"It's an honor to be a part of this game," said Purvis, an NC State signee. "It's Michael Jordan and he's the best to ever play the game, so to be picked for this is really big for me. There are a lot of great players going to a lot of great schools in this game."
North Carolina is well-represented, with three of its four-man 2012 class suiting up; Arizona also has three of its recruits in the game, while Kentucky and Providence each have two All-Americans.
"There are so many talented players in this game," said Tony Parker, a senior forward at Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.) who is undecided on his college destination. "I just love competition, so I'm excited to play against them. I know we'll have a ball down there. I can't wait."
Linn-Mar (Marion, Iowa) point guard Marcus Paige is just as eager as Parker.
Paige knows that, as a North Carolina signee, he'll be welcomed with open arms by the Tar Heel-heavy crowd.
"I know that a lot of fans will be there and we want to put on a show for them," said Paige, the top-ranked point guard in the ESPNU 100. "It's such an honor to be in this game. I'm really excited to be a part of this."
Added Menomonee Falls (Menomonee Falls, Wis.) swingman J.P. Tokoto, who's also signed to North Carolina: "The game alone is great, but to be able to play in front of the fans that will be cheering for me in college is even more special."
Still, as special as playing in the game will be, Parker is anticipating potentially an even more special moment.
"I've never met Michael Jordan before," Parker said. "I'm really looking forward to shaking his hand and talking to him."