In the inaugural All-American Championship, on April 3 at 3:00 p.m. EST on ESPN3, the North versus South match-up features talent across the board with 14 of the 20 players in the top-50, including six top-25 prospects and the best player in the event in point guard Josiah Turner (#10, Arizona) for the South squad. Here’s what to watch for in the game (which will be re-broadcasted on ESPNU at 9:00 p.m. EST).
Point Guard: B.J. Young (North) and Josiah Turner (South)
In this battle of two top-five point guards in the class of 2011, both will look to get by their opponent with their speed and quick first step along with their great ball-handling skills. Both floor generals will look to push the ball up the floor since they excel in transition and have the ability to score by themselves or hit the open cutter to the basket. Young and Turner have good mid-range games as well allowing them to hit the pull-up jumpers at the free throw line rather than having to take it to the bucket every time. It will be exciting to watch these point guards who are among the best in their class and play similar styles.
Other Point Guard(s) to watch: Kevin Ferrell (North)
Shooting Guard: Gary Harris (North) and Levi Randolph (South)
Harris is the highest rated shooting guard by far in the game, regardless of class. The aspect of his game that puts him up higher than others is his defense, which is excellent due to his length, strength, and athleticism that allow him to keep his opponent in front of him. He is also a superb slasher with great three-point range who finishes consistently at the rim. On the other hand, Randolph is a more perimeter-oriented player who is among the best scorers in the class of 2011. He knocks down shots from all over he floor and has an excellent mid-range game. He is also an excellent passer which will make this an interesting match-up due to their differing styles of play.
Other Shooting Guard(s) to watch: Dai-Jon Parker (South)
More Shooting Guards: D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera (North) and Ky Madden (South)
This game is loaded with scorers as Smith-Rivera and Madden will likely come off the bench even though they are both in the top-32 in their class. These two are similar in the sense that they are both versatile combo guards with good size and intelligence. However, Madden’s athleticism is well above Smith-Rivera’s which we will use on the defensive end in an effort to shut him down. Madden loves to get to the rim so we’ll see if Smith-Rivera can handle his athleticism in getting to the lane, something he will see a lot of at the next level.
Small Forward: Hanner Perea (North) and Rodney Hood (South)
These two small forwards will be fun to watch since Perea is the most athletic player in the class of 2012 and Hood is one of the best scorers in the class of 2011. Perea is an electrifying player with great length who excels in transition and is one of the best finishers in his class. He is able to guard multiple positions as well in the front court due to his versatility and will have a favorable match-up against Hood. However, Hood is a big-time scorer who can shoot the lights out from behind the arc, hit the mid-range jumper, or take it to the rim. It will be fun to watch when Perea is guarding Hood and when Perea is in transition.
Other Small Forward(s) to watch: Sam Thompson (North) and Dom Pointer (South)
The South’s Big Men: Tony Parker and Robert Carter
With the North team not having any power forwards or centers on their roster, the South should dominate since they have the #33 overall player in the class of 2012 in Coleman along with #15 Tony Parker. Both big-men have great size in the low-post as well as good scoring skills which will be utilized early and often if the South wants to win. These two are great rebounders and have good hands as well so expect this duo to dominate the paint and to pick up easy double-doubles.
Other South’s Big Men to watch: Tyler Adams