The day before the McDonald’s All-American game featured a practice session in the morning followed by an afternoon scrimmage in the United Center. After yesterday’s two hour battle, Tuesday’s practice lasted for just one hour, though it was still just as intense.
The action consisted of various drills in both half-court and full-court situations that were designed to get the five-star players out of their comfort zones. While it was hard to stand-out in such a short amount of time, there were a few players on both the East and West squads.
Malik Newman, 6’4”, G, Callaway (MS) – Undecided
As noted yesterday, Malik Newman is not a true point guard, but he did a stellar job combining his scoring and playmaking abilities today. In half-court scrimmages, Newman led his team to basket after basket while not giving his opponents a chance on offense. The high scoring guard got to the rim using pick and rolls at times and also his quick first step. He finished off the bounce and also routinely threw alley-oops to Ivan Rabb or Caleb Swanigan. Newman can get points in a hurry and it will be interesting to see what type of game he plays on Wednesday night.
Caleb Swanigan, 6’8”, PF, Homestead (IN), – Undecided
It’s no secret that Swanigan has struggled with his taller defenders, but just like yesterday he used his motor and strength to finish on the second or third try. While he was active down low, the beefy power forward also stepped outside the paint and was knocking in 15 foot jump shots from the right side of the key. While certainly not his strong suit, it was good to see Swanigan showing a different skill-set in the practice. On Wednesday, Swanigan will split time with four other talented bigs, but he will get to go against players such as Thomas Bryant and Cheick Diallo that will try to go at him with their own high intensity.
Dedric Lawson, 6’8”, PF, Hamilton (TN) – Memphis
The youngest player in the all-star game hasn’t shown any signs of stage fright despite going against some players that are much older. One of those players is Ben Simmons who has spent a fair amount of time matched up with Lawson. The old school forward is not the quickest of players, but he knows how to free himself with shot fakes and hesitations. His shot lacks a picture perfect rotation but it has found the bottom of the net with consistency.
- 6’8” Brandon Ingram was the star of Monday and while it took him a little while to wake up on Tuesday he certainly did and started to attack the basket off the dribble using his long arms to finish. His shot was not as perfect as yesterday, but he still made more than he missed. Overall it’s been a great stretch for Ingram. Will he be able to deliver on national TV?
- The Bishop Gorman combo of Stephen Zimmerman and Chase Jeter didn’t shine on Tuesday, but they both had their moments. Zimmerman started off taking some jump shots that were a bit out of his comfort range, but then he settled into a groove. Meanwhile, Jeter started to utilize his reliable right-hand jump hook.
- Thomas Bryant continued to give Cheick Diallo problems on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. With a few inches, Bryant was able to get his post-ups off over the shot blocker and on defense he did his best to frustrate Diallo. Last summer Bryant was cut from the U17 USA team, but it looks like he used his senior year to become a better ball player.