Simeon coach Robert Smith, Stevenson’s Jalen Brunson lead West Team in McDonald’s All-American Game

SHARE Simeon coach Robert Smith, Stevenson’s Jalen Brunson lead West Team in McDonald’s All-American Game
SHARE Simeon coach Robert Smith, Stevenson’s Jalen Brunson lead West Team in McDonald’s All-American Game

It’s just an All-Star game, a show for the crowd, and in the end no one really remembers which team wins. But that doesn’t seem to matter to Simeon’s Robert Smith, who is coaching the West Team Wednesday at the United Center in the McDonald’s All-American Game.

The West features the only local player, Stevenson guard Jalen Brunson, and Smith thinks he might be the key to victory.

“He does a great job running the team,” said Smith. “He can score when he has to but that’s not what he’s looking to do. He’s getting everyone else involved and I think that’s going to give us an edge.”

Brunson appears to have developed some chemistry with 7-0 Stephen Zimmerman Jr. Brunson was Zimmerman’s partner in the dunk contest on Tuesday. He fed the big man several spot-on passes for dunks. Expect to see more of that Wednesday.

Zimmerman, from Las Vegas Bishop Gorman, is one of eight uncommitted players in the game. It’s an unusually high number of undecided players this late in the recruiting process. Seven of those players are ranked in the top 13 in the nation by scout.com (6-10 Thomas Bryant is ranked No. 33).

Smith is dead right when he speculates on the reason so many are still undecided: “I think a lot of them are waiting to see what happens with Kentucky, who leaves and who stays.”

Jaylen Brown, Bryant, Zimmerman and Newman are all considering the Wildcats, so that’s half the group.

“I think all the coaching changes have some kids up in the air still too,” Smith. “There are always a lot of coaches changing spots in the spring, so sometimes it makes sense to wait and see how that all ends up.”

Brunson decided on Villanova back in September, putting an end to his long and heavily-analyzed recruitment. He’s had to spend the last week surrounded by peers still obsessing over their future.

“Everyone is still talking recruiting and it’s almost April,” said Brunson. “I am kind of tired of it. One of the big subjects this week is just where everyone is or isn’t going to go or whatever.”

Brown, a 6-7 wing, and Ben Simmons, a 6-8 power forwarded headed to LSU are considered the top two players in the game. Keep an eye on Ingram. The 6-8 small forward from Kinston, NC was electric during practices this week and seems destined to climb up from his current Scout.com rank of No. 13.

Smith named Ingram and Newman as the two best players on the West.

“They really stood out in practice,” said Smith. “Ingram is really impressive, you can just see how high the ceiling is for him, he has a lot of potential.”

EAST    
NamePositionHeightHigh SchoolCollege
Dwayne BaconSF6 – 6Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, VA)Florida State
Antonio BlakeneyG6 – 4Oak Ridge (Orlando, FL)LSU
Isaiah BriscoePG6 – 3Roselle Catholic (Roselle, NJ)Kentucky
Jaylen BrownSF6 – 7Wheeler (Marietta, GA)Undecided
Thomas BryantC6 – 10Huntington Prep (Huntington, WV)Undecided
Cheick DialloPF6 – 9Our Savior New American (Centereach, NY)Undecided
Henry EllensonPF6 – 10Rice Lake High School (Rice Lake, WI)Marquette
Jawun EvansPG6 – 0Justin F. Kimball High School (Dallas, TX)Oklahoma St.
Luke KennardG6 – 5Franklin (Franklin, OH)Duke
Dedric LawsonPF6 – 8Hamilton (Memphis, TN)Memphis
Ben SimmonsPF6 – 9Montverde Academy (Montverde, FL)LSU
Diamond StoneC6 – 10Dominican (Whitefish Bay, WI)Undecided
WEST    
NamePositionHeightHigh SchoolCollege
Carlton BraggPF6 – 9Villa Angela-St. Joseph  (Cleveland, OH)Kansas
Jalen BrunsonPG6 – 1Stevenson (Lincolnshire, IL)Villanova
Deyonta DavisPF6 – 9Muskegon (Muskegon, MI)Michigan St.
P.J. Dozier, JrPG6 – 6Spring Valley (Columbia, SC)South Carolina
Brandon IngramSF6 – 8Kinston High School (Kinston, NC)Undecided
Chase JeterC6 – 10Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV)Duke
Malik NewmanG6 – 3Callaway (Jackson, MS)Undecided
Ivan RabbPF6 – 10Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland, CA)Undecided
Malachi RichardsonSF6 – 6Trenton Catholic Academy (Trenton, NJ)Syracuse
Caleb SwaniganC6 – 8Homestead (Fort Wayne, IN)Undecided
Allonzo TrierG6 – 4Findlay Prep (Henderson, NV)Arizona
Stephen ZimmermanC7 – 0Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV)Undecided

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