Each year, the prestigious McDonald’s All American Games feature the nation’s best high school senior basketball players in the country. This year is no exception, as the top boys and girls prepare for Tuesday’s showcase events in Houston.
The 2023 McDonald’s All American girls’ game tips off at 6:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2/ESPN App), with the boys game scheduled for 9 p.m. ET (ESPN/ESPN App).
The festivities get under way with the boys’ scrimmage at 4 p.m. ET Sunday (ESPN+), followed by Monday’s Powerade Jam Fest (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN App) and 3-point shooting contest.
Here are five things to know heading into the boys’ game Tuesday:
1. Which conferences have the most McDonald’s All Americans coming in next year?
The SEC, Big 12 and Pac-12 lead the way.
The SEC has six top recruits on the way. Kentucky, with the No. 1 recruiting class in the country, leads all schools with four All Americans. Arkansas and Auburn each have one.
The Big 12, which boasts the past two national champions in Baylor (2021) and Kansas (2022), has five All Americans coming its way. Baylor, Iowa State, Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma State all have one McDonald’s All American signee. The Pac-12 also has five All Americans: Oregon has two, while Colorado, Stanford and USC have one each. Duke the only ACC school on the list, has three McDonald’s All Americans.
2. Star power and upside
All 24 McDonald’s All Americans fall inside the top 30 in the ESPN 100, including all top-10 seniors and 15 five-star prospects. This is one of the best evaluation stops for NBA scouts, and all 30 NBA teams will be represented.
Potential is a dangerous word because it could work in your favor or against you. To become an NBA draft pick and player, it takes talent and strong work habits. The candidates with the most potential in this year’s game: Cody Williams, Matas Buzelis, Justin Edwards, Xavier Booker and Ja’Kobe Walter.
3. Top spot in ESPN 100 is wide open
Edwards was elevated to the No. 1 spot in the ESPN 100 after sitting at No. 2 in January. Scouting the 6-foot-7 Edwards over the years, his productivity on both ends has been his calling card. On national television at the Hoopball Classic, he willed his team to a big win with a dominant game of 25 points, 12 rebounds, 6 steals, 4 assists and 1 block. In the past three rankings, he has gone from No. 13 to No. 2 to No. 1.
D.J. Wagner had held on to the No. 1 spot since his sophomore year through his dynamic play, competitiveness and winning teams. He is No. 2 in our latest rankings. Isaiah Collier is currently the No. 3 overall prospect in the class and was recently voted as the McDonald’s Morgan Wooten Player of the Year. He is a big and strong point guard who is the best playmaker in the class and has the mindset when needed to post big numbers. All three prospects had a great senior season, and all three will be in contention for the No. 1 spot.
4. A game with deep roots
This year’s game features five players whose family members have deep basketball roots.
Andrej Stojakovic is the son of Peja Stojakovic, a first-round draft pick in 1996 who had a long and successful NBA career — NBA champion, a three-time NBA All-Star and two-time NBA 3-point shooting contest champion. Andrej will be heading to Stanford next season.
Bronny James — you might have heard of him — is the son of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, the four-time NBA champion and 19-time All-Star considered one of the greatest players of all time. D.J. Wagner’s dad, Dajuan Wagner, was the No. 6 pick in the 2002 NBA draft and a McDonald’s All American, and his grandfather, Milt Wagner, won a national championship at Louisville in 1986 and an NBA title with the Lakers in 1988. Cody Williams’ older brother, Jalen Williams, was a first-round pick out of Santa Clara and now is with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Reed Sheppard‘s family has deep Kentucky roots, as both his mom and dad were basketball legends. Jeff Sheppard was a two-time NCAA champion at Kentucky, and his mom, Stacey, is in the top 10 in Wildcats basketball history in made 3-pointers, assists and steals.
5. Who wins the 3-point shooting and slam dunk contests?
The most anticipated event leading up to the games is the slam dunk contest. To win it will take creativity, showing the crowd a spectacular vertical bounce and making all attempts — no misses.
Last year’s contest came down to three exciting dunkers in Dillon Mitchell, Nick Smith and South Carolina’s Ashlyn Watkins. Watkins, with an assist from Jarace Walker, became just the third girl to win the event. Some favorites from the boys’ side this year are James, Sean Stewart, Ron Holland, Booker and Mookie Cook. The top candidates to win the 3-point shooting contest are Buzelis, Aden Holloway, Jared McCain, Mackenzie Mgbako, Sheppard and Stojakovic.