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Heaven can wait

McDonald's game reveals few NBA-ready prospects

Posted: Thursday March 31, 2005 1:54PM; Updated: Friday April 1, 2005 12:43AM
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Gerald Green
Gerald Green answered as many questions about his scoring ability as he raised about his other skills at the McDonald's game.
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SOUTH BEND, IND. -- What was the most remarkable aspect of this year's McDonald's All-American Game, which was played on Wednesday night under the Golden Dome at Notre Dame?

No, it wasn't the Duke-bound connection of Josh McRoberts and Greg Paulus, who combined to lead the East to a 115-110 victory. Nor was it future Kansas point guard Mario Chalmers scoring 14 points in a five-minute burst to start the second half. It wasn't even Chalmers' soon-to-be Jayhawks teammate Julian Wright soaring over the rim to throw down a crowd-pleasing alley-oop jam in the first half.

The most newsworthy aspect of this year's McDonald's showcase was that not a single player among the 24 participants said he was planning to skip college to enter this year's NBA Draft. Even Houston prep star Gerald Green, who is considered a possible lottery pick, said that he was going to Oklahoma State.

Of course, it's early. Some of these players may change their minds once the draft gets closer and the whiff of big money fills the air. Throw in the possibility of the NBA implementing a minimum-age limit of 20 for next season, and it's almost inevitable we'll see at least a few of these youngsters throwing their caps in David Stern's draft hopper this June. But all things considered, it's an interesting development.

Then again, maybe Green and his peers realize they're not good enough to make a splash in the NBA. Unlike last year's bumper crop of high schoolers -- which featured eight players selected in the first round, including Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, J.R. Smith and Shaun Livingston -- this year's batch comes with no clear-cut future superstar that makes the scouts drool. As one Eastern Conference scout at Wednesday's exhibition said of this year's group: "They all should go to college."

But while there might not be another Howard or LeBron James in the Class of '05, there are some intriguing talents who will be playing in the NBA soon. Here's a look at four from the McDonald's event who might find it difficult to turn their backs on the NBA this June: