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April 1, 2013
Breaking down the West at Mickey D's
Chicago -- The 2013 McDonald's game festivities got off to a strong start on Monday. The East and West teams had closed workouts on Sunday, but their Monday morning practice was the first open to the media and family, and big names such as Andrew Wiggins, Aaron Gordon, Julius Randle and Jabari Parker didn't disappoint.
Here's a look at how each of the players on the West looked during Monday's action.
Monday's West team breakdown
Jabari Bird: One of the more slender guys in attendance, Bird was solid but didn't stand out. He is a good midrange jump shooter off the dribble but has to get a little stronger. He struggled with bigger athletes during practice.
Aaron Gordon: The 6-foot-8 Gordon is the West's best athlete. Without question. He's ridiculously explosive, has great body control and is a crafty finisher when he's not putting dudes on posters. Gordon was strong on the glass and has an awful lot of young Shawn Marion to his game. He will announce his decision among Arizona, Kentucky, Oregon and Washington on Tuesday and Sean Miller's 'Zona program is looking strong in this one. Isaac Hamilton: Hamilton looked exactly like the player we always see. There are more athletic guys and guys who can shoot better, but few have a better skill level or feel for the game. He is a polished offensive player and a better one-on-one defender than expected.
Aaron Harrison: Harrison didn't shoot particularly well, but he easily created space to shoot. He has confidence and really liked to bully other guards during one-on-one drills.
Andrew Harrison: Just like his twin brother, Harrison really likes bullying other guys and is a strong one-on-one defender. He was patient on Monday and mostly focused on dishing the ball to teammates.
Marcus Lee: The 6-foot-10 shot blocker was bothered by a back problem during practice. Didn't see enough to form an opinion on his play. Well, he does have to add weight because he is pencil thin.
Jarell Martin- The LSU signee was quietly quite effective. He's not the same explosive athlete as Gordon, but he's not shabby, either. Martin is excellent playing pick-and-pop ball, and he rebounds with physicality. Martin is similar to former Alabama post player JaMychal Green in terms of size and ability to board, but he has a higher level of skill.
Jabari Parker: Parker played extremely well during Monday practice. He has pop in his legs that he's not shown in a long time, and he played much more above the rim than he has in some time. He was hitting jumpers from 16 to 20 feet, and he looked good driving the baseline.
Bobby Portis: The Arkansas signee only had to take a couple of shots to the chops before he started dishing out some physicality of his own. If they'd have counted fouls, he would have fouled out several times. Once he got past the fouling, Portis played well during scrimmage time. He plays hard, chases rebounds and can make a jump shot in space.
Nigel Williams-Goss: NWG made the game in large part because of a strong senior year. He looked solid, made good passes and took care of the ball. He will defend, and he seemed to be the most equipped of the West guards to deal with the Harrison twins' physicality.
James Young: Like Lee, Young missed most of practice and said that his hip was bothering him. Hope to see him more in the next few days.