Jackson, East win McDonald’s All-American game

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Selma Times-Journal

MILWAUKEE – The odds were stacked against the East team right from the start.

Although talent was abundant on both sides, the West team looked to be the favorite to win Wednesday night’s McDonald’s All-American High School boys’ basketball game.

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Instead, Tyreke Evans scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the East to a 107-102 victory at the Bradley Center.

“People weren’t expecting us to win this game because the West had all the award winners,” East coach Woodie Jackson said. “They had the Gatorade Player of the Year (Jrue Holiday) and some other guys. But we expected to win.”

Evans, one of the two uncommitted players participating in the game featuring the top high school talent, took over late in the second half after the East had closed the West’s lead to 82-80.

Evans is still considering Memphis, Connecticut, Villanova and Texas and says he’ll make a decision on April 16.

Willie Warren, headed to Oklahoma, scored 10 straight points for the West on a 10-2 run that made it 82-80 with about nine minutes left before Evans took over.

Warren finished with 23 points and three steals, including when he picked Sylven Landesberg cleanly off the dribble and sent up an outlet pass, which was returned to him for a layup.

Jackson has had plenty of experience reeling in top talent leading up to this game. He coached in the first Alabama-Mississippi all-star game, has won six state championships and has the most wins among active high school coach in Alabama with a career record of 596-262.

Always the fundamental teacher, Jackson wasn’t completely playing to the run-and-gun expectations of the crowd.

“We said if we played together and hustled, we would win,” he said. “If we didn’t allow them to get all those uncontested layups, we could have blown them out.”

The East also got strong performances from Michael Rosario (18 points and five steals), Kemba Walker (13 points), Ed Davis (11 points), and Elliot Williams (10 points). For the West, DeRozen and Scotty Hopson, the other uncommitted player, scored 10 each, while B.J. Mullens added 12 points.

Greg Monroe, considered the nation’s top player by recruiting sites Rivals.com and Scout.com, had a tough game for the West, committing five turnovers and scoring one point after an 0-for-2 performance from the field. He had six rebounds.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.