Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 12:02 a.m.
How they fared since the 2006 McDonald’s All-American High School Basketball Game
Name / Pos. / College / NBA draft / Comment
Darrell Arthur F Kansas 27th, 2008 (Memphis) Traded three times on draft night, Arthur started 64 games last season before spending much of this one injured.
D.J. Augustin G Texas 9th, 2008 (Charlotte) Averaged 11.8 points for the Bobcats coming off the bench in his rookie season but just 6.3 this season.
Chase Budinger G Arizona 44th, 2009 (Houston) The only second-round draft pick so far from this McDonald’s class averaged 8.9 points as a rookie.
Tweety Carter G Baylor — Behind his 15 points and 5.9 assists, Baylor reached the Elite Eight this season for the first time in 60 years.
Earl Clark F Louisville 14th, 2009 (Phoenix) Struggled to crack the Suns rotation as a rookie but management has big plans for him in the future.
Sherron Collins G Kansas — Led Kansas to the 2008 NCAA title and had the Jayhawks ranked No. 1 most of this season. A first-team all-American.
Mike Conley Jr. G Ohio State 4th, 2007 (Memphis) Increased his minutes, points and assists averages in each of his three seasons, to 32.1, 12 and 5.3 in 2009-10.
Daequan Cook G Ohio State 21st, 2007 (Miami) Solid backup guard for the Heat who has a career scoring average of 8 points. Won Three-Point Shootout last season.
Javaris Crittenton G Georgia Tech 19th, 2007 (L.A. Lakers) Now with Washington, he was suspended in January for the rest of the season on a gun charge.
Kevin Durant F Texas 2nd, 2007 (Oklahoma City) 2008 Rookie of the Year led league in scoring this season (30.1 ppg), the youngest ever at 21, and was MVP runner-up.
Wayne Ellington G UNC 28th, 2009 (Minnesota) After leading UNC to the NCAA title, he played in 76 games as a rookie for the Timberwolves and averaged 6.6 points.
Spencer Hawes C Washington 10th, 2007 (Sacramento) Starting center for the Kings averaged 10.7 points and 6.6 rebounds the past two seasons.
Gerald Henderson G Duke 12th, 2009 (Charlotte) Appeared in 43 games for a coach, Larry Brown, who is historically not big on playing rookies.
James Keefe F UCLA — Played on two Final Four teams during an injury-plagued career with the Bruins.
Ty Lawson G UNC 18th, 2009 (Denver) Had 29 points and six assists in preseason game against the Lakers at the San Diego Sports Arena and was key reserve.
Brook Lopez C Stanford 10th, 2008 (New Jersey) The higher regarded of the Lopez twins averaged 18.8 points and 8.6 rebounds this season.
Robin Lopez C Stanford 15th, 2008 (Phoenix) Broke into the Suns’ starting lineup for 31 games this season, scoring a career-high 30 points in February.
Vernon Macklin F Florida — The Georgetown transfer is the only member of this McDonald’s class with college eligibility remaining.
Greg Oden C Ohio State 1st, 2007 (Portland) The second coming of Bill Walton given his enormous potential in the post and his propensity for major injury.
Scottie Reynolds G Villanova — Took Wildcats to the 2009 Final Four and finished as the No. 2 career scorer (2,222 points) in school history.
Jon Scheyer G Duke — Led NCAA championship team this season in scoring, assists, steals and free-throw percentage.
Lance Thomas F Duke — Starting power forward and co-captain of Blue Devils’ NCAA championship team. A member of the all-ACC defensive team.
Brandan Wright F UNC 8th, 2007 (Golden State) After starting 23 games in 2008-09, he missed the entire 2009-10 season with a shoulder injury.
Thaddeus Young F Georgia Tech 12th, 2007 (Philadelphia) Has started 138 games in three seasons for the 76ers, averaging 12.4 points and 4.8 rebounds.
— MARK ZEIGLER
Al Kidd, the president of the San Diego Sports Commission, was co-chairman of the local organizing committee that brought the McDonald’s All-American High School Basketball Game to San Diego in 2006. For his work, he got a basketball autographed by the players.
Kidd considers it among his most prized pieces of memorabilia, too prized to leave out in the open in his office.
He keeps it at home. Under lock and key.
“Right next to my Jim Brown autographed football,” Kidd says.
It’s been four years since 24 boys high school players graced the hardwood at San Diego State before a sold-out crowd in what was then known as Cox Arena, and one by one the signatures on Kidd’s ball are looking less like the idle scribbles of a bunch of 18-year-old kids.
Seventeen of the 24 are already in the NBA.
Sixteen were first-round draft choices.
Ten were lottery picks.
Thirteen played in a Final Four.
Seven won an NCAA championship.
And here’s the really mind-blowing statistic: The 17 players from that 2006 game who went pro early signed NBA contracts worth a combined $201.6 million.
“That was one of our better years,” Bob Gibbons says. “We’ll pat ourselves on the back.”
Gibbons, a longtime high school scout based in North Carolina, has been a member of the McDonald’s game selection committee since 1980 and is considered among the most influential figures in determining who gets in and who doesn’t. He already considers the 2006 class to be “best of the decade” and says it has a good chance of being remembered among the best ever.
It does because of its stars (Kevin Durant, Greg Oden) and because of its uncanny depth at all positions. Only 13 of the 24 players in the 2005 game are in the NBA. Nineteen were drafted from 2004, but only a handful have had much impact on college or pro teams.
Of the seven players from the 2006 game that are still in college, two — Jon Scheyer and Lance Thomas — were starters on Duke’s NCAA championship team. Sherron Collins led Kansas to the 2008 NCAA title and had the Jayhawks ranked No. 1 for most of this season. Scottie Reynolds played in a Final Four and finished his career as Villanova’s No. 2 career scorer. Demond “Tweety” Carter led Baylor to its first Elite Eight in 60 years.
The only “busts,” at least compared to the prodigious achievements of their McDonald’s teammates that night, are UCLA forward James Keefe and Florida forward Vernon Macklin — although Keefe did play on two Final Four teams and Macklin, after transferring from Georgetown, has another year of collegiate eligibility.
Even the guys who Gibbons and his selection committee didn’t take in 2006 panned out. The next four “bubble” players, he says, were Texas’ Damion James, Michigan State’s Raymar Morgan and Connecticut’s Stanley Robinson and Hasheem Thabeet. Thabeet already is in the NBA, and the other three are all considered promising prospects.
Or put it this way: Of their top 28 guys, 25 or 26 likely will wind up in the NBA.
There were four 7-footers, all of whom are in the NBA, all of whom have been periodic or regular starters. The West team started two (Spencer Hawes and Robin Lopez) and brought another (Brook Lopez) off the bench.
Number of dunks: 17.
Number of blocked shots: 16.
Durant (25 points) was the co-MVP with La Costa Canyon High alum Chase Budinger (11 points, four assists), who has the distinction of being the only player in the game who so far hasn’t been taken in the first round of the NBA draft. That was the first year players were required to spend at least a year in college before entering the NBA draft. Eight players would leave college after one season, and five were drafted in the top 10: Oden, Durant, Mike Conley Jr., Brandan Wright and Hawes.
“The thing that I really reflect on is their character, just great people,” says Los Angeles Fairfax High’s Harvey Kitani, who coached the West to a 112-94 victory after trailing the East by 20 points. “It’s showing now. That character has allowed these guys to move on. They were good players anyway, but I see it all the time: Just because of that, it doesn’t mean they’ll do well at the next level.”
Kidd has remained involved with the McDonald’s game since it came here and is working to bring it back. There is talk that McDonald’s will institute a regional rotation between the West, Midwest and East, and Kidd is positioning SDSU’s Viejas Arena to be a regular candidate.
“I’m not sure people here realize how good these guys were,” Kidd says. “It is definitely something where people should look back on it and say, ‘Wow, I was lucky to see something like that.’ It should go down as one of the best events we’ve ever had here. These guys will have an impact on the pro game for a long, long time.”