Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Big matchups highlight Jordan Classic
By Dave Telep
There’s no arguing the quality of this year’s Jordan Brand Classic rosters, which were announced on Tuesday. The game is stocked with 22 players, and that means some of the fat has been trimmed off the event.
Typically, this event constructs its roster with elite prospects who have come up through the Nike system with an emphasis on potential pro players. The game is slanted toward talent and potential, not high school resumes.
However, that’s not what has me excited about this year’s game, which will be played April 13 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and televised live on ESPN2.
No. 1 prospect Andrew Wiggins will get to match up against No. 2 recruit Jabari Parker at the Jordan Classic.
Not only does the contest feature elite talent, but careful consideration went into the construction of the rosters. For instance, everyone wants to see No. 1 overall recruit Andrew Wiggins against No. 2 Jabari Parker, and that’ll happen as they are on opposite teams.
There’s balance in the rosters and matchups galore.
The senior class needs to seize the moment. College head coach and NBA front-office ambassadors will watch this game, and some will form first impressions. There’s no better way to begin your NBA resume than with a competitive, hard-fought matchup in a setting of this magnitude. The matchups were made for a reason, and the players would be wise to capitalize on the opportunity.
The Embiid Factor
Two years ago, Jordan Brand invited a lesser-known prospect named Otto Porter to its event. A small-town forward with a ton of state championships, Porter was good, not great, at the event, but it foreshadowed that he could be. Jordan Brand took a chance on Porter (as evaluators, we applauded the chance to see him) and it paid huge dividends since he’s now one of the best players in college basketball at Georgetown.
Knowing that the bold move worked once, Jordan Brand went back to the well this year with center Joel Embiid. Though he signed with Kansas, Embiid isn’t likely to be a hot commodity on the all-star circuit. He hasn’t had the time to build his reputation. However, he’s about to get tested in this event. He’ll line up against the likes of Randle, Florida signee Chris Walker and UNC-bound Kennedy Meeks.
A Chance to Grow
The Harrison twins, Andrew and Aaron, almost always play on the same team. For the most part, at camps they’ve been placed on the same team as well. But at the Jordan Classic, they’ll line up against each other as they did at the NBA camp last summer.
What this does is give you a chance to see them independently and allow for each player’s skill set to be seen for what it is: different from the other. Someday in the NBA these guys likely won’t be on the same team anymore (see the Lopez twins, Collins twins, Morris twins, etc.) and it will be good to evaluate them independent of one another.