UK Basketball Recruiting

What UK fans should watch for in Wednesday’s McDonald’s All-American Game

Once again, Kentucky has the most players in the McDonald’s All-American Game, and this year’s event includes another couple of five-star recruits who have yet to make college decisions and are still considering the Wildcats.

That means UK fans, like in every other year under Coach John Calipari, will have plenty to watch at 7 p.m. Wednesday when the McDonald’s Game tips off from the United Center on ESPN.

Quade Green, Nick Richards, Jarred Vanderbilt and PJ Washington are the Wildcats’ four representatives in this year’s game, and they’re all playing for the East team. Their teammates in Wednesday’s game will include top-10 recruits Mohamed Bamba and Kevin Knox, who both have UK among their final four schools.

The record for most McDonald’s All-Americans from one college in a single game is six, set by Kentucky in 2013, when the Cats had commitments from Aaron Harrison, Andrew Harrison, Dakari Johnson, Marcus Lee, Julius Randle and James Young.

That was the only year that Kentucky had more than four McDonald’s All-Americans, so a commitment from Bamba or Knox would give the Cats their second-most ever players in the annual all-star showcase.

Others to watch

In addition to the four UK commitments and two major Wildcats recruiting targets, there are a few other players for Kentucky fans to keep an eye on Wednesday night.

Mitchell Robinson — a 6-11 center from Chalmette, La. — is Western Kentucky’s first McDonald’s All-American, signing with Coach Rick Stansbury and the Hilltoppers in November. Robinson is one of the premier defensive players in the 2017 class.

Michael Porter Jr. — the No. 1 player in the class, according to, ESPN and 247Sports — recently committed to Missouri, where his father will be an assistant coach next season under new head coach Cuonzo Martin.

Collin Sexton is one of the top backcourt players in the country, and he’ll join Coach Avery Johnson at Alabama next season. Sexton signed with the Crimson Tide in November, and he should be an instant star in the SEC next season.

Viewing guide

Numbers and team assignments for Wednesday’s game:

East team: 0-Quade Green (Kentucky), 1-Trevon Duval (undecided), 2-Jarred Vanderbilt (Kentucky), 4-Nick Richards (Kentucky), 10-Collin Sexton (Alabama), 11-Mohamed Bamba (undecided), 14-Lonnie Walker (Miami), 22-Mitchell Robinson (Western Kentucky), 23-Kevin Knox (undecided), 25-PJ Washington (Kentucky), 31-Kris Wilkes (UCLA), 34-Wendell Carter (Duke).

West team: 0-DeAndre Ayton (Arizona), 1-Michael Porter Jr. (Missouri), 2-Gary Trent Jr. (Duke), 3-Jaylen Hands (UCLA), 5-Troy Brown (Oregon), 8-Jaren Jackson (Michigan State), 11-Trae Young (Oklahoma), 20-Brian Bowen (undecided), 21-Chuck O’Bannon Jr. (Southern Cal), 23-Billy Preston (Kansas), 24-MJ Walker (undecided), 44-Brandon McCoy (undecided).

PJ is OK

UK signee PJ Washington had an injury scare during the opening minutes of Tuesday morning’s practice, rolling his ankle and leaving the court to seek medical attention. Washington returned to the court a short time later and tried to play on, but he was forced to watch almost all of the practice from the bench with ice on his ankle.

Washington told the Herald-Leader after practice that he would be OK for Wednesday night’s game.

Monday night’s winners

The annual Powerade Jam Fest was Monday night, and Collin Sexton was the big winner.

Sexton, a 6-2 guard who has signed with Alabama, won the slam-dunk contest, taking the event with a 360 windmill jam for a perfect score.

Oklahoma commitment Trae Young won the three-point shootout, and UK signee Quade Green teamed with Tennessee signee Anastasia Hayes and former WNBA star Jayne Appel-Marinelli to win the Legends & Stars Shootout.

The girls’ game

There are no Kentucky recruits in the McDonald’s All-American girls’ game this year, but two Louisville commitments — point guard Dana Evans and center Loretta Kakala — will be competing. Evans is on the East team, and Kakala will be on the West.

The No. 1 women’s basketball recruit in the class of 2017 is 6-1 wing Megan Walker, and she’s headed to — you guessed it — Connecticut, which also has a commitment from No. 14 overall recruit Mikayla Coombs. Both future Huskies will play for the East.

The McDonald’s girls’ game will be shown at 5 p.m. on ESPN2.