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March 29, 2009

McD's: Initial Observations

MORE: McDonalds AA: Day 1 breakdown | McDonald's All-American Game Roster

MIAMI, Fla.- The McDonald's All American practices began Sunday in the brand new University of Miami practice facility. Amongst all the talented prospects participating in the game, Oklahoma signee Keith Gallon was one of the most impressive.

West Squad

Gallon, who insists on being called Tiny, has his game on another level since working and dieting himself into shape. Looking almost 100-pounds lighter than this summer, Gallon ran the floor as well as any big man on the West team, and had his way with the much skinnier John Henson in the post.

The big advantage for the west is in the backcourt. Top ten shooting guard prospect Avery Bradley stood out as the top guard in the practices. But his teammate Michael Snaer was right with him.

Abdul Gaddy will likely join Bradley in the starting backcourt for the West, with Tommy Mason-Griffin backing him up. Xavier Henry played small forward alongside Gaddy and Bradley.

Wally Judge was impressive playing the small forward position opposite of Henry. He made it extremely tough for Henry to get anything going on the offensive end, and then used his size to his advantage offensively.

Both Travis Wear and David Wear looked good on the offensive end, but it would be nice to see them not match up against each other in the next practices.

Mason Plumlee was productive on the offensive boards.

West coach Pat Clatchey had Gaddy, Bradley, Henry, D. Wear, Henson and Renardo Sidney working together on one squad. Mason-Griffin, Snaer, Judge, T. Wear, Gallon and Plumlee comprised the other squad.

East Squad

The imposing frontcourt of the East immediately stands out with No. 2 ranked DeMarcus Cousins, No. 4 ranked Derrick Favors and five-stars Milton Jennings, Ryan Kelly, Alex Oriakhi and Dante Taylor.

Favors impressed with his three-point shooting during drill work, and he also had a top notch left handed finish over Oriakhi during the scrimmage portion of the practice.

Cousins size and strength is a notch above the rest of the competition.

Oriakhi is a player you can count on to finish around the basket.

Taylor had a couple impressive conversions off offensive rebounds, and Kelly demonstrated his ability to create and finish scoring opportunities.

Dexter Strickland knocked down a couple impressive midrange jumpers.

Without a late arriving Lance Stephenson, the East practiced with Maalik Wayns, Kenny Boynton, Jennings, Kelly, Taylor on one squad. Peyton Siva, Dexter Strickland, Dominic Cheeks, DeMarcus Cousins and Derrick Favors on the other team. Alex Oriakhi took turns playing with both groups.

After thoughts

Look for the dunk contest to come down to a battle between Wally Judge and Peyton Siva.

Today was the grand opening of Miami's practice facility.



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