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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Wednesday / April 26.
  • Brandon McCoy Talks Final Five, Matchup with DeAndre Ayton

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    By NICK MEDLINE

    CHICAGO — For Brandon McCoy, the focus for the McDonald’s All-American game is simple: First things first.

    The San Diego (CA) Cathedral Catholic center said he will make his decision in the “next couple of weeks,” choosing between Arizona, Oregon, San Diego State, UNLV and Michigan State. But for now, he wants to maximize the McDonald’s All-American Game experience — showing how well he can play in front of scouts against the nation’s top competition.

    “I’m focused on the game and being as good as I can be,” McCoy said. “I just try to play the right way, and hopefully, scouts see that. When you play the right way, you get easy layups here, easy jump shots there, then easy blocks and rebounds.”

    This emphasis on “playing the right way” was apparent in Monday’s practice. McCoy played well in his matchup with longtime friend, and former California Supreme EYBL teammate, DeAndre Ayton. The two battled each other for rebounds, traded baskets, and showed intensity throughout.

    “It’s so fun playing against DeAndre,” McCoy said. “That’s my brother and we go back before basketball. He’s also a really good player, so it’s fun to compete with him.”

    McCoy highlighted coaching relationships when describing all of his final five choices. He praised UNLV coach Marvin Menzies and his efforts to rebuild the Runnin’ Rebels program. He also spoke highly of Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, saying that in addition to being a Hall of Fame coach, Izzo is a “great, great person.”

    McCoy said Arizona stands out because the program and coach Sean Miller have recruited him since the eighth grade. He was impressed by how the team helped big man Lauri Markkanen develop into an effective player.

    That attention to development goes way back: While Steve Fisher and SDSU offer an option to stay at home, where everyone can attend his games, McCoy also pointed out that Fisher developed Chris Webber in his time at Michigan.

    One school, though, remains in the hunt for a national championship. McCoy has been impressed by the sense of “community” at Oregon (his brother attended Oregon) and has paid attention to their ongoing success.

    “They’re in the Final Four for the first time in 78 years,” he said. “That’s epic. It’s great to be recruited by them.”

    Five schools are in the running for one of the nation’s best undecided prospects. Until he makes his pick, Brandon McCoy is ready for any opportunity to showcase how good he can be.

    ZAGSBLOG will provide continuing coverage of McDonald’s All-American Game events.

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