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.
Seton Hall-bound guard Isaiah Whitehead of Lincoln High School in Brooklyn and Kentucky signee Karl Towns of St. Joe’s-Metuchen (N.J.) both made the McDonald’s All-American Game, set for April 2 at Chicago’s United Center (9:30 p.m., ESPN).
“It means everything,” the 6-foot-5 Whitehead told SNY.tv. “Starting your high school career, you strive to be one so this just feels amazing.”
Whitehead is the first Seton Hall commit to make the game since Andre Barrett and the late Eddie Griffin in 2000 and the first New York City player since Loughlin’s JayVaughn Pinkston in 2010.
He joins former Lincoln stars Stephon Marbury, Sebastian Telfair and Lance Stephenson in the lineage of stars from the Coney Island school to make the game.
Whitehead is part of a loaded Seton Hall recruiting class that also includes his teammate Desi Rodriguez, Khadeen Carrington of Bishop Loughlin, Angel Delgado of The Patrick School and Ismael Sanogo of Newark East Side.
“[Whitehead] did exactly what you expect big-time players to do,” Lincoln coach Tiny Morton told SNY.tv. “That is to finish up your senior year better than you came into high school.”
The 7-foot Towns is one of four Kentucky pledges to make the game, joining point guard Tyler Ulis of Illinois, power forward Trey Lyles of Indiana and shooting guard Devin Booker of Mississippi.
“It feels like I’m 7 years old walking into a candy store,” Towns told SNY.tv. “I’m just extremely happy.”
“It’s a great honor and one that is well-deserved,” St. Joe’s coach Dave Turco told SNY.tv of Towns. “A lot of people don’t know about all the hard work and effort that Karl puts in behind the scenes. Sure they see all that he can do on game day, but they don’t realize that he spends four days a week weighlifting and countless hours of working on his skill development year-round.
“This type of accomplishment doesn’t come without the energy and effort from Karl and all the great coaches who have helped him along the way.”
Kentucky and Duke each put all four of their recruits into the game. Duke’s quartet includes Chicago center Jahlil Okafor, who will be playing the game in his hometown, Minnesota point guard Tyus Jones, Florida shooting guard Grayson Allen and Texas wing Justise Winslow.
North Carolina has three recruits in the game in guard Joel Berry and wings Theo Pinson and Justin Jackson.
Two players remain uncommitted: Findlay Prep shooting guard Rashad Vaughn and Euless (TX) Trinity big man Myles Turner,who visits Oklahoma State this weekend.
Here are the McDonald’s All-American teams:
EAST:Myles Turner – Trinity High School (TX), center (Uncommitted)
Tyus Jones – Apple Valley High School (MN), point guard (Duke)
James Blackmon, Jr. – Marion High School (IN), shooting guard (Indiana)
D’Angelo Russell – Monteverde Academy (FL), shooting guard (Ohio State)
Justin Jackson – Homeschool Christian Youth Association (TX), small forward (North Carolina)
Cliff Alexander – Curie High School (IL), power forward (Kansas)
Karl Towns Jr. – St. Joseph High School (NJ) power forward/center (Kentucky)
Romelo Trimble – Bishop O’Connell High School (MD), point guard (Maryland)
Isaiah Whitehead – Abraham Lincoln High School (NY), shooting guard (Seton Hall)
Theo Pinson – Wesleyan Christian Academy (NC), small forward (North Carolina)
Justise Winslow – Saint John’s High School (TX), small forward (Duke)
Kevon Looney – Milwaukee Hamilton High School (WI), power forward (UCLA)WEST:
Jahlil Okafor – Whitney Young High School (IL), center (Duke)
Trey Lyles – Arsenal Technical High School (IN), power forward (Kentucky)
Stanley Johnson – Mater Dei High School (CA), small forward (Arizona)
Kelly Oubre – Findlay College Prep (NV), small forward (Kansas)
Tyler Ulis – Marian Catholic High School (IL), point guard (Kentucky)
Joel Berry – Lake Highland Prep (FL), point guard (North Carolina)
Emmanuel Mudiay – Prime Prep Academy (TX), point guard (Southern Methodist University)
Grayson Allen – Providence School of Jacksonville (FL), shooting guard (Duke)Devin Booker – Moss Point High School (MS), shooting guard (Kentucky)
Rashad Vaughn – Findlay College Prep (NV), shooting guard (Uncommitted)
Reid Travis – De La Salle High School (MN), power forward (Stanford)Thomas Welsh – Loyola High School (CA), center (UCLA)Photo: Kelly Kline / UA
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.