The McDonald’s All-American Game, which has been one of the launching pads of innumerable basketball stars including Magic, MJ, Shaq, Kobe, Durant, LeBron, and Anthony Davis, is tomorrow night at the United Center in Chicago.
Here’s what seven of them had to say about the possibility of Adam Silver enacting a higher age limit for the NBA Draft. If passed, these McDonald’s All-Americans would be the first group of players affected. They also reveal whether they know why people hate Duke and if Larry Brown is an avid text messager in the recruiting game:
Jahlil Okafor, Duke
On potential Adam Silver Rule: “I didn’t know that that might affect our class. I’m excited to go to Duke. I think about it every day, living in Durham and learning under the leadership of Coach K. Two years there wouldn’t hurt me at all — it’d definitely benefit me. Whatever happens, happens, right now I’m just happy that I’m going to college.
“I definitely think it’s premature for me. I mean, I’m still in high school. When this is all over, I have to go back to class on Thursday, and I still have to graduate. I have a long way to go.”
On future teammate Grayson Allen’s contest-winning dunk over him: “It got the fans down in Durham pretty excited, and that was our objective. Our Twitters were blowing up yesterday. It’s been a lot of fun. I didn’t know Grayson so well before, but he’s on my team for the McDonald’s game.
The dunk was fun for him, and fun for me. Actually, I wanted him to jump over and me and [fellow Duke recruit] Justise Winslow — with the alley-oop from [yet another future Blue Devil] Tyus Jones — but he thought it was crazy. He was like, ‘There’s no way I can do that.’ I thought he could.”
On how actively Jabari Parker helped recruit him to go to Duke: “Jabari never tried to sway me to go to Duke. He was just there for me. He couldn’t have cared less if I decided to go there or not, he just wanted me to be happy.”
Emmanuel Mudiay, SMU
On potential Adam Silver Rule: “It’s a day-by-day thing, so I really can’t look that much into the future. I just gotta pay attention to what’s going on right now. Whatever happens with that happens.”
On getting recruited by Larry Brown: “First off, I’ve got to thank God because without him that wouldn’t be possible to even play for a great coach like that. It’s definitely going to be exciting — he’s the only coach to win NCAA and NBA championships, so why not go play for one of the greatest coaches who’s ever lived?
“He’s really not a recruiting guy because he’s used to the 80’s recruitment process. So, now, I’m standing and talking to you face-to-face, but I can’t do that with most coaches. He wasn’t really used to texting, so his assistant coaches Ulric Maligi and K.T. Turner really picked up on those communications. Coach Brown and me would talk on the phone a lot, and the school is right down the street so I could go and visit anytime I wanted. I talked to him face-to-face a whole bunch of times.”
Stanley Johnson, Arizona
On potential Adam Silver Rule: “Honestly, if you’re a pro, you’re a pro. As long as I get there, it doesn’t matter. I can do two years of college — I can do four years of college! — I’m going to a great university. I think it affects people who aren’t as good, who are just trying to capitalize on potential — what they could be — more. The players who are steady with their work habits and steady with their play will be just fine.”
On whether more players would jump to the D-League or overseas if it were enacted: “There’ll be some people who do that, but you’ve gotta think beyond your playing career. You’re only going to be playing basketball till you’re about 33 — 35 if you’re lucky. Only Steve Nash plays till he’s 40. You gotta have a back-up plan, and you’ve gotta be smart with your money. Everyone in their right mind is going to go to college to help ensure their lifelong stability.”
Tyus Jones, Duke
On Adam Silver Rule: “I haven’t thought about that a whole lot. If they decide to implement that rule, we’ll just have to go with it and take it in stride. There’s nothing we can do about it. I think there will be a lot of other people upset, but that’s not something that upsets me.”
On being named after UCLA hero Tyus Edney: “That’s where my mother heard the name. Both my parents liked how unique it was, so they knew that was the name to go with. I’ve definitely watched highlights of him, and seen the coast-to-coast lay-up, and know the story behind him.”
On why some people hate Duke: “I really don’t know what the hate is towards Duke, but, at the same time, you’ve gotta just take it in stride and just go with it. If people aren’t fans of yours, there’s nothing you can do about that.”
Myles Turner, Undecided
On Adam Silver Rule: “I haven’t necessarily given that any thought. I haven’t been to college yet. I’m not sure how that whole spiel works. My personal opinion is that players should go only when they’re ready. If they are, they should go one-and-done, and shouldn’t wait, but I see what Mr. Silver is trying to do with that aspect. I can’t necessarily see it affecting me right at this point, but if I were ready to go, and I had to be held back, I feel like it’d be a disadvantage. At the same time, I don’t have anything negative to say about it.”
On when he’ll be ready to make his college decision: “I’m not sure yet. After all the All-Star games, I’m gonna sit down with my family and make sure we get that all worked out. At this point, I’m just trying to focus on everything I have at-hand.”
Rashad Vaughn, UNLV
On Adam Silver Rule: “I’ve heard about it, and I just hope it doesn’t happen for our class and some of the players who could do just one year. Hopefully it doesn’t pass for a long time.”
Kelly Oubre Jr., Kansas
Rivals Ranking: 12
On Adam Silver Rule: “I haven’t thought about it at all. If you change the rule to two years, it’s going to give me the chance to elevate my game to the highest level. I’d just take it as a blessing from God to go in and be the best player I could be.”
[Display photo by Brian Spurlock/USA Today; Display graphic editing by Rubie Edmonson; Other photos via Getty Images]