CHICAGO -- Practice tipped off for the 2012 McDonald's All-American Game on Sunday afternoon, and unlike in recent years, this year's team was met with little controversy. Both the East and West squads are full of deserving players, and Wednesday's showcase should live up to its lofty billing. As a primer for the action, here are several storylines to monitor leading up to the game.
Where should Rodney Purvis play?
Almost from the moment that N.C. State commit Rodney Purvis began his high school career, debate raged over whether he'd be better suited as a point guard or slashing shooting guard. He primarily played point during his career at Raleigh (N.C.) Upper Room Christian Academy, and while emerging as a prolific scorer, has struggled with his distribution and court vision in stints. The McDonald's All-American festivities provide Purvis with a chance to play alongside Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill guard Tyler Lewis, his future backcourt running mate in college, and perhaps find out if he'd be better used as a one or a two upon his arrival to campus.
Is Gary Harris underrated?
Given Gary Harris' status as a five-star talent and the No. 25 overall recruit in the class of 2012, it's clear that the Michigan State-bound wing has enormous Division-I potential. However, many observers are starting to think that Harris is actually underrated. The Fishers (Ind.) Hamilton Southeastern wing has reportedly sprouted to 6-foot-6 and 208 pounds and improved both his jump shot and ability to work off the dribble. His performance Wednesday will certainly be one to watch -- and a possible harbinger of what to expect next year in East Lansing.
Just how good is Kris Dunn?
Following the July evaluation period, Rivals was very high on New London (Conn.) point guard Kris Dunn. His uncommon blend of size (6-3, 180), athleticism and playmaking instinct seemed to make him one of the nation's top prospects, a notion that hasn't changed after a senior year in which he averaged 31.4 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. The Providence commit has yet to face the level of competition that he'll see Wednesday, though, as he'll match up with Indianapolis (Ind.) Park Tudor's Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell and Marion (Iowa) Linn Mar Community School's Marcus Paige. It'll be interesting to see how his monstrous statistics translate to high-level practice and game situations.
What's going on with Anthony Bennett?
Anthony Bennett has been out with a hamstring injury for much of senior season, limiting opportunities to scout the Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep star. The five-star combo-forward has been described as a mix between Larry Johnson and Rodney Rogers, an aggressive, big-time athlete who's a relentless scorer and rebounder. After missing so much time, however, questions abound. Is his off-the-dribble game developing? Is he in shape? And, perhaps most important, is the uncommitted 6-foot-7 forward close to making a college decision? All could be answered over the course of the week.
Will Cameron Ridley remain in the class of 2012?
One of the more unique storylines heading into McDonald's All-American Game is the status of Texas-bound center Cameron Ridley. Though the 6-foot-10, 245-pounder pledged to Rick Barnes as early as last January, he elected not to sign a letter intent, thereby leaving his ultimate college status up in the air. Will the Richmond (Texas) Fort Bend Bush standout sign in April, or will he head to prep school and become an uncommitted member of the class of 2013? Entering the week, the answer isn't very clear.
Where will the top uncommitted players commit?
In addition to the aforementioned Bennett, plenty of other prospects at the McDonald's All-American Game remain uncommitted. Several notables are listed below.
• F Shabazz Muhammad, Bishop Gorman (Nev.) -- The nation's No. 1 recruit, Muhammad is scheduled to announce his decision on April 10. The 6-foot-6 swingman plans to tour UCLA after making official visits to Kentucky, Duke, Kansas and Texas A&M.
• F Amile Jefferson, Friends Central (Pa.) -- Rumored to be making a decision "any day now," the 6-foot-8, 197-pounder seems to be deciding between Duke, N.C. State and Temple.
• F Devonta Pollard, Kemper County (Miss.) -- A versatile, left-handed scoring threat, Pollard looks to be approaching a mid-April commitment. He plans to visit Georgetown and Kentucky, and has already made trips to Texas and Missouri. Alabama and Mississippi State also remain in consideration.
• C Tony Parker, Miller Grove (Ga.) -- A massive 6-foot-9, 250-pound presence, Parker appears finished with his official visits. He's considering Kansas, Duke, UCLA, Memphis and Ohio State -- and has been rumored to be favoring all of them at one point or another.