Basketball: SI All-American First Team
The inaugural SI All-American Boys Basketball Team features 15 of the top high school basketball players in the country broken up into three teams who have displayed exceptional dominance during the high school season. Each player has exhibited a level of play this season that will make them a household name at the next level and beyond.
Prolific Prep (Napa, Calif.) combo guard Jalen Green was named SI All-American Player of the Year after obliterating the competition this season for the Crew to the tune of 31.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and five assists a game. Despite playing a grueling national schedule and facing more than 20 elite players all over the country, Green led the Crew to a 31–3 record and The Grind Session World Championship.
“It’s just an honor to be named Player of the Year with Sports Illustrated,” Green said. “It’s really humbling, and just to know that I’m the first-ever Player of the Year is even more special. I put in a lot of hard work for this and to have it actually pay off in the end is a great feeling. I’m honored.”
Here’s a look at who joined Green on the first team.
CG: Jalen Green, Prolific Prep (Napa, Calif.), 2020
Schools of Interest: Auburn, Memphis, Fresno State, Oregon, Florida State, USC, among many others
Why He’s an SI All-American: In addition to leading the Crew to a World Championship and qualifying for GEICO Nationals, Green broke the program record for points in a single season with 1,008. Green set the tone for his dominant high school season with an equally dominant summer, leading Team WhyNot (Calif.) to the Nike Peach Jam title game. Green has also won three gold medals with USA Basketball.
What He Said: “Just to be thought of for the SI All-American team is an amazing feeling. This is the first team ever for Sports Illustrated so it’s something that will set the standard for every team after. It’s big.”
PG: Cade Cunningham, Montverde (Fla.) Academy, 2020
Signed to: Oklahoma State
Why He’s an SI All-American: Cunningham was the engine that drove the Eagles to a 25–0 record and a consensus No. 1 ranking in the country. Cunningham’s Eagles were so good the buzz was getting louder all season that they were potentially the best team ever.
Despite playing alongside five other SI All-American nominees, Cunningham averaged 14 points while shooting 47% from the three-point line, five rebounds and five assists a game despite playing half the game most times. The Eagles beat teams by an average of 40 points a game. During the summer, Cunningham was named MVP of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League after averaging 23.8 points, seven rebounds and 5.3 assists for the Texas Titans.
What He Said: “It's really an honor to be considered for the first team and I'm extremely thankful for being picked. This selection is going to give me more motivation to work even harder to prove Sports Illustrated right about me.”
PG: Sharife Cooper, McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.), 2020
Signed to: Auburn
Why He’s an SI All-American: Cooper is arguably the most complete point guard in the country and followed up an undefeated junior season by leading the Indians to the state Final Four. Cooper averaged 30.6 points, 7.8 assists and 3.6 steals a game. Last summer he pumped in 25.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 8.6 assists in the Nike EYBL with AOT (Ga.).
What He Said: “It’s an honor to be named to the Sports Illustrated All-American Team. Just to know that I’m being recognized as one of the top players in the country for something I love so much is a great feeling. To be recognized by a place like SI is big. It’s just more motivation to keep working.”
F: Scottie Barnes, Montverde (Fla.) Academy, 2020
Signed to: Florida State
Why He’s an SI All-American: If Cunningham was the engine that drove Montverde’s dominant season, Barnes was the fuel. No player in any class plays with the level of energy and emotion that Barnes displays every game. Barnes averaged 12 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals a game despite playing half the game most times. The Eagles beat teams by an average of 40 points a game.
What He Said: “I am extremely excited to be on the Sports Illustrated Basketball All-American Team. For over 66 years, this prestigious magazine has covered the top athletes and sports stories around the world. Today, I’m a part of that history. I never dreamt of being this successful, and I must use it to motivate myself because it’s so easy to be lazy, procrastinate and fall off. I cannot let this happen. So, I am thankful not just for the honor but for the motivation.”
F: Greg Brown, Vandegrift (Austin, Texas), 2020
Schools of Interest: Auburn, Michigan, Kentucky, Memphis, Texas
Why He’s an SI All-American: Want special? Brown has managed a double double for the last four years. This season he pumped in 26 points, 13 rebounds and 1.5 assists a game. For his career, Brown has managed 3,007 points, 1,493 rebounds, 476 blocks, 188 assists and 134 steals. He is, arguably, the best finisher in high school basketball, but lost in the poster dunks is Brown’s ability as a playmaker on both ends of the floor. His production reflects his true gifts.
What He Said: “It’s a blessing for me to know that all the hardwood is paying off. This being the first team ever at a place like Sports Illustrated is just a blessing. Not many people can say they’re on the first team of something like this. It makes me want to work harder, honestly.”