The Best McDonald’s All-American Men’s Rosters

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Hannah Scherwatzky

One of the most difficult aspects of sports is being a scout. Tasked with the challenge of evaluating hundreds of prospects and determining which is the best is no small feat. One of the best places for scouts to get their first taste of recruits is the McDonald’s All-American game. 

Every year in late March, the best twenty-four high school basketball players congregate to showcase the future of basketball in this high-school all-star game. Beginning in 1978, the participants in the McDonald’s All-American game compete in an “east vs west” style scrimmage, as well as a dunk contest and three-point contest. The event used to only name a men’s roster, but as of 2002 a women’s roster and game have been added.  All proceeds from the event go towards the Ronald McDonald House Charities as McDonald’s are the main sponsor of the event.

Selection Process

The selection process for the McDonald’s All-American game is fairly straightforward. To begin the search, a criterion of approved parties sends in potential nominees. The approved parties include High School Coaches, Athletic Directors, Principals, and McDonald’s All-American Games Selection Committee Members. Once the nomination period closes, the McDonald’s All-American Games Selection Committee will vote on who is selected to participate in the game. Per the McDonald’s All-American website; “The Selection Committee is comprised of some of the nation’s most knowledgeable high school analysts, prep scouts, high school newspaper reporters, and prestigious basketball coaches.” To say the least, being selected for this team takes a lot of vetting and is taken very seriously.

Honorable Mentions

Not every class participating in the McDonald’s All-American can be as stacked as the rosters that made this list, but there are a few former participants that can’t be overlooked. Starting with the inaugural team in 1977, Magic Johnson was the main headliner and would go on to win multiple MVPs. The 1981 roster was highlighted by future 1992 Olympic teammates Patrick Ewing and Michael Jordan. Similarly, in 1996 future teammates Stephen Jackson and Jermaine O’Neal headlined a roster that also included the likes of Kobe Bryant. Lastly, in 2003 we saw LeBron James and Chris Paul suit up for the event.  With the honorable mentions given their roses, it’s time to look at the best men’s McDonald’s All-American rosters.

1995 - Vince Carter, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Stephon Marbury, Chauncy Billups, Shammgod Wells, Shareef Abdur-Rahim

2004 - Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo, Josh Smith, J.R. Smith, Al Jefferson, LaMarcus Aldridge, Shaun Livingston

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(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

This year's McDonald’s All-American class was littered with future NBA champions and all-stars. Combined this year's roster would go on to win ten NBA championships and a litany of regular-season awards. Dwight Howard would go on to win three defensive player of the year awards as well as a championship in Los Angeles. Rajon Rondo would be an integral part of the 08’ Boston Celtics, being the floor general that helped win them a chip. J.R Smith may be most known for attempting to run out the clock in a game they were losing, but he had an extremely impressive NBA career which includes an NBA championship.

2007 - Derrick Rose, James Harden, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, Eric Gordon, Michael Beasley, O.J Mayo

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(Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

Though the 2007 McDonald’s All-American roster may not tout NBA championships, the individual careers this class has had is beyond belief. Headlining this class is the youngest MVP in NBA history in Derrick Rose. Suiting up with Rose is 2018 MVP James Harden, one of the most prolific scorers of this era. Eric Gordon would go on to win the sixth man of the year award alongside Harden on the Houston Rockets. Dunk contest champion Blake Griffin rounds out the forwards alongside NBA champion  Kevin Love. Most of the players on this roster are still active in the NBA, so more accolades may be in the future for this class of McDonald’s All-Americans.

2014 - Devin Booker, D’Angelo Russell, Karl-Anthony Towns, Kelly Oubre Jr., Grayson Allen, Myles Turner, Justin Jackson, Justise Winslow

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(Photo by Robin Alam/Icon SMI/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The 2014 McDonald’s All-American class is best known for the “bromance” that has formed between Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, and Devin Booker. Booker and Towns both teamed up at Kentucky together in college, while Russell and Towns would end up becoming teammates in the NBA in Minnesota. All three would be named to an all-star roster at different points in their career, but the best is yet to come for this class. Only eight years removed from this year's McDonald’s Game, the participants are truly just starting to come into their own. Towns recently dropped a career-high 60 points and Booker is helping lead the Suns to the best record in the NBA.

2016 - Jayson Tatum, Bam Adebayo, De’Aaron Fox, Lonzo Ball, Jarrett Allen, Malik Monk, Miles Bridges, Markelle Fultz

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(Photo by Al Tielemans /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

Similar to the 2014 class, the 2016 McDonald’s All-Americans are still coming into their own in the NBA, but have already made an impressionable mark. Jayson Tatum has already helped lead the Boston Celtics to two Eastern Conference Finals, including a matchup against Bam Adebayo and the Miami Heat. Adebayo has solidified himself as one of the best rim protectors and overall defenders in the league. Jarrett Allen has built a similar reputation in Cleveland as an elite rim protector and was recently named to his first all-star team. Miles Bridges was a front-runner to win Most Improved Player this season before dropping off in production but has shown signs of being an elite NBA player this season. Still extremely young, this class has untapped potential.

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