With two major high school All-American teams being named during the coming week – the McDonalds and Women's Baseketball Coaches Association teams -- Brandon Clay and Keil Moore of ESPN HoopGurlz's Eastern half made 10 selections from their side of the Mississippi River.
The McDonald's All-American teams will be announced at 5 p.m. (EST) Thursday, on ESPNU.
This game never will be played, of course, but both sides made their best case for you, the reader, to decide whom would come out on top. These are the selections and the case for the East.
Championship teams are made with pieces that fit together like a complex jigsaw puzzle. That said, the East team is stocked with plenty of talent that allows for unique combinations and lineup options. In assembling the East puzzle, putting diverse pieces together was extremely important to getting off to a good start. Getting quality point guard play was an essential piece to starting off on the right note.
With the East coast roster loaded with quality combo guards, the point guard position will be handled in a non-traditional fashion, but with elite athletes such as Danielle Ballard and Andraya Carter this group will be able to push the tempo and share the ball with a plethora of skilled wings and posts. The East is also fortunate to have Brianna Butler who brings the versatility to play three positions when needed which allows the us to play her together with the other perimeter options to offset a West squad filled with runners and gunners.
This roster can stretch the West defense out as both Butler and Michaela Mabrey can knock down the open jumper. Danielle Ballard will bring a true slashing threat off of the catch to round the lineup out offensively. On the defense end, we'd feel comfortable as coaches that these four pieces to the puzzle will be in charge of slowing down a potent West attack in transition.
Our roster is loaded with athletic swing players who are comfortable playing either forward position. Kahleah Copper, Jonquel Jones and Alexis Prince all have the length to allow us to show multiple zone defensive looks in an effort to slow the West down. Offensively, each of the three brings different skill sets as Copper is a true slasher while Prince is most effective knocking down the open jumper. Jones is a true hybrid with the confidence to attack the basket off the bounce coupled with the skill to shoot the basketball all the way out to the 3-point line.
The West will look to pinch out on our perimeter play but our versatility doesn't end there. It's quite the contrary with a frontline that includes Bashaara Graves, Malina Howard, Breanna Stewart. Howard and Stewart played with each other for the USA Basketball 19U this summer, while Graves played with Stewart for the U.S. the summer before. Howard is a traditional back-to-basket center, Stewart should give the West fits with her scoring prowess and shot blocking ability and Graves is sheer power inside.
Best of luck to our counterparts from the West, as they have the daunting task of keeping us from assembling the dynamite final puzzle this roster offers. We have speed, offensive skill and the ability to keep their guards from running amuck on us. Taking advantage of our size is something that the West can count on us doing early and often.
-- Brandon Clay and Keil Moore
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Brandon Clay is a contributor and national recruiting analyst for ESPN HoopGurlz. He is also the publisher of the JumpOffPlus.com National Scouting Report and the owner of Peach State Basketball, Inc. Clay has been involved in the community since 2001 as a recruiting analyst, event operator and trainer. He can be reached at email@example.com or you can follow him on Twitter @peachstatehoops.
Keil Moore is a contributor and national recruiting analyst for ESPN HoopGurlz. He is also the Director of Scouting for the JumpOffPlus.com National Scouting Report - a division of Peach State Basketball, Inc. Moore has been involved in the community since 2007 as a recruiting analyst and trainer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on Twitter @keilmoore.