UK’s incoming five-star talent on display in McDonald’s All-American Game


The West’s Malik Monk (5) dunks against Team East during the first half of the McDonald’s Boys All American game at the United Center in Chicago on Wednesday, March 30, 2016. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

It’s no secret that UK fans will be left with a bad taste in their mouths after an early-exit from the NCAA Tournament, but what better to help with it than a four-piece from McDonald’s.

No, this four-piece isn’t of chicken nuggets or any other food — rather one of athleticism, power, speed and length.

The combo is made up of the four players from UK’s currently number one ranked recruiting class that earned spots on the McDonald’s All-American team. The opportunity allows players to showcase their skills during the nationally televised event in Chicago.

The future Cats on the rosters were Edrice “Bam” Adebayo, De’Aaron Fox and Sacha Killeya-Jones suiting up for the East Team, and Malik Monk for the West.

Fans were able to see some of Monk’s potential before the actual game, as he participated in both the dunk contest and three-point shooting contest on Monday. He started the week off strong, winning the first event of the week in the three-point shooting contest. Monk also wasted no time showing he isn’t just a shooter, putting his athleticism on display in the dunk contest where he advanced to the second round but was unable to pull off a sweep of the events.

Once the main event rolled around Wednesday, the actual game lived up to the reputation of most All-American or All-Star games in that there were a lot of highlight plays, with some of the future Cats being the ones making them.

Monk continued his winning ways by leading the West to a 114-107 victory, adding in 11 points and four assists. His shot was not falling as much as it was when he won the three-point contest, but he was still able to score mostly off strong finishes inside. The Bentonville, Arkansas, native was the finisher off of a few impressive alley-oops that shed some truth to the Derrick Rose comparison UK head coach John Calipari gave Monk.

Matched up against Monk for some portions of the game was his future backcourt partner at UK, the 6’4” Fox. Being a point guard under Calipari comes with a lot of expectations, but the passing and driving abilities Fox showed in the game proved he will fit right along with Calipari’s point guards of the past. Fox finished the game with a team-high seven assists, but he was only able to score two points.

The most dominant performance of the night goes to Adebayo. He showed how much of an inside presence he could be for UK and racked up the game’s only double-double during the process, finishing with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Adebayo was also active inside the paint on defense earning two steals and a block in the game.

The last representative for UK was Killeya-Jones, and he was perhaps the greatest beneficiary of the game’s style of play, as he put up six points all of which came off dunks or close finishes inside.

Wednesday’s game previewed a combo of four prospects with superstar potential, capable of satisfying Big Blue Nation’s hunger for another Final Four run.