Everybody loves 'Bazz
It wasn't lost on Kentucky signees Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin - and probably UCLA signee Kyle Anderson - that McDonald's MVP Shabazz Muhammad remains uncommitted with a final three that includes Kentucky, UCLA and Duke.
"It will be a blessing to play with Alex and hopefully Shabazz," Goodwin said.
Muhammad, a former UA target who hasn't spoken negatively about anybody in his high-profile recruiting process, took the "recruiting" by his potential college teammates in stride.
"Oh yeah, they think I'm going to go to Kentucky, that I'm going to go to UCLA or to Duke," Muhammad said. "It's always a fun environment. I respect those guys."
On the interview podium after the game, Muhammad did formally return the favor to Poythress and Goodwin.
"That would be a sick trio if I did come to Kentucky," he said.
Muhammad has cut Arizona and UNLV from his list of finalists.
Not only was UA signee Grant Jerrett accompanied by high school coach Eric Cooper this week, but his travel-ball coach, Dinos Trigonis, also showed up.
Three years earlier, Trigonis had no idea that Jerrett would have risen to make the McDonald's game. Jerrett played for the Belmont Shore team after his freshman season only because of injuries to other players.
"I thought he had a chance to be a good player" after that summer, Trigonis said, adding that he didn't expect Jerrett to become an elite high school player until the end of his sophomore season.
All UA signees showcased
Whereas Brandon Ashley and Grant Jerrett played in Wednesday's McDonald's All-American Game, fellow UA signees Kaleb Tarczewski and Gabe York will play in the All-American championship on Sunday in New Orleans.
Tarczewski will play for the East team against York, who was named to the West team. A North-South game will also be held, with the doubleheader being shown tape-delayed on ESPNU starting at 6 p.m. Sunday.
Tarczewski is also scheduled to play in the Nike Hoop Summit on April 7 and the Jordan Brand Classic on April 14, when Jerrett and Ashley will join him.
"It means a lot. There's so many talented players here." - Las Vegas' Shabazz Muhammad, on winning the McDonald's All-American MVP award
The Madhouse on Madison gained another M on Wednesday when Mickey D took the place over.
A huge golden arches "M" was plastered over center court at United Center, and some guy who dressed as but really didn't look like Ronald McDonald shook the hands of all the players as they were introduced.
Only high up at United Center was there evidence of the usual purpose of the place: streams of championship banners from both the NBA's Bulls and NHL's Blackhawks.
While halftime of the girls game featured a quiet and entertaining performance by the Jesse White Tumblers, featuring acrobats jumping off a trampoline and over a dozen teammates, the men's halftime wasn't so understated.
It featured an ear-splitting show by a local Chicago's DJ Timbuck2, who blasted a medley of modern hits.
"Make some noise!" he said, after drowning out anybody who did.
Canadian boys have already made an impact in the McDonald's games, but UCLA-bound guard Nirra Fields became the first Canadian girl to make the girls game this year.
She took full advantage, leading all scorers with 20 points on 9-for-11 shooting, although her East team lost 79-78 to the West.
"This means a lot," she said. "It was my No. 1 goal to be the first Canadian girl to play in the McDonald's game."
Fields is from Lachine, Quebec, but played at Oak Hill Academy as a junior and finished her high school career at Mater Dei in Santa Ana, Calif.
Jerrett may have become California's Player of the Year and a McDonald's All-American, but he wasn't the only leader on his La Verne Lutheran team this season.
Eric Cooper Jr., Arizona's first commit from the class of 2013, averaged 17 points, four assists and five rebounds a game while finishing the season with a broken index finger on his shooting hand.
"He still did fairly well," said his father and coach, Eric Cooper. "He had a few 20-point games on the broken finger. He was playing really well."
The big number
Rebounds (six on offense) by Arizona signee Brandon Ashley in just 15 minutes played.