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Suns Rising - A Phoenix Suns blog | Page 4

Mcihael Gilchrist scored 16 points and pulled down 12 rebounds, and James McAdoo scored 17 points to help lead the East team to a 111-96 victory over the West squad on Wednesday night at the United Center. brad Beal also scored 17 points, and was one of five East players who scored in double figures in the victory. 

The West team had some good performances as well, with Khem Birch scoring 15 points, grabbing 10 rebounds (including nine on the offensive glass) and six blocks. Boston Celtics' coach Doc Rivers' son Austin Rivers knocked down three 3-pointers en route to scoring 14 points. He also had five rebounds and four assists for the West team, and displayed a lot of the offensive quickness and playmaking ability that got him recruited to Duke University this fall.

Another player that looked really solid for the East squad was Shannon Scott, who showed off some great defensive prowess with five steals to go along with his four points and two assists. He will be joining up with Jared Sullinger at Ohio State, and if he can improve his passing just a little bit, he will be a legitimate two-way weapon for what was the Big Ten's best team last year. 

The West team struck on a smart idea when the paired up Cody Zeller (Indiana) and Kyle Wiltjer (Kentucky) at one point during the first half. Both players are 6-foot-10 rebounding machines who take very good angles to the basketball when it bounces off the rim, and they both seem to have a good feel for how to play in the low post. Over all, Zeller had a more efficient evening, going 5-of-6 from the field and scoring 10 points. He also picked up three assists. Wiltjer scored 11 points and had two offensive rebounds in the game. 

The West's starting center Anthony Davis also had an MVP-caliber game, scoring 14 points, pulling down six rebounds, and blocking four shots. The Chicago, IL product will be headed to Kentucky alongside Wiltjer, Gilchrist, and Marquis Teague this fall, and will give John Calipari a truly exceptional bunch of recruits once again. 

Other notable East performances belonged to Quinn Cook and PJ Hairston. Cook knocked down two 3-pointers and scored 14 points overall, displaying offensive versatility with some solid drives to the hoop and a nice jump shot. Hairston added 15 points of his own, and also swiped two steals to go along with his three assists. He also knocked down a couple of NBA-length three-pointers to further cement his status as one of the top recruits in the country. 

Even with all of these great games, the night truly belonged to Gilchrist and McAdoo, the co-MVP's. Before an All-American game record 19,909 people, the two put on an offensive display that dazzled scouts in attendance. Gilchrist got off to a rough start when he airballed his first shot, but he settled down in what can only be described as an exceptional all-around performance. Five of his 12 rebounds were on the offensive glass (a number only eclipsed by Burch's nine offensive boards), and he also showed great court awareness in dishing out four assists. McAdoo may have been more of an offensive force, going 8-of-13 from the field, but he was no match all around for the Kentucky-bound Gilchrist. No matter, both players certainly were deserving of the award. 

With all of the talent on display last night, it will certainly be fun to watch these guys move to the next level next season as they head to their respective colleges. The annual rite of passage that this game has become gives these kids an opportunity to play in front of bigger crowds than they ever have in their lives, and it gives a lot of fans their first opportunity to see the crop that will be heading to their colleges in the fall. This year's event was indeed spectacular, and it will be great to see these players continue to develop as time wears on. 

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 The next generation of college stars is converging on the Windy City this week for the 34th Annual McDonald's High School All-American Game. It is the first time sinc e1982 that this showcase of young talent has come to Chicago, and with the city's rich and vibrant crop of stars that they've churned out, it makes sense to bring the game to the United Center. 

With players like Austin Rivers and Michael Gilchrist ready to show their skills on the court, it would make sense to kick off Suns Rising's coverage of the festivities by taking a look back at the Phoenix Suns players, both past and present, that made their mark in this game. Also, we'll take a look at the few, the proud, the players hailing from Phoenix-area high schools that have played in the game. 

Current Suns: 

-Aaron Brooks played in the 2003 game (along with other stud players like LeBron James), and represented Franklin High School in Seattle, Washington. 

-Vince Carter may not be in the starting lineup for the Suns anymore, but as a senior at Mainland High School in Daytona Beach, Florida, Carter made a big mark in his appearance in the All-American game. He ended up winning the 1995 Slam Dunk competition, displaying the acrobatic ability that would propel him to a victory in the NBA Slam Dunk Competition in 2000. 

-Grant Hill played in the game in 1990, representing South Lakes High School in Reston, Virginia.

-Gani Lawal hasn't found his stride yet in the NBA, but he managed to play very well on the big stage. Not only did he win the 2007 Naismith Sportsmanship Award, but he also had one of the best rebounding performances in the game's history by pulling down 12 boards.

 -Robin Lopez joined his brother Brook in the 2006 game, playing for San Joaquin Memorial High School in Fresno, California. 

Notable Former Suns: 

-Rex Chaman played all the way back in 1986, representing Apollo High School in Owensboro, Kentucky. 

-Jason Kidd had five steals in the 1992 game, which ranks him pretty high in the game's history but well behind Khalid Reeves' incredible 10 steals in 1990. 

-Shaquille O'Neal had a monster game in 1989, pulling down 16 rebounds and swatting his way to six blocks in an MVP-winning performance.

-Jalen Rose represented Detroit Southwestern well in 1991 on his way to joining Michigan's famed Fab Five. Luckily for him, his arch-nemesis at the college level, Grant Hill, had played in the game the year before.

-Amare Stoudemire, drafted straight out of Cypress Creek High School, played in the All-American Game in 2002 along with other star players like Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony (who won the dunk contest that year). 

Phoenix, Arizona Products in the Game: 

-Jerryd Bayless, currently with the Toronto Raptors, played in the 2007 game and represented St. Mary's Catholic High School. 

-Mike Bibby, currently with the Miami Heat, played in 1996 and represented Shadow Mountain High School.  

-Richard Jefferson, currently with the San Antonio Spurs, came out of Moon Valley High School and played in the 1998 game. He also played at the University of Arizona.

-Brad Lohaus is the elder statesman of this group, playing in the 1982 game in Chicago and representing Greenway High School.

Random Chicago Nuggets: 

-Michael Jordan played in the 1981 All-American Game, and even though he set a record by scoring 30 points in the game, he was not named the MVP of the game. In fact, Aubrey Sherrod and Adrian Branch shared the award, so apparently the attending media thought he was the third best player on the floor. Worse yet for Sherrod, he ended up playing on the Bulls with Jordan, so the topic more than likely came up at some point. 

-In the only other All-American Game played in Chicago, the West team beat the East squad 103-84 in front of a then-record 15,836 people (a record not eclipsed until the 1995 edition in St. Louis) at Rosemont Horizon. The immortal Efram Winters won the MVP Award for the game, and Kenny Walker pulled down 14 rebounds for the victorious West team. 

-The Powerade All-Star Jam Fest will be held Monday night, and Suns Rising will have a recap of those festitivies Tuesday morning. The game itself will be played on Wednesday night at the United Center, and will be televised on ESPN2.

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While Friday's loss to the New Orleans Hornets may have been a huge blow to the Phoenix Suns' playoff hopes, Sunday's game represented the final dagger to those fading dreams. The Suns only made one three-pointer en route to a 91-83 loss at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks, as Jason Kidd knocked down two clutch three-pointers in the closing minutes to put the game away. 
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The Suns returned home on Tuesday night after a long road trip that was full of positives and negatives. On the down side, they are now without Channing Frye for the next two to three weeks as he recovers from a dislocated shoulder suffered on Sunday in Oklahoma City, but on the plus side they did go 4-2 on the road trip and managed to stay within striking distance of the final playoff spot in the West. It was with these mixed emotions that they took the court against the Rockets, and behind twin 32 point efforts from Hakim Warrick and Vince Carter, the Suns knocked Houston off 113-110. 
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The Phoenix Suns announced today that Channing Frye, injured in last night's loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, will miss at least 2-3 weeks with a dislocated shoulder. Hakim Warrick will be expected to step in and play at the power forward position in his absence, but Frye's injury could not have come at a worse time for this club. 

Since the beginning of February, Frye has really improved his rebounding, pulling down nine boards a game and playing better post defense than he has during the early portion of his Suns career. He's also had some great three-point shooting performances as of late, knocking down five against the Bucks on Friday and six in a recent game against the Jazz.

It will be interesting to see how Frye's injury will affect the Suns as they try to claw their way into the playoffs in the coming weeks. At the very least it appears as though the team will get him back before the season ends, but their position in the standings is very much up in the air at this point. With New Orleans losing Chris Paul for a period of time, and with the Grizzlies running into some bad luck with Rudy Gay, it could be a topsy-turvy ride going forward for the bottom of the Western Conference playoff hunt.  

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Vince Carter scored 29 points to pace the Suns to an excellent offensive effort on Sunday night, but it was the two shots that he missed that ended up costing his team in the end. Even with his six three-pointers, the Suns still fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder 122-118 to finish off their longest road trip of the season with a whimper instead of a bang. 

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Author's Note: Suns Rising will be coming out with a series of articles about the upcoming McDonald's All-American High School Basketball Games, which will take place on March 30th at the United Center in Chicago. We'll be there in person to cover the event, and we're going to get you prepared for the game with some preview articles. 

Earlier this week, McDonald's announced the eight finalists for the Morgan Wootten Award, which recognizes the top player in both boys and girls high school basketball. Two winners, one from the boys' side and one from the girls' side, will be announced on March 15th. 

"As leaders in the community, in academics, as well as on the basketball court, these eight finalists embody what it means to be a McDonald's All-American," said Morgan Wootten, the chairman of the McDonald's All-American Games Selection Committee.

Here is the list of the eight finalists, and we'll keep you posted on who ends up winning on each side.

Nominees: Boys Basketball: 

Anthony Davis - Center, Perspectives Charter School, Chicago, IL (committed to University of Kentucky) 

Michael Gilchrist - Small Forward, St. Patrick High School, Elizabeth, NJ (committed to University of Kentucky)

James McAdoo - Forward, Norfolk Christian, Norfolk, VA (committed to University of North Carolina)

Austin Rivers - Guard, Winter Park High School, Winter Park, FL (committed to Duke University)

Nominees: Girls Basketball: 

Cierra Burdick - Forward, Butler High School, Matthews, NC (committed to University of Tennessee) 

Ariel Massengale - Point Guard, Bolingbrook High School, Bolingbrook, IL (committed to University of Tennessee)

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis - Guard, Mater Dei High School, Santa Ana, CA (committed to University of Connecticut)

Elizabeth Williams - Forward/Center, Princess Anne High School, Virginia Beach, VA (committed to Duke University)


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