A few weeks ago, we took a look at the list of soon-to-be Big Ten players that were nominated for the McDonald's American Game. Tonight, the players selected for the McDonald's American game were revealed. Three players committed to Big Ten programs were selected. D'Angelo Russell will be an Ohio State Buckeye this time next year, James Blackmon Jr. will join the Indiana Hoosiers, and Romelo Trimble will suit up for the Maryland Terrapins in their first season as a member of the Big Ten.
First, let's check out the players that did made the cut.
D'Angelo Russell, SG, Ohio State
The Buckeyes', whose inability to score just cost them a home game against the Nittany Lions, will gladly welcome the electric D'Angelo Russell, a tall guard capable of shooting the ball from anywhere on the floor, taking players off the dribble, and even assisting a little bit. Most importantly, D'Angelo is just the sort of scorer Ohio State sorely needs. He understands how to attack defenses and has the capability to beat them, a skill Ohio State's backcourt largely lacks this year. Ideally, Russell will grow into a player that can play the point both next to and behind Shannon Scott next year before taking the reigns as a sophomore.
James Blackmon Jr., SG, Indiana
James Blackmon Jr., like D'Angelo Russell, will be joining a team that desperately needs its services. The Hoosiers miss the sharpshooting dynamic they enjoyed with Christian Watford and Jordan Hulls on the perimeter and while Yogi Ferrell has taken an impressive leap forward, the sophomore point guard doesn't have much help stretching the floor. That will change when the Hoosiers welcome James Blackmon, a shooter who has worked to develop his ability to be effective driving the basketball this season. Blackmon has averaged over 35 points per game so far this season, and has been much more varied as a scorer than he had been as a younger player.
Romelo Trimble, PG, Maryland
Romelo Trimble won't have as much pressure on him as Blackmon Jr. or Russell, as the Maryland Terrapins will return quite a bit of talent next season. Still, Trimble will at least get a chance to supplant Roddy Peters. It's more likely that Trimble plays next to and behind Peters at the point than in front of him, but Trimble is a major talent in his own right. Romelo is capable of making plays for others, but is easily a talented enough distance shooter and scorer to play off the ball.
I was doubtful that the Big Ten would land any commitments in the McDonald's All-American game, but I was never in doubt that the league was going to be adding a dynamic class that made an impact right away. After watching Ohio State and Indiana struggle offensively over the past few weeks, it's even more clear that these players will have an opportunity to make their mark on their new program as soon as they set foot on campus. The 2013 class looks promising already, though we may not see players like Noah Vonleh return, and the top players in the 2014 class will only build on that.