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About Players Being Named McDonald's All-American

I noted an interesting exchange on Twitter this morning between Fox Sports' Jeff Goodman and's Dave Telep about the voting process to name McDonald's All-Americans. Goodman basically asserted that the teams, as presently selected, are a bit of a joke. Goodman felt so strongly about it that he popped out a column with a suggested fix(no link)

My rant today is on the McDonald’s All-American selection committee.

It’s a complete joke and needs a major overhaul.

Who the heck are these guys voting for the most prestigious high school basketball honor?


Here’s my suggestion. Go find 10 guys who actually go out all spring and summer and see all the kids.

Goodman lists various coaches and regional recruiting analysts who vote for the McDonald All-America team saying that while they are all great guys, they do not see enough of the elite players play to make a informed decision on who should be included on the team.

Dave Telep, widely considered the best recruiting analyst in the business had this to say in response to Goodman asking him how many of the seven McDonald's AAs on the UNC roster actually deserved it.

People think Roy W or Mike K lobby guys for Burger game. Not so, uninformed voters do the damage. Always been an advocate of less voters

For the record, Telep said only Ed Davis, Tyler Zeller and John Henson made his final ballot during their respective seasons. Not ironically, those are the only three players on UNC's roster rated with five stars by Still, Telep is one of the few guys who gets around to see everyone play which is why he is considered to be such a guru. Like anyone, he is not perfect but of all the guys out there you can almost take his opinion as gospel on the matter of basketball recruiting.

The reason I bring this up is to sort of influence the discussion around here. The McDonald's All-American labels get tossed around a couple of ways. The first is in the positive manner: "Hey, look at all these Burger guys we are getting! Woo-hoo! Final Four here we come again!" Now, don't lie. We all thought that in some part. The #4 ranking was predicated at least in part on the fact four of the freshman were McDonald's All-Americans. Goodman goes as far as to say that the Wears probably should not have been but their commitment to UNC and the fact they played for a renowned basketball school on the prep level got them into the game despite not being elite recruits.

The other way this get tossed around is: "We should not be this bad with SEVEN freaking McDonald's All-Americans!" Again, that is not casting a proper light on the situation using an honor whose voting process included voters who are not well informed. For example, Larry Drew was a McDonald's All-American. Drew was ranked 68th by and averaged at 44th in the Recruiting Services Consensus Index. Drew made the team because he committed to UNC and because his father is a current NBA assistant. In other words, voters substitute their lack of knowledge with Roy Williams or some other elite coaches evaluation of the player and put them on the team. Does that mean Drew won't be a good player by 2012? No, but it does mean we should probably temper out expectations a little more rather than looking at the McDonald's All-American label and assume he is the next Ty Lawson or something.

With all this in mind, I would like to make the following suggestion to the community. For the sake of our discussions here I recommend using the Recruiting Services Consensus Index(now linked on the left under Basketball Info) when discussing players and recruits rather than lauding or complaining about them being Burger guys. These rankings combine multiple services' ratings to provide an average for each player. In my opinion, this is as close as you are going to get the a dispassionate view of recruiting rankings. It is still no guarantee that a player will pan out but I think it serves as a good basis to talk about recruiting classes and players.