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McDonald's All-American game returns: Dereck Lively leads boys basketball roster

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For 45 years, the McDonald's All-American game has showcased the best high school basketball players in the country on the national stage. Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James all played in the game, and it's the first small step to a potential NBA career.

NBA scouts and front office personnel will returning after a two-year hiatus due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This year's game will be played March 29 at Wintrust Arena in Chicago and there will be no shortage of talent. Rosters were announced Tuesday afternoon as the top 24 boys and top 24 girls high school basketball players were revealed.

Leading the way for the boys team is Dereck Lively, the No. 1 player in the country and Duke commit. The 7-foot-2 center will have every NBA scout eager to see play in person. Other forwards include: Adem Bona (UCLA), Mark Mitchell (Duke), Ernest Udeh Jr. (Kansas), Jarace Walker (Houston), Kel'el Ware (Oregon), Chris Livingston (Kentucky) and Kijani Wright (USC).

On the guard side, there will be a ton of long, athletic playmakers, including Nick Smith (Arkansas), Amari Bailey (UCLA), Anthony Black (undecided), Dillon Mitchell (Texas), Keyonte George (Baylor), Dariq Whitehead (Duke), Cam Whitmore (Villanova) and Cason Wallace (Kentucky).

Bailey, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard playing at Sierra Canyon High School in California, is a Chicago native and can't wait to return home to play in the biggest high school game of his career.

"This is a goal I've been working towards, we all have been working towards, since we were little and it's the highest high school honor," Bailey told Yahoo Sports. "And to have the game back in my hometown, it's the perfect way to cap off my high school career."

High school powerhouses IMG Academy and Montverde Academy have five players on the roster this year with Jaden Bradley (Alabama), George and Walker representing IMG and Whitehead and Mitchell representing Montverde.

The college teams with the most players are: Duke (three), Kansas (three), Kentucky (two), UCLA (two), Texas (two), Alabama (two) and Arkansas (two).

The 2022 McDonald's All-American boys roster is revealed. Twenty-four of the best players from around the country will compete on March 29 in Chicago.
The 2022 McDonald's All-American boys roster is revealed. Twenty-four of the best players from around the country will compete on March 29 in Chicago.

NBA scouts and front office personnel will be able to get early eyes on potential 2023 draft picks at practices and the game for the first time since 2019.

"Being able to see these players at the end of the their high school career is a great benchmark for us as they head into college," one NBA scout told Yahoo Sports. "The fact that we get to evaluate players at this juncture right now when we didn't have for the past two years is a great tool for NBA teams."

ESPN2 will air the POWERADE Jam Fest at 7:30 p.m. ET on March 28. ESPN and ESPN2 will broadcast the 2022 McDonald’s All-American games on March 29. The girls game will air on ESPN2 at 6:30 p.m. ET and the boys will immediately follow on ESPN at 9 p.m. ET.

The girls and boys rosters for the McDonald's All-American games in Chicago on March 29.
The girls and boys rosters for the McDonald's All-American games in Chicago on March 29.
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