The McDonald’s All American game consists of top high school senior basketball players from the U.S. and Canada. Each year, 24 players are selected to face off against some of the best talent in North America. From 2011 to 2013, there have been 72 seniors that have been named McDonald’s All Americans who have signed letters of intent with 28 college basketball programs.
The addition of these skilled athletes has caused their respective teams to experience great success in 47 total NCAA Tournament appearances, including 10 second round games, 9 Sweet 16 games, 9 Elite 8 games, 8 Final Four games, two national champion runner-ups, and one national champion.
With their success on the court, dreams of playing in the NBA, and the possibility of getting paid to play, many of these athletes are forced to make the challenging decision whether to go pro or stay in school. Making millions to play ball every day is very appealing, and so begins the business decision to enter the NBA draft or stay in school and improve their game. Of those aforementioned 72 McDonald’s All Americans, 23 were one-and-dones, 6 played in college two seasons, and 2 played for 3 seasons. 43 percent of the 72 did not play their senior year. The other 57 percent are still on NCAA rosters. 22 of the 43 percent that left early are on NBA rosters, and 5 are on NBA D-League teams (Developmental League).
Even with players leaving the college ranks for the NBA, powerhouse programs like Kentucky, Duke, and North Carolina continue to reload their teams with McDonald’s All Americans every year. However, teams like Gonzaga, Virginia, VCU, Wichita State, Butler – which are all currently ranked in the Top 25 – don’t have any McDonald’s All Americans, but have had 11 NCAA appearances including six second round games, one Sweet 16 game, two Final Four games, and one loss in the national championship game. These smaller schools don’t have to reload their teams every year or two because they have built a program where players stay on the roster for more than two years. Smaller schools building programs are starting to compete with college basketball powerhouses, and create the classic “David versus Goliath” March Madness battles.
So my question for you is would you like to reload, or would you like to build?