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February 23, 2006

UNC and OSU combine for 6 All-Americans

North Carolina and Ohio State's 2006 recruiting classes - ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in Rivals.com's team rankings - have been labeled two of the greatest classes ever. That was reflected with the recent release of rosters for the 29th McDonald's All-American game. The all-star game is scheduled for Mar. 29 in San Diego.

The Tar Heels and Buckeyes each will have three signees in the game. A total of 24 players were selected to the two teams. The group includes North Carolina's Wayne Ellington, Tywon Lawson and Brandan Wright and Ohio State's Mike Conley, Daequan Cook and Greg Oden.

"Both Ohio State and North Carolina have the potential to be top-10 teams next season because of these classes and the fact they are extremely well coached," Rivals.com recruiting analyst Tim Watts said. "(Ohio State coach) Thad Matta is bringing in an enormous amount of talent, and Roy Williams is great at mixing new players into his system."

Oden and Conley, who play for Lawrence North High in Indianapolis, are one of three sets of high school teammates that were selected to play in the top prep all-star game. Duke signee Gerald Henderson, who plays with Ellington at Episcopal Academy in Merion, Pa., will be suiting up for the East. The West team features Stanford-signees and twins Robin Lopez and Brook Lopez from San Joaquin Memorial High in Fresno, Calif.

Much of the spotlight will be on Oden, a 7-foot-0, 240-pound center who has long been the consensus No. 1-ranked prospect in the class. Despite Oden's presence, Watts wouldn't be surprised to see someone else land the game's MVP award.

"Keen an eye on (Arizona signee) Chase Budinger," Watts said. "This is the type of game he likes with wide-open style of play.

"Ellington should do really well, too, because of his ability to score from the point guard spot. Wright could surprise if he plays aggressively and gets enough touches."

Some of the bigger snubs were Syracuse signee Paul Harris, a versatile guard from Notre Dame Academy in Worcester, Mass., and Connecticut-signee Stanley Robinson, a power forward from Huffman High in Birmingham, Ala. Harris and Robinson are ranked Nos. 11 and 15.

"It's an absolute joke that Harris didn't make it," Watts said. "He is a consensus top-12 player and he is an absolute warrior on the court. He does a little bit of everything from rebounding to shooting to handling the ball and does it all well."

"Robinson also deserved to be on the team. He is a consensus top-20 player, a good student and plays for one of the country's premier programs."

Seven of the McDonald's All-Americans are heading to ACC schools. The Pac-10 ranked second with five, the Big 12 landed four, the Big Ten had three and the Big East had two. No SEC-signees made the roster.

EAST TEAM
Earl Clark (Louisville)
Mike Conley (Ohio State)
Javaris Crittenton (Georgia Tech)
Wayne Ellington (North Carolina)
Gerald Henderson (Duke)
Tywon Lawson (North Carolina)
Vernon Macklin (Georgetown)
Greg Oden (Ohio State)
Scottie Reynolds (Oklahoma)
Lance Thomas
Brandan Wright (North Carolina)
Thaddeus Young (Georgia Tech)
Coach: Doug Lipscomb (Wheeler High School - Marietta, Ga.)

WEST TEAM
Darrell Arthur
D.J. Augustin (Texas)
Chase Budinger (Arizona)
Demond Carter (Baylor)
Sherron Collins (Kansas)
Daequan Cook (Ohio State)
Kevin Durant (Texas)
Spencer Hawes (Washington)
James Keefe (UCLA)
Brook Lopez (Stanford)
Robin Lopez (Stanford)
Jon Scheyer (Duke)
Coach: Harvey Kitani (Fairfax High School - Los Angeles, Calif.)





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