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February 10, 2011

Future Cats named McD's All-Americans

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The Golden Arches are going to have a decidedly blue tint to them this spring.

Four Kentucky men's basketball signees were named to play in the 2011 McDonald's All-American Game on Thursday, the most future Cats to have ever attained the lofty award in a single year.

Power forward Anthony Davis, small forward Mike Gilchrist, point guard Marquis Teague and power forward Kyle Wiltjer will all suit up in the high-profile all-star game featuring the nation's top 24 high school seniors on March 30 at the United Center in Chicago.

The 2011 additions bring the total number of McDonald's All-Americans to sign with Kentucky since coach John Calipari took over to eight, including three in the 2010 game and one in 2009.

In addition, Kentucky women's signee Bria Goss of Indianapolis Ben Davis High School, was named to the girls' game -- the second straight year coach Matthew Mitchell has landed a McDonald's All-American. UK freshman guard Jennifer O'Neill played in the girls' game last year.

With the four boys' McDonald's All-Americans, UK will almost assuredly finish with the nation's No. 1 recruiting class for the third straight year this spring.

"It's not surprising that all of the Kentucky's recruits made the game," said Rivals.com national analyst Jerry Meyer, who is a member of the McDonald's boys' selection committee. "It is indicative of the success Kentucky has had in recruiting under Calipari.

"All four are very deserving as they are at the top of their respective positions, if not the best at his position."

Teague is ranked the No. 2 player in the Class of 2011 by Rivals.com; Gilchrist ranks third, Davis sixth and Wiltjer 25th.

Teague, of Indianapolis Pike High School, continues the lineage of top point guards casting their lot with Calipari, following the Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, John Wall and current freshman Brandon Knight.

The 6-2 player is almost impossible to keep out of the lane one-on-one, and his end-to-end speed rivals Wall's.

Gilchrist, a 6-6, 190-pound swingman from Elizabeth, N.J., may be the UK recruit most suited to Calipari's dribble drive system. He is considered perhaps the nation's most accomplished all-around player because of his ability to defend, score and rebound.

Davis, a 6-10, 220-pound jumping jack from Chicago's Perspectives Charter School, won't have far to travel to next month's game at the United Center, and there's a good chance he'll wow the hometown crowd.

Calipari has routinely compared him to Marcus Camby, the former star of Calipari's Massachusetts squad that reached the 1996 Final Four, largely because of his elite shot-blocking ability. Davis also has high-level ball-handling and shooting skills for a player of his height.

Davis, Teague and Gilchrist are all candidates to challenge Duke signee Austin Rivers, currently ranked No. 1, for the title of Rivals.com's top prospect in 2011.

Wiltjer, a 6-9, 225-pound forward, became the second star in two years from faraway Portland, Ore., to sign with the Cats, joining current freshman Terrence Jones. He's arguably the nation's best three-point shooting big men, but he has an array of post moves.

"I'm thrilled for Kyle," Wiltjer's father, Greg, said. "He's worked really hard. Being a McDonald's All-American has a lot of prestige, and I'm really excited for him."

Wiltjer, Teague and Davis will play on the McDonald's West team. Gilchrist will be on the East team.

This is the fifth time UK has had at least three McDonald's All-Americans in the same class since the game's inception in 1977. The other years were 1979 (Sam Bowie, Derrick Hord, Dirk Minniefield), 1984 (Ed Davender, Cedric Jenkins, Richard Madison), 2004 (Joe Crawford, Randolph Morris, Rajon Rondo) and 2010 (Jones, Knight, Doron Lamb).

Goss will be on the East team in the girls' game.

CatsIllustrated.com Recruiting Editor Steve Jones also contributed to this story.

Matt May is the basketball beat reporter for The Cats' Pause. If you have questions or comments about the Cats e-mail him here. You can also follow "@TCPMAY" on Twitter for live updates.



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