Fans can meet the next potential Spartan or Wolverine hoop stars at 2 p.m. Saturday during a national broadcast honoring 2021 McDonald's All Americans. The annual high school all-star game, usually held at Chicago's United Center, was canceled for the second year in a row due to COVID-19.
But this year, the honorees will be recognized on an ABC program detailing interesting facts about the 24 senior boys and 24 senior girls named to the teams.
"The special will take place in lieu of this year’s McDonald’s All American Games in-person activities, which were re-imagined as a virtual celebration due to COVID-19," read a news release about the event. "The show will feature never-before-seen dunks and stories from this year’s esteemed class, conversations with the games’ famous alumni, and a look behind the curtain at the annual selection process."
Former McDonald's All Americans Paul Pierce, Kendrick Perkins, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose, a Detroit native and onetime Michigan star, will be part of the program.
While the 24-member girls team did not feature strong Michigan connections, the boys team had several. Max Christie, a guard from Chicago's suburbs, is the first Michigan State commit or signee to be named to the team in four years. Michigan broke a much longer streak in grand fashion: three Wolverines signees (Caleb Houstan, Moussa Diabate and Michigan native Kobe Bufkin) were named to the team after a nearly 20-year drought for U-M.
Michigan basketball McDonald's All Americans
Bio: 6-foot-7, 190-pound forward, Montverde Academy (Florida).
The buzz: Houstan plays for the nation's best high school team and is widely regarded as one of the nation's best forwards. His poise, size and shooting should play nicely on a Michigan team that will need to replace much of it offensive firepower from the wing due to graduations.
Bio: 6-11, 215-pound forward, IMG Academy (Florida).
The buzz: Diabate is a long and strong frontcourt player who is already filling out his nearly 7-foot frame nicely. He shows great coordination for such a tall teen and his ability to dribble in transition or on the drive is rare.
Bio: 6-4, 175-pound guard, Grand Rapids Christian.
The buzz: Bufkin may not come in as heralded as his five-star Michigan classmates, but there's a reason why he was made a McDonald's All American. Bufkin has long arms and can get his shot up effectively, offsetting his "average" size at the 2-guard. He may need some time to build weight and become an effective Big Ten player, but the quickness, handle and shotmaking are there.
Michigan State basketball McDonald's All Americans
Bio: 6-6, 165-pound guard, Rolling Meadows (Illinois).
The buzz: McDonald's All American was just the latest honor for Christie. The sharpshooting guard has been lauded all season long by Illinois preps media and figures to be a key contributor early on for Tom Izzo.
How to learn more about Michigan, Michigan State basketball signees
What: 2021 McDonald’s All American Games Special.
Who: Michigan State commit Max Christie; Michigan commits Caleb Houstan, Moussa Diabate, Kobe Bufkin (Grand Rapids Christian).
When: 2 p.m. Saturday.
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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan, Michigan State basketball All Americans honored on ABC