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Cassidy Awards: McDonald's All-American Game

© Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

HOUSTON – The 2024 McDonald's All-American Game is in the books, as are the practices and scrimmages that preceded it. Rivals national analyst Rob Cassidy was on hand for the entire week that was in Texas and now dishes out awards based on everything he observed during his four days in H-Town.

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2024 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2025 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team

2026 Rankings: Top 100

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BEST IN SHOW: Dylan Harper

One of the game’s co-MVPs, Harper was as locked in as any prospect at the event, taking both practice and the game itself extremely seriously. The future Rutgers star could be heard coaching his teammates and urging them to match his effort. It’s clear that Harper feels comfortable in a leadership role among his peers.

His refined skill set and college-ready body have allowed him to build the type of confidence Scarlet Knights head coach Steve Pikiell will value immensely once Harper arrives on campus. Harper posted 22 points, six rebounds and five assists on game night, but his McDonald’s week was even more impressive than those numbers and accolades indicate.

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BEAST BENEATH: Derik Queen

The Maryland-bound big man had a bit of an up-and-down week of practices but turned it on quickly under the week’s brightest lights. He first shined in the formal scrimmage before taking it to the next level when the game tipped, dominating the glass and the paint as a whole en route to a co-MVP performance that saw the center score 23 points and grab eight rebounds.

Queen’s broad shoulders, instincts and incredibly reliable hands allow him to create extra possessions and reliably finish around the rim. He’ll need to continue to reshape his body at the next level, but the way his skill set frustrated fellow blue chip recruits on Tuesday night is reason for Maryland fans to be optimistic about Queen’s future.

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THE NEXT BIG THING: Cooper Flagg

We’ve seen Flagg in various situations throughout his time as a high schooler. McDonalds week felt like a pivot point, however, as Flagg seems to be transitioning well from prep star to possible No. 1 pick. NBA scouts continued to sign Flagg’s praises during practices this week, as the possible top pick in the 2025 NBA Draft showcased his passing ability and smooth jumper all the while impacting games on the defensive end in a way few others are capable.

Flagg is the most rounded prospect in the class and projects as the most promising pro. His no-nonsense demeanor in Houston suggests he’s familiar with the enormity of his reputation and aware of the kind of microscope under which it has placed him.

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STOCK UP: Donnie Freeman

Freeman was already a lock to shoot up the rankings before he arrived at McDonald's based on his recent play, but the future ACC star continued to make his case at the event. The 6-foot-9 forward continues to be a major factor on the glass and when it comes to playing at and above the rim, but it’s his improved touch from deep that has allowed him to take the next step.

Freeman has the look of a full-on stretch four and managed to tantalize the crowd of NBA scouts that gathered at the event. A slide up the Rivals150 is coming, and the top-10 isn’t out of reach for Freeman, who’s playing the best basketball of his career right now. Freeman boosted the game’s highest plus-minus numbers and impacted a number of different facets of the contest despite scoring just six points on a neat 50 percent shooting that included an impressive contested 3-pointer.

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ASSERTIVE: Ian Jackson

© Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Jackson was in attack mode all week, putting pressure on the rim and letting it fly from deep. Sure, he attempted a game-high 21 shots on game night, but most of them were a result of the future Tar Heel taking defenders off the dribble and creating a decent look. He finished the contest with 21 points and a pair of assists, but was also a standout in both public practices and showed a smooth stroke from deep during Sunday night’s scrimmage.

Jackson is definitely an alpha and behaves like one on and off the court, as he’s as confident as any player in the 2024 class. He won’t be blinded by the bright lights of North Carolina and is the type of player that could become a leader the moment he arrives on campus as a freshman. Jackson is a truly elite level athlete with a streak jumper that helps him take over games when it’s going well.

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SHARP SHOOTER: Jalil Bethea

Bethea showed some improved ballhanding and court vision throughout the week, but his reputation is that of a score-first guard for good reason. Monday’s practice saw Bethea shoot the metaphorical lights out from beyond the arc, knocking down catch-and-shoot jumpers in addition to creating his shot with step-backs and crossovers.

The 6-foot-4 Miami signee is one of the most explosive scoring guards in the country, and his full bag was on display in Houston. He knocked down just one 3-pointer in the game itself but made his mark more often in the practices leading into the game.

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GAMER: Boogie Fland

© Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Fland shined on game night in Houston, as the future Kentucky point guard scored 17 points while shooting 3-for-6 from three-point range and dishing out three assists. He was also talked about by teammates as one of the more “slept on” prospects in the game. In practice, Fland showed himself to be a charismatic leader that other prospects seem to flock to and enjoy being around, an important trait for an SEC-bound lead guard.

The five-star guard has long been known as a prolific scorer capable of creating his own looks, but his handle has become tighter over the last year, making him capable of playing either on ball or off. Fland’s performance in Texas backed up his lofty, top-10 ranking.

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LOCK-DOWN DEFENDER: Drake Powell

The 6-foot-6 Powell is as versatile a defender as there is in the class, and it’s his discipline and motor that allows him to separate himself from the pack on that end of the court. The week saw the long, athletic Powell stay in front of smaller guards on the perimeter and cause them problems without reaching. It also saw him contest and alter a number of shots in the paint, where he will only get better as he continues to add muscle.

Powell did a number of positive things on the offensive end as well, as he flashed a reliable pull-up jumper from the mid-range all week, even if he had an extremely quiet offensive night on game day.