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Jordan Brand Classic All Americans dish on the schools that almost landed them



West Charlotte (N.C.) center Kennedy Meeks ultimately chose North Carolina, but he said he almost signed with Georgetown. / Original photo by Brian Spurlock, USA TODAY Sports

When Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.) forward Aaron Gordon sat down behind a row of four fitted caps, which represented the schools he was choosing from, at media day for the McDonald’s All American game in Chicago, the general consensus among the rest of the All Americans was that Gordon had two hats too many.

“The reality is that, for most of us, it almost never comes down to more than two schools,” said Montverde (Fla.) center Dakari Johnson, who will suit up for the West in the Jordan Brand Classic Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn (8 p.m. ET on ESPN2). “That’s the part we don’t tell you guys. Almost always you choose between two schools in the end.”

MORE: Gordon chooses Arizona

Whether it’s to build the suspense, be politically correct or contain the breaking news, the consensus among the JBC All Americans is that, in the end, only one other school had a legitimate shot to land them.

MORE: Players predict the score of a 1-on-1 game with MJ

That makes the follow-up question rather obvious: who took second?

“Ah man,” De Soto (Texas) shooting guard Matt Jones said with a laugh. “I mean, I don’t know if I should share that one!”

Eventually we got Jones and a handful of other JBC All Americans to reveal which school finished runner-up.

Kennedy Meeks, West Charlotte (Charlotte, N.C.), C
Signed to: North Carolina
I almost went to: “Georgetown. Yeah, they almost got me. I just loved the tradition there and I love John Thompson III. They develop big men there and obviously that’s appealing to me. I just didn’t feel as comfortable with them as I did at North Carolina, but I really liked the Hoyas.”

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Nigel Williams, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.), PG
Signed to:
Washington
I almost went to: “Harvard. I loved coach (Tommy) Amaker. My family and I are huge on academics and just thinking about life after basketball it’s hard to say no to the Harvard brand. So I would definitely say that Harvard almost got me.”

Matt Jones, DeSoto (Texas), SG
Signed to:
Duke
I almost went to: “Florida. I loved coach (Billy) Donovan and I had a ball at the visit when I went. I love their style of play too. So I would definitely have gone to Florida if I had not gone to Duke.”

Dakari Johnson, Montverde (Montverde, Fla.), C
Signed to
: Kentucky
I almost went to: “Georgetown. I love the staff there and they’re an elite school for big men. I know I would excel there. They almost got me. I would’ve gone there if Kentucky wasn’t an option.”

Wayne Selden, Tilton (Tilton, N.H.), SF
Signed to:
Kansas
I almost went to: “Syracuse. My bro Michael Carter-Williams goes there and coach (Jerry) McNamara did a great job recruiting me. I loved everything about the school. Almost got me!”

Andrew Harrison, Travis (Richmond, Texas), PG
Signed to:
Kentucky
I almost went to: “Maryland. They have a great coaching staff and that’s where a lot of my family is from.”

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Chester (Chester, Pa.), SF
Signed to:
Arizona
I almost went to: "Florida. I just think we could do big things there at Florida with all of the players that they had coming in for my class. It was tough, I would’ve gone there, but I just love Zona.”

Chris Walker, Holmes County (Bonifay, Fla.), PF
Signed to:
Florida
I almost went to: “Louisville. I just love their style man. I know I would fit in perfect there. They just push the ball and they get out and score quickly. I’d do big things there. They would’ve had me if Florida wasn’t around.”

Troy Williams, Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), SF
Signed to:
Indiana
I almost went to: Louisville. Coach (Rick) Pitino is a really great coach on and off the court; a really nice and trustworthy person. He can really teach the game. It was really close.”

Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter @JayJayUSATODAY.

 

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