Cody Zeller, one of the top prep bigs in the country, has decided to attend Indiana this coming Fall. He also knows where he’ll be playing later this week: in Chicago, alongside two dozen of his best peers in the McDonald’s All American game. In between this week’s constant activities, Zeller is managing to hold down a diary for SLAMonline. Here’s today’s entry.–Ed
by Cody Zeller
Today was my second day here in Chicago for the 34th annual McDonald’s All American Game. I’ve been extremely busy with practices and meetings ever since I arrived, but have enjoyed every minute. It’s an honor and privilege to compete in this game, not only because of the history involved but because 100 percent of the proceeds go directly to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicago.
My alarm woke me up at 8 a.m., and after a quick shower, I ate a wonderful breakfast with my teammates filled with eggs, sausage and pancakes. They have definitely been feeding us well – especially the Chicago-style pizza we ate for dinner.
After breakfast, we headed to Attack Athletics for our second day of practice. We trained hard for about two hours. Maybe a little too hard, actually. Three of my teammates from the West Squad – Khem Birch, Wayne Blackshear and Amir Williams – were unable to finish practice after suffering a few minor injuries. Despite the injuries, we scrimmaged and participated in a lot of team building drills to make us all a little more comfortable playing together.
After practice we ate lunch at the Rock-N-Roll McDonald’s in downtown Chicago. It was the most surreal McDonald’s I’ve ever visited. It had two floors and even an escalator, which is quite different than the McDonald’s in my hometown of Washington, IN. Then, after a little bit of downtime at the hotel, we headed to Chicago State University for the evening’s main event, the POWERADE Jam Fest.
Although I didn’t participate in any of the events, it was an enjoyable experience to cheer on my new teammates. The skills competition was won by Michael Carter-Williams, who defeated my pick for the contest, Myck Kabongo; as I predicted, Kyle Wiltjer took home the three-point crown; and LeBryan Nash won the dunk contest, although most of the crowd, including myself, thought Marshall Plumlee was the victor. Nonetheless, all of the competitions were exciting and lived up to the hype.
After the conclusion of the POWERADE Jam Fest, we came back to the hotel for some evening snacks, video games, and relaxation before our 11 p.m. curfew. I’m looking forward to tomorrow as we take the court for an organized scrimmage before heading to the awards banquet in the evening.
Thanks for taking an interest in the McDonald’s All American Games and giving me an opportunity to write these journals for SLAMonline. Talk to you all tomorrow!