McDonald’s All-American Game Recap
A record-setting night.
by Bryan Crawford / @_BryanCrawford
The McDonald’s All-American game at the United Center was a rousing success.
The boys game set the mark for the largest crowd in the history of the event with an official attendance number of 20,019 people who came out to get an early glimpse of some future collegiate All-Americans and perhaps one day, future NBA All-Stars.
In the girls game, Elizabeth Williams who is signed on to play her college ball at Duke next year, led her East squad to a 78-66 victory over the West and snagged the MVP in the process by scoring 23 points which also set a new McDonald’s scoring record, surpassing the old mark of 22 points set by Alexis Hornbuckle in 2004. Williams also grabbed 11 rebounds and registered 2 blocks.
Said Williams, “I really like big games… I was excited, I was happy. The bigger, the better. I was just trying to work hard for my team, whether it was points, rebounds or passing. Whatever I could do.
“Overall, I played pretty solid, but there’s always room for improvement.”
Local girl’s standout Ariel Massengale from Bolingbrook, IL — who will play for Pat Summit at Tennessee next year — scored 13 points and had 4 rebounds and 4 assists.
But the true highlight of the night was of course the boy’s game.
Despite the late 9PM start, the United Center was packed with fans who wanted to get a glimpse of what the future holds in men’s basketball and they got a chance to see the East squad defeat the West (which was loaded and seemingly set up to win) 111-96.
Louisville commit and local standout Wayne Blackshear, who dislocated his shoulder during Monday’s practice session, was cleared to play by doctors the day of the game and made a surprise start for his West squad.
He only played 8 minutes, but did register a line of 2 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and a fantastic block. You have to admire his determination to not miss the biggest HS all-star game of the year which just so happened to be played in his backyard.
“It was fun,” said Blackshear. “It was my first time [playing] on the United Center floor and it was a dream for me and I’m just blessed to be here. I wanted to play so bad and if I didn’t – just having to sit there and watch my teammates play – I would’ve felt terrible.”
Anthony Davis, another local standout who wasn’t on anyone’s radar at all last year and who will play at Kentucky next year, had his all-around game on display for his hometown fans as he registered 14 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals and 4 blocked shots.
Said Davis on his sudden rise to prominence within the HS ranks, “I did a lot of work. I stayed in the gym because I knew that one day I wanted to be McDonald’s All-American, and, you know, I got that call and I was just shocked. But it was from all of that hard work. You’ve got to put in the work. Like Alonzo Mourning told us earlier today, you get out of the game what you put into it. If you don’t put in the work, you won’t get nothing out of it.”
The MVP award was shared by East players, James McAdoo (17 points, 4 rebounds) who will attend North Carolina next season, and Michael Gilchrist (16 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists) who, like Davis, will also attend Kentucky.
Gilchrist isn’t much for post-game interviews and didn’t have a whole lot to say with regard to the game or the co-MVP honor he received, but McAdoo was very appreciative.
“Just to come out here and play in front of 20,000 people is unreal. Only 24 of us guys got this opportunity and its thousands and thousands of kids at home that didn’t get this chance. So, you know, it hasn’t really hit me yet but just to get the MVP with Michael is an honor and I’m thankful for that.”
Duke signee Austin Rivers (14 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists) , with his dad in attendance, put on a good show for the fans but was absolutely seething after the game because his West squad lost. All-star games are supposed to fun, but Rivers is an amazing competitor and losing just doesn’t sit well with him.
Talking with Doc Rivers after the post game press conference seemed to lighten Austin up a bit. He later spoke very candidly of how appreciative he was of the opportunity that the game provided him. But still, in true Austin Rivers fashion, his swagger and his confidence was on full display.
“I’ve been in typical all-star games where it’s been hundreds of people, a couple of thousand, but for 20,000 people to come and see some high school kids, that’s amazing. It was the largest crowd in McDonald’s history so I’m very lucky to be a part of that and for me to be a part of the class to have the most people at our game, it’s an honor.
“I love playing in front of big crowds like that. It gets me going. If my high school team was out there and if it was in front of a crowd like that, I might’ve had a hundred [points].”