PREP STARS SHINE

By Eric D.Graham BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: April 2, 2012

NORTH CAROLINA (BASN)—The best prep stars in the United States laced up there lime-green fluorescent sneakers in order to play in the 35th annual MacDonald’s All-American game in Chicago at the United Center, Wednesday night.

Since 1977, the MacDonald’s High School All-American game has represented the best high school basketball the world has to offer.

As a result, over the last couple of years, it has produced NBA All Stars like Chris Paul (LA Clippers), Derrick Rose (Bulls), Lebron James (Heat) and OKC’s Kevin Durant.

Other well known NBA legends like “Magic Johnson (class of 77) Isiah Thomas (class of 79′) and Michael Jordan (class of 81) have also participated in this legendary contest.

The class of 2012, however, highlighted the hardworking, high flying High School Player of the Year Shabbaz Muhammad, who won the 2012 PowerAde Slam-Dunk Contest, the silky smooth passing and shooting of Kyle Anderson, who is heading to the west coast to UCLA plus Academic All-American Rasheed Sulaimon, the 2012 winner of PowerAde 3-point Shootout, who is heading to Duke University this fall.

“This game carries weight” said former MacDonald’s All-American Jay Williams of Duke University.

“13 out of the 24 past participants in last year’s game were in the Elite 8 (NCAA Tournament). And, 7 of those 13 are in the Final Four, right now.

Williams was correct it is an honor to share the stage with some of the best high school players in the country before entering college.

Without a doubt, the MacDonald’s High School All-American game is a string board to success. Consider the fact that, the Kentucky Wildcats entire starting lineup participated in the contest. Those players are Terrence Jones (class of 2010), Devon Lamb (class of 2010), Michael Gilchrist (2011), Anthony Davis (class of 2011) and Marquis Teague (class of 2011).

Despite the devastating dunks, no-look passes and sharp shooting, the MacDonald’s All American game is not only about dribbling a basketball, it is also about scholarship and charity.

“The basketball game over the last 35 years has raised millions of dollars for the McDonald’s House charities” said Marty Orn, President & CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities.

According to Alonzo Mourning, who is the Captain of the Advisor Council and former MacDonald’s All-American (class of 88), the game is also an opportunity for former players, like himself, to teach players sportsmanship and lifelong lessons after playing basketball.

“This game is temporary. And it’s important that they (Prep Stars) start preparing themselves for life after basketball right now as soon as they get in college.” explained Mourning, who is also an executive for the Miami Heat.

“We can’t play basketball forever. Some of these careers last longer than others.”

Mourning, who attended Georgetown University for four years upon graduating, also suggested players should utilize their God-given talents in order to obtain a free education rather than chasing the riches of the NBA by not practicing the “one and done” philosophy currently dominating the game.

After all the festivities and hooping, the West defeated the East 106 to 102 led by Shabbaz Muhammad, who scored a game high 21 points and collected six rebounds.