She could be “on the bubble” to be chosen to play in this year’s McDonald’s All-American Game, but it sure would be fun if Aarion McDonald of Stockton Brookside Christian made it since she’d be the first “McDonald” to be a McDonald’s All-American.
Just for curiosity, we decided to go through the lists of players – both boys and girls – who’ve participated in the annual McDonald’s All-American Games, which began for boys players in 1977 and has become one of the most prestigious high school sports events held each year, and find out if any players with the last name “McDonald” have ever been in it.
Turns out the answer is zero. So is there a chance we’ll have one this year since senior Aarion McDonald from Brookside Christian of Stockton is a nominee and possibly the No. 2 college prospect in Northern California?
First, the McDonald’s All-American selection committee almost exclusively looks at college recruiting potential and not high school accomplishment so pointing out that McDonald was the Stockton Record Player of the Year as a junior over players from current national No. 1 St. Mary’s may not carry much weight. Her scoring average of 26.3 from last year also may help but not too much.
Second, in looking through the list of nominees released a few days ago, we’d expect that California’s No. 1 college prospect and our State Sophomore and State Junior of the Year – Sabrina Ionescu of Orinda Miramonte – will be a slam dunk choice for this year’s game. So probably will be West Hills Chaminade standout Leonna Odom and perhaps San Diego Torrey Pines’ standout Sierra Campisano. How many from California will make it beyond those three? Could be more, but this post isn’t about everybody’s chances, but about a girl named McDonald.
There were five California girls in the game two years ago but it could hurt McDonald that two other players also from Stockton also are likely among the final group of “bubble players” – St. Mary’s guard Mi’Cole Cayton and St. Mary’s 3-point queen Kat Tudor. If Tudor’s silky smooth 3-point shot is what the committee wants, then getting a second player from the same town may not work.
As for her own recruiting, McDonald is headed to Washington, which helps, and we have to assume that her head coach, Pico Wilburn, has sent in some praise and compared her favorably to the two McDonald’s All-Americans he coached at Oakland Tech in 2005 – Alexis Gray-Lawson and Devanei Hampton.
McDonald also is No. 52 in her ESPN ranking with a five-star designation. That means it certainly wouldn’t be a stretch if the McDonald’s selection committee went with her and did it partly because the history it would make with her name. We just don’t know all the in-and-outs of point guards vs. shooting guards vs. forwards, etc. Besides McDonald, another point guard from California who could make it is Reili Richardson of Brea Olinda (an Arizona State recruit).
The bottom line based on the all the players we’ve seen over the years is that McDonald does indeed play at that high of a level and would be a deserving choice. Can’t wait to see the announcement of players on January 17.