[CHICAGO] It was a star-studded event at the Boys McDonald’s All-American Game Wednesday night.
Former All-Stars like Dwayne Wade, Rajon Rondo, and Cavs' Head Coach Tyronn Lue sat down to watch the future and did they ever get a game. Both the East and West played a competitive matchup that featured intense defense, hard fouls, and specular dunks.
In the end, Westtown star Mo Bamba’s tip in was not in time as Team West picked up the 109-107 win.
“This game was competitive," said McDonald’s All-American game MVP Michael Porter Jr. I know a lot of All-Star games you just run up and down and dunk but we were playing hard.”
The West had the luxury of having Michael Porter Jr as he finished with 17 points and 8 rebounds. The competitiveness was a theme of the game for these boys. Many of them talked about how they had an obligation to make the game competitive.
“We wanted to play hard and give the fans a show, so we had to," said dunk contest winner Collin Sexton. "We had to give them a show, ‘cause they paid money so we might as well."
"Well me personally coming into it, we all know each other on a personal relationship so we were talking mess.” Troy Brown Jr. said about the competitiveness of the game. “After we lost the scrimmage, we had a chip on our shoulder to come in and win."
This attitude in comparison to what is seen now out of the All-Star Games at the professional level is vastly different. While the high school players were all in agreement to play hard, many professionals in the four major professional sports are either trying to forgo going to their leagues’ respective all-star game or not play the game hard. In other words, take notes pros.
Nevertheless, this game had a sense of purity to it. At the high school level, it is about fun and playing basketball. It is not about getting paid or worrying about college life. Interestingly, the players talked about this when asked what they’ll miss most about high basketball.
“I think high school basketball is the [purest] form of basketball. You’re playing to have fun, there’s no pressure.” Commented Mizzou commits Michael Porter Jr.
Mo Bamba also piggybacked on that point as well saying, “The fun and games are over.”
Many of the players are excited for the next step to play college basketball “Honestly I’m just prepared for the physicality and the energy (in college arena),” said Collin Sexton. Mo Bamba, in particular, made the point that for him it is another journey,
All of these players are now going to go through a new chapter in their life and the NCAA is a different animal altogether. However, it is a fun and exciting chapter that each and every single player in this game will have an opportunity to experience.