McDonald's All American
High School Basketball

The Selection Process


The Search Begins

The initial list of potential names is gathered by Sports America, Inc., which has worked with McDonald's in connection with the McDonald's All American Game since it was founded in 1978. Names are submitted by members of the Selection Committee as well as state representatives who religiously follow the prep scene in their areas. In addition, Sports America subscribes to every major basketball publication and is read very carefully by its staff to ensure that some deserving players are not overlooked. Many rising seniors make this list based on an excellent junior year or for having an outstanding summer participating in summer camps and AAU tournaments. There is no set number of how many players can be nominated throughout the country. Traditionally, the final total is between 1,500 to 1,800 for boys and 900 to 1,200 for girls.

What Happens Next?

To eliminate duplication, since the initial list is obtained from many sources, the names are then entered into Sports America's computer database and listed alphabetically and by state. This also allows for an orderly fashion in which to begin the verification process.

The Verification Process

At this stage, the staff of Sports America contacts the player's high school via telephone in order to confirm with the basketball coach or athletic director that the nominee is indeed an eligible senior in good academic standing. Sports America also asks the coach if there are other seniors on his team that he or she feels deserve a nomination.

The Team Selection Process

The voting process for the McDonald's All American Team next involves the Selection Committee. The Selection Committee is comprised of the nation's most knowledgeable high school analysts, prep scouts, high school newspaper reporters and prestigious basketball coaches. The Selection Committee is chaired by Coach Morgan Wootten of DeMatha High School in Hyattsville, Maryland. Coach Wootten has over 1,200 career victories and has won five national high school championships.

Round One - The first ballot is a consensus list of the top 125 players in the nation, compiled by the staff of Sports America, Inc., from the nation's top recruiting and high school basketball publications. The list is sent to the Selection Committee at the end of December for them to add any additional names that they feel are deserving candidates for the designated Top 100 finalists to be announced in early February. After being reviewed by the Selection Committee members, the ballot usually grows to nearly 150 names of the top players in the country.

Round Two - The second ballot, with those 150 or so names, is sent to the Selection Committee in January, asking members to vote for the 40 most deserving players, in their opinion, from the alphabetized list. (Note: Players are intentionally not ranked on the ballot). Once the ballots are returned to Sports America in mid-January, the votes are tallied and the Top 100 vote getters are considered McDonald's All American Finalists for that year. The list of Top 100 Finalists will be revealed to the public in early February on

Round Three - The third ballot consists of the top 100 finalists from the previous vote and is sent to the Selection Committee near the end of January. Once again, the committee reviews the ballot and this time they rank the top 20 players. All of the players who do not receive any votes (do not appear on any ballots) are eliminated from future rounds.

Round Four - The fourth ballot includes all of the players who received at least one vote from a committee member in the previous round of voting. This time, committee members are given a ballot that requires them to make their own McDonald's team. The ballots require the committee members to select two point guards, two shooting guards, two small forwards, two power forwards and two centers for each the East and West teams. Each committee member votes for 20 total players. The players are ranked in order based on who appears on the most ballots. Those players are also divided onto East and West teams and by position to create the final teams. The top 20 vote getters are placed on the roster. By designing the final ballot this way, we make sure that equal representation is coming from around the country and for each position. With 27 committee members voting, the team is always very solid in its support.

On or about February 15, Selection Committee Chairman Morgan Wootten, reviews and approves the twenty names chosen by the Selection Committee and notifies each player that he or she has been named to the McDonald's All American High School Basketball Team and selected to play in the McDonald's All American Game. Coach Wootten has the option to add additional players from the following four vote getters should he feel that it is necessary and warranted for the overall good of the Game.

The official announcement of the McDonald's All American High School Basketball Team is made a few days later at the end of February.

Voting Criteria

Each committee member is instructed to vote for players who they feel should be represented of McDonald's All Americans. Players must have played at least half of their senior season and should be considered academically eligible throughout the voting process.

Where is the line between East and West?

There is no specific line that determines the East and West breakdown. We take the players for each position and divide them based on relative geographical location. Because there are sometimes more players at one position on one team than others, they are usually exceptions to the rule. Most likely, at least 90 percent of the players will fall in their appropriate region, but McDonald's also wants to have the best players in the nation represented in the game.

Fifth Year Players

Only true seniors are allowed to play in the McDonald's All American Game. Players are only eligible once during their high school career to play in the game. Any player repeating his senior year will not be able to participate, although if a fifth-year player had only repeated an earlier year (freshman, sophomore or junior), he will still be eligible to play - as long as it was not his senior year that he repeated. Fourth-year seniors attending fifth-year preparatory schools are also eligible to participate.


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