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
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.
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
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.