Providence Day (Charlotte, N.C.) star Janelle Bailey is used to being the center of attention, and that was again the case Wednesday at her McDonald’s All American jersey ceremony.
“It means a lot,” she said of the evnt. “Coming from Providence Day, I’m only the second McDonald’s All American along with Jatarie White. So it means a lot to my school, it means a lot to my family, and being one of the 24 girls selected shows how hard I have worked and how it has finally paid off.”
Bailey was honored as part of the McDonald’s All American Games Hometown Heroes presented by American Family Insurance visited her school.
“It was awesome,” she said. “We had the whole student body here, and my team, and it was good for them all to be here. It was just really good and really exciting.”
But for a player who was recently honored for reaching 2,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds, does the attention, awards, and ceremonies ever get…old?
“It doesn’t get old,” Bailey said. “I try to take it and move on, but it’s something I have in the back of my mind. It’s exciting to see—everyday I go to the gym, everyday I go to practice, everyday I watch film—the time I spent helps in getting those awards. It wouldn’t be done without my coaches and teammates. I can’t score the ball if they don’t pass to me. I can’t be a McDonald’s All American if people don’t advocate for me and get me out there.
“It’s something that I’ll cherish. So, no, it doesn’t really get old. But it’s something I can put to the side for when the season is over and I’ve done my job and I can look back on the things that I have done that have been a result of my hard work.”
As for the game itself, which will tip March 29 in Chicago, Bailey will use the experience as a reunion of sorts.
“I look forward to playing with my old teammates, Megan Walker from Boo Williams and Maya Dodson from USA Basketball. I’m definitely excited to see them again,” she said. “Not a lot of people get this opportunity, so I want to take it in but also be serious about it. I don’t want to take it for granted.”
As for her future, Bailey has signed with North Carolina, where she expects to make an immediate impact.
“I look forward to meeting the team and my coaches, and expanding my game and getting better,” she said. “I’ve already set my goal as being Freshman of the Year in the ACC. Coach (Sylvia) Hatchell and I have already talked about it as something I can accomplish. It’s about independence all-around: Growing into my own person, but basketball-wise getting better, even with things that are not on the court.”