Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy point guard Darius Garland received his honorary jersey Wednesday as part of the McDonald’s Hometown Heroes presented by American Family Insurance.
“It’s really exciting, just having the jersey on and thinking of all the players that have been in it,” Garland said. “I’m blessed to have the opportunity.”
A Vanderbilt commit, the 6-foot-2 Garland is ranked as the nation’s No. 2 point guard and No. 13 overall prospect in the Class of 2018, according to ESPN.
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“I’m looking forward to just playing with other great players getting to know each other better,” Garland said.
He paused before adding, “I might so some recruiting as well,” referring to several uncommitted players in the game.
Among his fellow McDonald’s All-Americans will be Vanderbilt commit Simisola Shittu, who will be suiting up for the West squad.
Garland is happy to be a major part of Vanderbilt’s foundation as a program, along with Shittu and four-star small forward Aaron Nesmith.
“There’s the opportunity to stay home, and the coaching staff is really great there,” Garland said. “They welcomed me as soon as I set foot on campus. Hopefully we can add more pieces, and I’m just excited to be a part of it. It’s an honor. Coach (Bryce) Drew and the whole staff, recruiting all three of us so far, we’ve got a great class going in. I’m just ready to get rock and rolling and win some games.”
Before he makes the short drive from Brentwood to Nashville, Garland will be suiting up with the country’s best high school players. Not only did Garland grow up loving watching the McDonald’s All-American Game on television, but he used to be in attendance.
“I actually have been to the game a couple times in Chicago when we lived in Indiana, and I remember telling my dad that I wanted to be a part of it,” said Garland. “Now I’m here, and I’m blessed to be a part of it.”
Both McDonald’s All-American Games will be held March 28 at Atlanta’s Philips Arena.