St. Francis (Alpharetta, Ga.) will experience a unique distinction at the McDonald’s All American Game in Chicago.
It is lone school this year to have two girls players selected, something that has not happened often in McDonald’s All American Game history.
Kasiyahna Kushkituah, a 6-4 center, and Maya Dodson, a 6-3 wing, will represent the school, their families and community – many of whom were on hand Friday as the McDonald’s Hometown Heroes presented by American Family Insurance visited to present each player with her honorary jersey.
“It’s really hard for two people from the same school to make it out of 24,” Dodson said. “I’m really happy to go with my teammate. We’ve grown and become best friends throughout our high school careers. I can’t wait to share this moment with her.”
Said Kushkituah: “It means a lot to me to go with Maya. She is one of my best friends. We work very hard. We train together, we practice together, we spend time together on and off the court. For both of us to achieve one of our goals that we had together has been amazing.”
Kushkituah, ranked as the No. 55 overall player and No. 6 post by espnW’s HoopGurlz, also will share the experience with her future college teammates. She is one of four Tennessee signess selected to the roster.
Kushkituah, Rennia Davis from Ribault (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Anastasia Hayes from Riverdale (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) will play for the East. Evina Westbrook from South Salem (Ore.) will play for the West.
“When we all realized we were going, we texted each other to say congrats,” Kushkituah said. “To be able to play with each other before we actually go to Tennessee is amazing. …
“I want to make a statement and play my hardest. I’ve been training really hard, but this is making me train harder so I can perform well when I get there. I also want to have a great time.”
Dodson, ranked as the No. 11 player overall, also will get to spend time with future Stanford teammate Kiana Williams, a 5-7 guard from Karen Wagner High in Texas. Dodson will play for the East with Williams playing for the West.
“We went on the same official visit and I’m excited to build a relationship now before we get to Stanford,” Dodson said. “I want to just take everything in and have fun. It’s an all-star game so I don’t want to take it too seriously, but I also want to go out there and do what I do best — attack and play good defense and rebound.”
The McDonald’s selection also brought the realization that their high school careers are almost coming to a close.
“I thought about how my high school senior year is almost over,” Kushkituah said, “but I’m happy to spend it in an event like this.”