USA TODAY High School Sports is unveiling the 2017-18 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Girls Basketball Teams as selected by Jim Halley with input from high school coaches and recruiting experts.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Christyn Williams, Central Arkansas Christian
Name: Bob Mackey
School: Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.)
Details: Coached his team to its 25th state Catholic school state title. Has coached three players who made the 35th anniversary ALL-USA girls roster: Sue Bird, Chamique Holdsclaw and Tina Charles. He was the ALL-USA Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2006. Also coaches volleyball at Christ the King.
Favorite food: Italian. It’s usually pasta.
Playing highlight: Played four years at Xavier High School in Manhattan and have some great memories with great players and great alumni.
My worst sport: Golf. I can’t putt to save my life.
Early jobs: The first job I ever had was cutting fruits and vegetables for a vegetable stand in the Rockaways for the summer. That and dishwashing in a restaurant were probably the worst jobs I’ve ever had.
What my real job is like: At Christ the King, I’m the bottle washer. I clean the floor. I teach chemistry. I’m the athletic director, along with the boys coach, Joe Arbitello. I drive the bus. I also teach honors chemistry and direct a research program for science research, which is always fun.
Biggest influences: I had some great CYO and grammar school coaches. They were all men with families and they all had jobs but the time they put in with kids really had an impact and made a difference. Between them and high school coaches and many of the college coaches I associated with, were all influences.
Making sacrifices: For my family, vacations are few and far between. I’ve missed a lot of family dinners. I was very lucky. Even though I missed a lot of my daughter’s youth games in middle school and grammar school, but I was able to coach her in soccer and CYO and then I was lucky that she came to play for me at Christ the King. I coached (Kerry) in basketball and volleyball at Christ the King. She’s graduating this May from (Manhattanville College), is a Division III All-American in volleyball and coaches travel volleyball.
Smartest player: Probably Sue Bird. She saw the game and still sees it in a very unique way. You can hear it now when she calls games on TV.
Inspiration on the bench: My assistant coach, Clare Droesch, who played for me and was an All-American at Boston College. She was a hell of a player her and still holds the school single game scoring record with 53 points in a game. She was diagnosed six years ago with Stage 4 breast cancer. It’s been a tough battle. She’s lost the use of her legs but has not missed a game this year. She has been an inspiration and a real role model for the kids.
Secret entertainer crush: Julia Roberts.
CTK tradition: The tradition in New York, especially in the Catholic League is incredible. I heard this morning from one of my former players, Shay Dorron, who won a national title at Maryland. Tina (Charles), Carrem Gay and 11 or 12 former players came back when we played for the Brooklyn-Queens title this season. The whole crew hung out like they had never left. It was great for my kids to see that camaraderie going on so many years later.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: Most recent ALL-USA Players of the Year
LOOKING BACK: 2016-17 ALL-USA Girls Basketball Team