Cole Anthony knows that this will sound cliché and contrived, but he’s never been the type of player that assumes his standing as No. 1 overall player in USA Today Sports’ Chosen 25 automatically affords him certain accolades.
“I work for everything,” Anthony said. “I don’t even want anything given to me; that’s not how I’m built.”
That’s why the Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) point guard was genuinely ecstatic on Thursday to learn that he was one of 24 players selected to play in this year’s McDonald’s All American Game, which will commence on March 27 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.
“It’s such an honor,” Anthony said. “This was a dream of mine. It makes me feel like I’m one step closer to fulfilling my ultimate dream.”
Florida led the way with six All Americans, New Jersey had three and Indiana and Texas had two apiece.
Duke, Florida, Villanova, Arizona and Kentucky had the most recruits represented on the boys’ side with two apiece.
Twenty-one of the seniors in USA TODAY Sports’ Chosen 25 were picked for the game.
Six players remain undecided, including Anthony, who will lead the East.
He’ll be joined by Holy Spirit Prep (Atlanta) shooting guard Anthony Edwards, ranked No. 2 overall in the Chosen 25, La Lumiere School (La Porte, Ind.) forward Isaiah Stewart, a Washington commit who is ranked No. 3 overall in the Chosen 25, and University School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) forward Vernon Carey Jr., a Duke commit who is ranked No. 4 overall in the Chosen 25.
The West is highlighted by Memphis (Tenn.) East High School center James Wiseman, a Memphis signee who is ranked No. 5 overall in the Chosen 25, Federal Way (Wash.) High School forward Jaden McDaniels, a forward who is ranked No. 6 overall in the Chosen 25, South Garland (Texas) High School guard Tyrese Maxey, a Kentucky signee who is ranked No. 7 overall in the Chosen 25, and IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) shooting guard Josh Green, an Arizona signee who is ranked No. 8 overall in the Chosen 25.
Stewart vividly recalls watching Thomas Bryant, now a forward with the Washington Wizards, play in the 2015 All American Game with his father. Shortly thereafter, Stewart created an Instagram and posted a picture of the All American Game with a caption that read “goals.”
“Now here I am,” Stewart said. “It’s surreal. I’m taking this opportunity seriously because it’s a blessing. When I get there, I want to be in the moment and take it all in. It will be fun, but it’s gonna be a dogfight in the gym. It’s not just a vacation. Time to go to work.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY