This is one difficult team to make.
The McDonald’s All-American Game is a who’s who of the best high school basketball talent in the country, and for the better part of 40 years, the local region has watched from afar.
On Tuesday afternoon, two senior stars with local roots made the 12-player teams.
McKenzie Forbes, a five-star recruit guard for Folsom headed to Cal, made the West Team for the 17th annual girls game to be played on March 28 at Phillips Arena in Atlanta. She leads The Bee’s top-ranked team and is widely considered one of the best talents in area history.
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The boys West squad features power forward Jordan Brown, former Woodcreek star and 2016-17 Bee Player of the Year now competing at Prolific Prep in Napa. The boys game, in play since 1977, will follow the girls contest.
The 6-foot-10 Brown has not committed to a college – his final list includes Cal, Gonzaga, Nevada, Oregon, Louisiana-Lafayette, St. John’s and UCLA. Brown averaged 25.3 points and 13.8 points in three seasons at Woodcreek, powering the Timberwolves to the CIF Northern California Open Division championship last spring. He decided to leave Woodcreek and play for Prolific Prep this season in a national schedule against fellow premier recruits.
There were 700 total nominees between the boys and girls teams.
Forbes is the third area girls player to earn McDonald’s honors, following Jenn Hall of Folsom in 2003 and Vicki Baugh of Sacramento in 2007.
“I’m super excited,” Forbes said on her way to playing Granite Bay on Tuesday night. “I thought I had a chance to make the roster when I was nominated, but you never know. There’s so much talent. It’s something I dreamed about since I was little, knowing the caliber of player in the game.”
Forbes paused and continued, “I cannot even fathom that I’m in the game, following those I looked up to like Maya Moore and Candace Parker. To be part of that group is pretty incredible, and to know all the work and time paid off is so satisfying.”
The only area boys player to make the McDonald’s team while playing locally as a senior was DeMarcus Nelson of Sheldon in 2004 after the guard graduated as the state’s all-time leading scorer.
The McDonald’s game has included Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, LeBron James and James Harden, to name a few who landed in the NBA.
Aquira DeCosta, a five-star recruited from St. Mary’s of Stockton headed to Baylor, also made the girls team this season. She lived in Sacramento for several years. DeCosta and Forbes are friends, having competed on AAU teams.