Do McDonald’s All-Americans Feast in the ACC?

Last week, the rosters for the 2013 McDonald’s All American Game were named. The high-school all-star game will take place in Chicago on April 3.  Five future ACC players will participate in the contest.  Isaiah HIcks and Kennedy Meeks will represent North Carolina, Matt Jones and Jabari Parker are Duke commits, and Anthony Barber is headed to NC State.

Tyler Zeller was a 2008 McDonald’s All-American and an AP Second-Team All-American last season.

For North Carolina, Hicks and Meeks make the 65th and 66th Tar Heels to be named McDonald’s All-American since the game began in 1977.  Duke has now put 56 players in the all-star game, while Barber will be the 16th player from NC State to appear in the game.

So how many McDonald’s All-Americans have gone on to be NCAA All-Americans? While no school in the nation has been as successful as UNC and Duke in getting players into the McDonald’s game, are those players experiencing success at the college level? How do players at other schools fare after being named to the McDonald’s rosters?

There may be some basis to accusations that Duke and UNC players get into the McDonald’s All-American Game strictly on the basis of their future team and not their basketball abilities.  With players such as Neil Fingleton and Eric Boateng to their credit, it’s not a difficult argument to make. However, many players named high school All-Americans experience success at the two blue schools in North Carolina.

20 of North Carolina’s 64 McDonald’s All-Americans have gone on to make an AP All-American team. Last year, Tyler Zeller and Kendall Marshall made All-American teams.  18 Blue Devils have been named an AP All-American since the McDonald’s All-American Game began in 1977. However, not all of those All-Americans were honored as high schoolers. Shelden Williams and Chris Carrawell were both players who experienced great collegiate success and were named AP All-Americans without being named McDonald’s All-American.

After that, the lists of All-Americans, on both sides, shrink considerably.  However, it is interesting to note which schools produce numerous McDonald’s All-Americans with little collegiate success to back it up, and which programs have produced diamonds in the rough, AP All-Americans without the high school resume.

Georgia Tech has landed 18 McDonald’s All-Americans.  However, few of those have lived up to their hype in college. For example, six Yellow Jackets have been on McDonald’s All-American rosters since 2000, but the team’s most recent college All-American was Matt Harpring (who was not a high school all-star).  Harpring made third-team All-American in 1998, averaging 21.6 points and 9.4 rebounds per game in his senior season.  Three of Georgia Tech’s All-Americans have been AP All-Americans: Stephon Marbury, Kenny Anderson, and Dennis Scott.  Another Yellow Jacket great, Mark Price, was also left off the McDonald’s All-American rosters.

Of NC State’s 15 McDonald’s All-Americans, only Julius Hodge and Rodney Monroe have gone on to become AP All-Americans.  Lorenzo Charles has been the school’s only other AP All-American during the Golden Arches Era.  It should be noted, of course, that four of those McDonald’s All-Americans are still on NC State’s roster (CJ Leslie, along with freshmen TJ Warren, Rodney Purvis, and Tyler Lewis), so there’s a chance that batting average could improve in the near future.

Maryland has 14 McDonald’s All-Americans to their credit, and eight AP All-Americans. It’s a strong ratio, yet only two Terrapins have been both high school and college all-stars.  Keith Booth and Albert King form the exclusive pair of players who were named to both All-American lists.  Greivis Vasquez, Juan Dixon, Steve Francis, Joe Smith, Walt Williams, and Len Bias were all college All-Americans who did not receive the honor in high school.  Also worth noting: There hasn’t been a Terrapin in the McDonald’s All-American game since Mike Jones in 2003.

Virginia has produced 10 McDonald’s All-Americans, but only one (Sylven Landesberg) since 2000.  Their last AP All-American was Ralph Sampson, and their only other AP/McDonald’s All-American was Jeff Lamp.  Similarly, Florida State has landed 10 McDonald’s All-Americans, but all three of their AP All-Americans during that time have been non-McDonald’s players: Toney Douglas, Al Thornton, and George McCloud.

Wake Forest has signed eight high school all-stars.  Of those, two have gone on to receive national honor in college (Chris Paul, Rodney Rogers).  The Demon Deacons’ other three AP All-Americans in that time have been Josh Howard, Tim Duncan, and Randolph Childress.

Three ACC schools have only produced one AP All-American since 1977.  Two of those players, Clemson’s Horace Grant and Miami’s Tim James, did not participate in the McDonald’s All-American Game. Clemson has had five McDonald’s All-Americans, while Miami has signed two.  The exception is Virginia Tech’s Dell Curry, a 1986 second-team AP All-American alongside UNC’s Brad Daugherty (and behind Bias, ahead of Price, a duo of McDonald holdouts) and 1982 McDonald’s All-American

Boston College’s lone All-American was Bill Curley, in 1990.  Curley did not go on to make an AP All-American team, but three Eagles have in the McDonald’s era: Jared Dudley, Craig Smith, and Troy Bell.

All told, ACC schools can take credit for 193 McDonald’s All-Americans and 67 AP All-Americans since the inception of the McDonald’s All-American Game.  48 of the 193 McDonald’s all-stars have gone on to be AP All-Americans, leaving 19 others who have been honored by the AP in college without having an appearance in the McDonald’s All-American game to their credit.  While success is not guaranteed for the five newest members of the french fry fraternity in the ACC, there will also be plenty of opportunity for them to thrive at the college level, as well as their opposition that won’t be in Chicago in April.

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