By Keith Sparks
Liberty Hill senior center and University of Texas commit Sedona Prince did her part to put Liberty Hill on the map on Tuesday. Prince was officially announced as a McDonald’s All-American — a unique achievement that only 23 other girls in the country can say they’ve accomplished this year.
“It feels awesome,” Prince said, “especially coming from Austin. There haven’t been a lot from Austin. It’s been a long process, a long journey with my basketball career, so this feels really awesome. I get to go and represent Austin, so it should be fun.”
While Prince said she doesn’t keep up with All-American selections and other awards very closely, she admitted her mother takes them pretty seriously. When she was announced as an All-American on Tuesday, her family was even more excited than Prince was.
“They’ve always been so proud of me,” Prince said. “They’ve been through a lot of the same journeys I have, and all the hardships and stuff, so seeing this is really amazing. They congratulated me and supported me through everything, so seeing this is a big moment for them, as well.”
The award is only given to high school seniors, of which there were more than 700 nominees. The 24 All-Americans are split into two teams of 12, one dubbed the “West” and one the “East.” The two teams will face off in Atlanta at 4 p.m. CST on March 28. The game will be televised live on ESPN2. The event will take place at Philips Arena, home of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks and the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream.
“Since 1978, more than 1,300 players have competed in the McDonald’s All-American Games,” the official press release reads. “They form an elite group of some of the top names in basketball history, including Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Candace Parker, Maya Moore, Elena Delle Donne and Breanna Stewart.”
One of Prince’s 23 fellow 2018 selections is another Texas commit in Charli Collier, whom Prince is excited to share the court with. Contrary to what both had hoped, however, they’ll be playing for opposing teams, as Prince will suit up for the East and Collier will suit up for the West.
“I was hoping that I’d get to play on the same team as Charli Collier,” Prince said. “She’s committed to Texas, as well, and she’s six-foot-five, and we were talking last night and saying how much we wish we were on the same team, but she’s on the West team and I’m on the East team. We’ll be playing against each other, which will still be awesome. Being able to play with some of the girls from Maryland, and there are some girls from my USA team, so our team is really good. I’m excited.”
Considering Collier’s and Prince’s height (6’4” and 6’7”, respectively), the two will likely match up against each other throughout the game. If they can’t be teammates, the next best thing for Prince is the prospect of their one-on-one matchups.
“People love watching us play against each other,” Prince said, “and we’ve been rivals for forever, so I think that we’re going to be matched up with each other no matter what. I can’t wait to play against her. She’s an amazing player.”
The 23 All-Americans will only play in one game, but will spend a few days together in Atlanta practicing and soaking up all that being an All-American selection has to offer. In addition to the All-American game, the weekend will also feature the All-American Boys game, a dunk contest, a three-point shootout, a shooting competition, and live entertainment from March 25-28.
Prince explained that, while the McDonald’s All-American Game has only been on her radar for a few years, it became a dream as soon as she realized how special the selection is.
“As soon as I got to more elite basketball the past couple years, people started talking about (the McDonald’s All-American Game), and I wanted to figure out what it was,” she said. “As soon as I figured out that it was such a high award, it became one of my main goals. Now, to have that is really amazing.”
In addition to the All-American game, Prince expects a number of the same girls to be selected to the Jordan Brand Classic, which should be announced in the coming weeks. Prince was also recently named as one of 25 players on the watch list for the Girls High School Player of the Year Naismith Trophy, which will be announced in the coming weeks.