Georgia Sends Trio to McDonald’s All-American Games

Photo By Kyle Sandy

Wednesday Greater Atlanta McDonald’s celebrated a trio of prep stars who were selected to play in next week’s upcoming 2015 McDonald’s All-American Games. Jaylen Brown (Wheeler), Asia Durr (St. Pius X) and Te’a Cooper (McEachern) all were honored during the ceremony. It marks the first time since 2008 that Metro Atlanta has sent three players to the All-American games. The 2008 games featured Chris Singleton (Dunwoody), Al-Farouq Aminu (Norcross) and Alicia Manning (Etowah).

The McDonald’s on Roswell Road was packed with teammates, family, and friends. All three players come from championship pedigrees: Jaylen Brown won his first title this season after the No. 2 ranked player in the nation calmly sank two free throws with .5 seconds remaining to give Wheeler its sixth state championship, 59-58 over Pebblebrook. Asia Durr, one of the most prolific scorers the state has ever seen, captured state titles her sophomore and junior seasons while Te’a Cooper won three rings during her time at McEachern.

Being honored as a McDonald’s All-American means that these three players did not only shine on the hardwood but also were superstars in the classroom. When asked what it was like being named as an All-American Asia Durr said, “It’s definitely a blessing. You see so many great players coming out of this game and played in this game so it’s such a blessing”. Durr averaged 33 points and seven rebounds her senior season but she will not rest on her laurels as she enters Louisville. “I’m just trying to get into the best shape I can be in. I’m trying to get stronger, I’m trying to get quicker, I’m trying to get faster. I’m trying to really develop my shot, my pull-up game, shooting off the dribble, shooting threes and things like that”. During Durr’s introduction head coach Kyle Snipes said that “Asia always works harder than she plays”. It has been her great work ethic that has helped her get to where she is today.

Tennessee-bound Te’a Cooper, shared similar thoughts with Durr about her selection to the All-Star game. “When they told me I was a McDonalds All-American when my name went up on the screen I was shocked, but seeing that billboard was the hitter because I couldn’t believe that. I always wanted to be on a billboard”.

In her final high school game, Cooper scored 26 points in an overtime victory over Norcross 58-51 to earn her third ring in her career. In attendance was future teammate Diamond DeShields who starred at Norcross and transferred to Tennessee after a successful season at North Carolina. With a future teammate and longtime friend playing against her Alma mater, the choice of who to root for was difficult, but Cooper said she knew who Diamond was rooting for. “I think she was rooting for both. I think she was stuck in a hard place because she’s an alumni there and I’m her friend and we grew up together so I think she had to cheer for both, but she couldn’t show it”.  Reuniting with an old friend at the next level is something Cooper is really looking forward to. “I’m really excited being that she is my best friend and we’ve always played together so I’m just excited going to Tennessee and reuniting with her”.

Jaylen Brown, the much ballyhooed No. 2 ranked prospect in the nation who has yet to sign, is ready for the process to be over with. “I’m ready. It’s only about a month left. I don’t want to rush it because I have time so I want to make the right decision, but pretty soon it will be over. I’m just going to bear through it; I know a lot of people would want to be in my position, so it’s a blessing”. The state champ said that he will announce his decision within a month, but a set date is still up in the air.

For now Jaylen is focused on helping his Wheeler Wildcats bring home a national title after the top ranked school out of Georgia was cleared to play in the Dick’s Sporting Goods High School National Tournament. “We’re excited. Definitely everybody is sleeping on us because we’re a public school and we don’t have that many division-one athletes but I feel like we can sneak up on some teams and get some wins.”

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