Pace’s Sharman White and McEachern’s Ace Bailey highlight Georgia representatives in 2024 McDonald’s All-American Game

The state of Georgia was well-represented last night at the 2024 McDonald’s All-American Game at the Toyota Center in Houston, TX as coaches and players from around the state participated in the prestigious event.

Pace Academy boys basketball coaches, head coach Sharman White and assistant coach Johnathan Robinson, along with Tucker head coach James Hartry coached the boys East team that took home a 88-86 victory against the West team. McEachern High School forward, and top-three recruit in the country Ace Bailey played for the West Team in the loss last night.

For White, he has helped develop great talent all over the country as he has coached for USA Basketball as the Junior National Team head coach, but describes the McDonald’s All-American Game as something completely different.

“It’s a bucket list item as a coach,” said White. “You never know if the opportunity for such a great honor will come but if it does, you can only be honored and humbled while being excited about it.”

The game features the future of the sport as the best high school basketball players from around the country are gathered to display their talents to the nation on national television.

After his phenomenal season for McEachern that featured a Class 7A state championship appearance, Bailey’s name was something that college and NBA scouts became accustomed to hearing throughout the high school basketball season. For his impressive play, he became the 32nd player from Georgia since 2000 to compete in the McDonald’s All-American Game.

“There are not a lot of Aces around,” said Robinson. “He’s very skilled and he’s a two-way player. At this age, a lot of guys aren’t really concerned about defense, but he is. Rutgers better enjoy him because he won’t be there for long. He’s a great kid. I won’t be surprised if he is Big 10 Freshman of the Year and National Freshman of the Year. That’s how immediate of an impact he’ll have.”

Last night, Bailey became the 52nd player from the state of Georgia to participate in the McDonald’s All-American Game in the event’s nearly 50-year history. He scored six points and added five rebounds and two assists to the stat sheet, playing for a total of 25 minutes in the game. The Rutgers-commit is the second player from McEachern to be named to the McDonald’s All-American Game in the schools history since former Auburn guard Sharife Cooper played in 2020.

Out of all 50 states, Georgia ranks as the eighth-highest in terms of the number of McDonald’s All-Americans since the event started in 1977. California has an overwhelming advantage as it leads with 119 players that have had the honor, followed by Virginia with 73 and New York with 72 to round out the top-three.

”I feel like it (Georgia) ranks right at the top with other perennial strong basketball states,” White said.

While the East team coaching staff as well as Bailey represented Georgia high schools on a national stage, McDonald’s All-Americans Darrion Reid and Aiden Sherrell both call Georgia home though they attend Prolific Prep in Napa, CA. Reid is a native of Grovetown and Sherrell is from Norcross. After playing in the AAU circuit together for years prior, both Reid and Sherrell are committed to play for Nate Oats and the Final Four-bound Alabama Crimson Tide next season.

Before 2022, Georgia had a player represent the state for seven-straight years, beginning with Boston Celtics forward and No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Jaylen Brown in 2015. Last season the streak started back up as the state of Georgia had two representatives with the No. 1 recruit in the country and University of Southern California guard, Isaiah Collier and UConn guard, Stephon Castle both playing in the game.

“The competition in Georgia in my opinion is the best competition for high school basketball,” Robinson stated. “If you want to compete against other top-talented programs and prospects, Georgia is the place to start. Look at all of the classifications here— it’s talented teams all throughout each one.”

In the history of the game, plenty of NBA talent from Georgia has been involved including players such as Kwame Brown (2001), Dwight Howard (2004), Lou Williams (2005), JJ Hickson (2007), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (2011), Jaylen Brown (2015), Collin Sexton (2017), Anthony Edwards (2019) and plenty more players that have made careers in professional basketball for themselves.

“It means everything to represent the state of Georgia in such an elite game. We know we have truly talented players here in the state but it also gives a nod to the coaches here in the state that are some of the best in the country as it can be attested by the number of Georgia coaches that have coached in this game,” said White.

Experiencing the mass of talent all in one place, both White and Robinson know that the future of basketball is in great hands moving forward as these players from last night’s game will have their names known around the country in the near future.

“The game is in great hands,” said Robinson. “After coaching last night and seeing what’s coming it’s definitely safe to say it’s in really good hands.”


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