While much of the world was able to see what she’d accomplished, Mya Jackson didn’t realize she’d been nominated for the prestigious McDonald’s High School All-American Game until about an hour later.
“I didn’t find out to I got out of practice,” the Wilmington High School senior said.
Annually, 24 boys players and 24 girls players are chosen to play in the games from a pool of more than 800 nominees nationwide.
Jackson, who has signed to play collegiately with Seton Hall University, is the second female from Clinton County to be a nominee, joining Sydney Brackemyre of Clinton-Massie who was nominated in 2014. Jarron Cumberland was a nominee for the boys game his senior season at Wilmington.
Jackson is one of 20 Ohio girls players nominated. Players from this area nominated include Gabbie Marshall of Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame, Mikala Morris of Kenton Ridge, Kennedi Myles of Walnut Hills and Sammie Puisis of Mason.
“Mikala Morris of Kenton Ridge and I have played on the same AAU team the past couple years,” Jackson said. “Gabbie Marshall and Sammie Puisis, we played together four or five years before that.”
Jackson also mentioned fellow Ohioans Zia Cooke of Toledo Rogers, Kierstan Bell of Canton McKinley and Jordan Hortson of Columbus Africentric as fellow competitors she’s played with or against.
“It’s definitely an honor,” said Jackson. “So many people who play high school basketball across the country, and 800 (nominees) is not a lot. My hard work is getting recognized.”
The 2019 McDonald’s All American Games will be held March 27 at State Farm Arena, home of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks. Atlanta also hosted the boys games in 1983 and 1992 and both boys and girls games in 2018.
The girls game will be broadcast on Espn2. Tipoff time will be announced at a later date.
“I’ve watched the game for a few years,” said Jackson. “I’ve seen the WNBA players and the NBA players who’ve played in the McDonald’s game and thought ‘How awesome would it be to play in it.’”
Among the players who have participated in previous games are Candace Parker, Maya Moore, Elena Delle Donne and Breanna Stewart as well as Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Magic Johnson.
When Jackson began playing basketball it wasn’t to garner honors or impress some college coach.
“When I first started … I did it for the love of the game,” she said.
While she is humbled by the nomination, Jackson also realizes her ability makes her presence in the community more than just for herself.
“There are young ladies in the youth program who look up to me,” she said. “I wouldn’t say it puts pressure on me but I know there are people watching me, working to get where I am.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports