CHICAGO – No high school basketball player has ever likely slammed what Anthony Davis did into one year.
On March 30, 2010, no one knew who Davis was. He was a 6-foot-10 junior at Perspectives High School in Chicago, putting up big numbers, but virtually unknown to anyone outside of his conference.
A year later, Davis, now a Kentucky signee and the No. 2 player in the Class of 2011, was blocking shots, grabbing rebounds and throwing down dunks before a hometown crowd of 20,019 fans at the United Center in the McDonald’s All-American game on Wednesday.
Davis finished with 14 points, six rebounds, one assist, four blocks and two steals in the West team’s 111-96 losing effort to the East before the biggest crowd in the game’s history.
“It was excellent,” Davis said. “I played in front of my home crowd, my hometown Chicago, Illinois. I especially put a lot of pressure on myself because Wayne [Blackshear] wasn’t playing, so it kind of made me step up and represent for Chicago. He was only able to play eight minutes. I think I did an excellent job representing Chicago.”
“He really put on a show for everybody,” Blackshear said. “That’s what I said before, he’s going to go out there and just play basketball, and that’s what he did.”
ESPN senior recruit analyst Dave Telep has been touting Davis’ game ever since he first saw him last spring, and Davis continued to impress him from the first practice of the week to the final buzzer of Wednesday’s game.
“His week met and exceeded expectations,” Telep said. “On the biggest stage of his career, he looked remarkably comfortable. Add up the physical attributes, project where he can go and mix in the fact he has the ability to maximize the potential, and I think he stated a powerful case to be considered as the top prospect in the class."
Davis never doubted it was impossible.
“I did a lot of work,” Davis said. “I knew one day I wanted to be a McDonald’s All-American. When I got that call, I was just shocked. What Alonzo Mourning told us earlier today, you put in what you get out of the game. If you don’t put in the work, you’re not going to anything out of the game.”
Blackshear didn’t have the numbers or the night Davis had, but just getting on the floor was a blessing for him. After dislocating his left shoulder in practice on Tuesday morning, Blackshear was told he would be unable to play in the game.
On Wednesday, Blackshear’s shoulder began feeling better, and he decided to give it a try. He started the game, played eight minutes and had two points, two rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block.
“It was a big stage for me,” Blackshear said. “Even though I was hurt, I wanted to play so bad because this was a big thing for me and it was in my hometown. I was excited I got at least got a couple of minutes.”
In the girls game, Bolingbrook’s Ariel Massengale had 13 points, four rebounds and four assists in the East team’s 78-66 win.
“It was amazing,” said Massengale, who was the ESPNChicago.com Player of the Year. “I’m honored to have the game played in my state and to be chosen to participate this year. It was just great. A lot of people were here, teammates, friends, church members. It was just great to have them come out and see me play.”