Tony Parker has consistently dominated the biggest names in the 2012 class. He's arguably the most physically imposing post player in the country, and he's had several of his best showings on national TV and at some of the most prestigious summer camps and showcases.
Still, to hear Parker tell it, none of that gave him any peace of mind while he anxiously waited to hear if he'd made the McDonald's All-American Game.
"There are a lot of great players out there," said Parker, an uncommitted senior power forward at Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.). "I don't just assume that I will be picked. I just put in the hard work and hoped that it would be enough."
It was. On Thursday, Parker and 23 other high school basketball players from 17 states were selected for the 2012 McDonald's All-American boys' game March 28 (9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN) at the United Center in Chicago. Chicago is the first city to host back-to-back McDonald's All-American Games.
"The McDonald's game just speaks for itself," said Parker, the No. 21 player in the ESPNU 100, who is mulling offers from Ohio State, Duke and UCLA, among others. "It's a great game with great tradition. A lot of the players we idolized growing up played in this game, so I'm really blessed to be a part of it. All of these guys will go off to great colleges and do their thing."
North Carolina State leads the way with three All-American recruits: point guard Tyler Lewis of Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), shooting guard Rodney Purvis of Upper Room Christian (Raleigh, N.C.) and small forward T.J. Warren of Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.). Kentucky and Arizona claim two selections apiece, while no other college currently has multiple recruits selected to the game.
"I was just so thrilled when I got the call to be in this game," said Marcus Paige, a senior at Linn-Mar (Marion, Iowa) who has signed with North Carolina and is the No. 1 point guard in the ESPNU 100. "It's every high school player's dream to have the chance to play in this game, and it's something that we've all talked about for years. I'm just happy that I'll get a chance to hang out with all of the guys that I met this summer. Making this game definitely gives me more confidence closing out my senior season."
For Strake Jesuit (Houston) shooting guard Rasheed Sulaimon, being selected also cured what seemed to be a month-long headache.
"I've been thinking about making this game for so long," said Sulaimon, who has signed with Duke and is No. 14 in the ESPNU 100. "It's really a load off. It was really stressful waiting to hear, but now I'm just excited. I've wanted to be in this game since forever."
Same goes for Sylvan Hills (Sherwood, Ark.) shooting guard Archie Goodwin. He recalled watching the McDonald's All-American Game as a toddler, and said being picked was a testament to how much hard work he's put in over the years.
"It's been a sacrifice, but it's all been worth it," said Goodwin, who has signed with Kentucky and is No. 15 in the ESPNU 100. "All of the extra hours in the gym have got me here. God gave me the ability, and I'm glad that I didn't waste it. Making this game is a blessing."