Four Juneau-Douglas High School basketball players were on the list of Alaska's nominees for the McDonald's All-American Games that will take place on April 4 at New York City's Madison Square Garden.
Ryan Monagle, Curtis Lane and Julius "Junior" Cumlat were nominated from the Juneau boys team, while Hilary Rehfeld was nominated from the Juneau girls squad. Ketchikan's Russell Miller and Jesse Richardson also made the list of the state's nominees from Southeast.
There were 16 boys and 10 girls players nominated from Alaska, with about 1,500 to 1,800 boys nominations and 1,000 to 1,200 girls nominations made from around the country. East Anchorage guard Natalie Jones and East forward Tenecia Macon made the national list of top-100 finalists and will be considered for playing spots in the games.
This is the 25th anniversary game for the boys and the first game for the girls. The only players to make the game from Alaska were current Cleveland Cavaliers guard Trajan Langdon of East Anchorage (1994) and current Duke University center Carlos Boozer of Juneau (1999).
"It's kind of exciting," said Rehfeld, a 6-foot-1 senior center who has signed an NCAA Letter of Intent to play for the University of Southern Colorado next season.
"I was very surprised," said Monagle, a 6-2 senior forward. "I was pretty pumped up. In the back of my mind I was thinking maybe I could make it. But being nominated like that is fine. It's going on my resume."
The Alaska players were nominated by a panel headed by Juneau Empire sports editor Charles Bingham, with input from several other sports reporters and basketball coaches in the state. A list of names was submitted to the McDonald's All-American national office in North Carolina in October, before practices began for this year's basketball season. The general public also could nominate players by going to the McDonald's All-American Web site, http://mcdonaldsallamerican.insiders.com, and entering a name.
Once the initial list of names was submitted, the national office contacted the individual players' coaches to make sure they met the requirements for consideration for the game. The players must be fourth-year seniors (fifth-year seniors are not eligible) and meet certain academic requirements. The list of finalists was selected by the staff of Sports America, Inc., which publishes one of the top recruiting and high school basketball publications.
The state-by-state list of nominees and the 100 finalists for each gender were posted on the McDonald's All-American Web site on Friday.
"I'd heard about it, but the list wasn't out yet," said Cumlat, a 5-6 senior guard. "That's kind of cool. It's weird we've got three guys from one team. I couldn't believe that."
"I feel pretty good about it," said Lane, a 5-7 senior guard. "It kind of surprised me. This is a huge thing, just getting nominated. And to have three from one team, that's kind of a lot. We're proud of that."
The list of finalists will be trimmed to about 20 boys and 20 girls in late February, and those players will be invited to participate in the annual games on April 4. The boys game will be televised live starting at 4 p.m. AST April 4 on ESPN. The girls game will be tape-delayed and will be shown at 10 a.m. AST April 8 on ESPN2.
McDONALD'S ALL-AMERICAN GAMES ALASKA NOMINEES
The list of players from Alaska nominated for consideration to play in this year's McDonald's All-American Games on April 4 in New York City.
Boys -- Joe Chirhart, Dimond; Julius Cumlat, Juneau-Douglas; Zac Forsyth, Palmer; David Holloway, Nikiski; Ulius Johnson, Point Hope-Tikigaq; Brandon Joseph, Dimond; Curtis Lane, Juneau-Douglas; Russell Miller, Ketchikan; Ryan Monagle, Juneau-Douglas; Henry Nashookpuk, Point Hope-Tikigaq; Adam Nielsen, Palmer; Zach Pettit, Palmer; Jesse Richardson, Ketchikan; Andrew Smith, Bartlett, Chris Stovall, Dimond; Marcus Watts, Bartlett.
Girls -- Marcie Alzheimer, Service; Shannon Arts, Valdez; Keyshea Gibbs, Valdez; Sally Glaze, Nikiski; Tonya James, Wasilla; Natalie Jones, East Anchorage; Brittney Kroon, Wasilla; Tenecia Macon, East Anchorage; Kelly Quinn, Colony; Hilary Rehfeld, Juneau-Douglas.