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MCDONALD’S ALL-AMERICAN GAMES: All-stars descend on Joyce Center

Pat Leonard | Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Common knowledge says the McDonald’s All-American High School Basketball Game is an annual national stage for the country’s elite high school players to showcase their skills.If common knowledge holds true, then Luke Zeller should have the option of sitting this one out.One of four recruits committed to Notre Dame for next fall, Zeller already showcased his skills last weekend. The Washington High School senior canned a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from just inside half court Saturday night to beat Plymouth in the Indiana Class 3A state championship game, 74-72.Zeller is one of 24 players selected to participate in the 28th annual Boys McDonald’s All-American game at Notre Dame’s Joyce Center tonight (8 p.m., ESPN). He will compete on the West team.”It will be great to have him as a representative for us on our floor,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said.The other representative for the state of Indiana is Josh McRoberts, a 6-foot-10, 235-pound power forward from Carmel High School in Carmel, Ind., headed for Duke.Three colleges (Duke, Kansas and North Carolina) are tied for the most future players on the McDonald’s All-American Team with three each. Oklahoma State and Washington both have two recruits on the team.Jack Keefer of Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis, Ind., will coach the East team. Al Rhodes of Logansport, Ind., High School will coach Zeller’s West squad.The Irish recruit will headline the team after completing a near triple-double performance at Canseco Fieldhouse of 27 points, nine rebounds and a State Finals-record 11 assists. The Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) also gave the 6-foot-11, 240-pound center the Arthur L. Trester mental attitude award.Brey had the opportunity to watch his recruit play in the Semi-state round on March 19, when Zeller faced another Irish prospect – committed football recruit and defensive lineman Patrick Kuntz.Brey said he was more than satisfied with what he saw in a 51-46 Washing-ton win over Roncalli High School.”It’s a four-and-a-half hour drive back from Seymour, Indiana,” Brey said. “But I was smiling the whole way home.”Coach Morgan Wootten, who won 1,274 games as the head coach of Dematha High School in Hyattsville, Md., is the chairman of the McDonald’s All-American Selection Committee. Wootten, who coached Brey as a player and whom Brey coached under as an assistant before leaving for Duke, was responsible this year for selecting Zeller and 23 other players from a field of more than 1,500 nominees.UCLA coach John Wooden will serve as the chairman of the game.All net proceeds from the 2005 McDonald’s All-American Game will benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charity of South Bend and Fort Wayne, Ind. In its history, the game has raised nearly $4 million.