Brunson recognized

Jalen Brunson ’15 will be playing in McDonald’s All American Game on April 1. Brunson will join other top-ranked high school students from across the country at Chicago’s United Center.

He will be playing on the West Team coached by Robert Smith of Simeon Career Academy in Illinois. The boys’ team will also compete in a slam dunk contest, a three-point shooting competition and an overall timed skills competition. Proceeds raised from the games will be donated to local Ronald McDonald House Charities.

“I was excited, but I stayed humble,” Brunson said. “It has been a goal [of mine] since my dad was in the game.”

Brunson’s father, Rick Brunson, played in the All American game in 1991, becoming the only player from Massachusetts to ever attend. The two will be the fifth father-son team to play in the event.

The inaugural team was chosen in 1977 which included Earvin “Magic” Johnson. Other notable All American alums include Michael Jordan (1981), Shaquille O’Neal (1989), Kobe Bryant (1996), LeBron James (2003) and Simeon Career Academy graduate Derrick Rose (2007).

“It means a lot because there is so much history,” Brunson said. “The best part about the game is that you’re playing for a good cause while also having fun.”

Brunson has gained many awards and received much recognition in his years at Stevenson. As a junior, he received the Gatorade Illinois Boys Basketball Player of the Year. Brunson committed to Villanova University in September, turning down multiple offers from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Kansas State, Michigan State, Purdue University and countless others.. He currently averages 22.8 points, 5.1 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game.

Although the game will be held at a large stadium, Brunson doesn’t find it intimidating. He expects it to be a fun experience and plans on working hard, staying motivated and doing what he does best.

“[I hope to gain] relationships from people all over the country,” Brunson said. “Playing on the big stage [helps me] get ready for playing as a college athlete.”