The most prestigious high school basketball game is making its return in 2022 after a two-year hiatus due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Basketball fans missed out on seeing Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green and Evan Mobley hit the court early, as well as projected top 2022 NBA draft prospects Chet Holmgren, Jaden Hardy and Paolo Banchero this past year.
The McDonald's All-American Game is returning to Chicago in the spring of 2022 for the 45th anniversary of the Games. This marks the ninth time the games will be played in the Windy City with previous games also held in Houston and Atlanta.
McDonald's selects 24 girls and 24 boys from the senior high school class to participate in a weeklong event that consists of practices in front of NBA scouts, visiting Ronald McDonald House charities, the slam dunk and 3-point contests and the coveted McDonald's All-American Game.
"Being named a McDonald’s All-American is something I’ve dreamed of my whole life," UConn guard Azzi Fudd told Yahoo Sports last spring. "It's something we all work towards and want to achieve during our high school career."
Past McDonald's All-Americans include Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Zion Williamson, Candace Parker, Maya Moore, Elena Delle Donne, Breanna Stewart and Paige Bueckers.
Since 2000, an impressive 70% of McDonald's All-Americans have made an NBA roster and the game is one of the first chances NBA teams have to see future prospects play in person.
"The McDonald's game gives us a good first impression of the top players in the country," one NBA scout told Yahoo Sports. "It's a different setting then from what you're going to see in college, and it's a good comparison for us to have from high school to college and sets the benchmark for us during the draft process."
Even with Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren reclassifying and electing to play in college a year early, there is no shortage of talent remaining in the high school senior class. Players like Chicago native Amari Bailey, Shaedon Sharpe, Derek Lively, Chris Livingston, Keyonte George and Dariq Whitehead are all strong candidates for the McDonald's game this year.
While fans in attendance for the games are being planned for 2022 at Wintrust Arena, the health and safety of the players, spectators and staff remains the top priority. McDonald’s is closely monitoring COVID-19 and consulting with medical experts. Updates will be shared on the McDonald's All-American Game and selection process over the next few months.