Being named a McDonald’s All-American is big-time when it comes to a high school senior. You are considered one of the top 24 players in the country. You get to play in a big-time arena on national television.
Kelly Faris, a 5-foot-11 UConn-bound guard from Plainfield, Ind., certainly reached the level of big-time Wednesday night when she was named a McDonald’s All-American. But this is nothing new to Huskies coach Geno Auriemma, who knew she was something special when he was recruiting this unselfish, humble, respectful gamer.
“The McDonald’s people have picked a really good player,’’ Auriemma said. “Nobody thought Kelly Faris was the kind of player that would be on the Under-18 national team but she went out to trials and played herself onto that team. When people give her a chance to play and put her in those scenarios I think she proves to everyone that she belongs. Being an All-American is a lot more than being the player that scores the most points. She does all the little things that good teams like. The coaches like the kind of things that she does. We didn’t recruit her because she’s averaging 30 points per game. We recruited her because she’s a real good basketball player who is going to add a lot to what we’re doing. It’s a great honor for her and the humble kid that she is I’m sure she’ll appreciate it.’’
Faris is averaging 14.4 points, 9.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 3.7 steals and 1.8 blocks for Heritage Christian this season and is looking to lead the team to its fourth straight state AA championship.
The McDonald’s game will be held at the Bank United Center in Miami April 1. It will be televised live on ESPNU at 5:30 p.m. Kelly will compete on the East team.
“I am very excited and honored to be selected to the team,’’ she said. “This is going to be a great experience and it is always so much fun to play with the best of the best players. I have been blessed with a great opportunity and I plan on making the most out of it.’’
Huskies’ sophomore All-American Maya Moore knows a little something about playing in these types of games. She had 18 points, six rebounds, two blocks and three steals in the 2007 McDonald’s game at Louisville’s Freedom Hall.
Maya passed along some advice to Kelly about taking part in the festivities.
“Just soak in everything for every event they have planned for you,’’ Moore said. “Don’t be shy, don’t be nervous, don’t hold back. Make sure you enjoy everything. It’s something you can always look back on. In college you’ll play against some players, watch others on TV and it’s a great
connection with your class.’’
Kelly said she is going to try to heed Maya’s advice and “just take it all in.’’