At the beginning of Montverde Academy’s Upper-School Assembly, held last Wednesday (February 25, 2015, from 2:30P.M – 3:30 PM) inside the Academy’s Center for Sportsmanship and Wellness (The Nest), Montverde Academy senior Ben Simmons was honored for being selected as finalist to participate in the 38th Annual 2015 McDonald’s All American Game! The highly respected annual high-school basketball classic is scheduled to take place Wednesday, April 1st, 2015, inside the United Center in Chicago, Illinois, and be televised LIVE on ESPN.
The dedication, albeit brief, was an inspiring ceremony, that began with a video-collage, prepared by Mr. Steve Gilbert, MVA Director of Media Arts, showcasing some of Ben’s amazing plays and spectacular “dunks” over the last three years as a MVA Eagle. Members of the Dalton Agency, a public relations firm and video production company representing McDonald’s at U.S. Assembly, then welcomed Montverde Academy Boys’ Varsity Basketball Head Coach Kevin Boyle the podium to join them in presenting Ben with an honorary plaque of distinction for being selected as a finalist to play in this year’s McDonald’s All-American game, and to recognize Ben and his team’s accomplishments in front of the Academy’s high-school student body. At the conclusion of the presentation, MVA’s Upper-school student body, and all guests in attendance, responded with an electrifying round of applause.
Simmons, an 18 year-old native of Australia, is ranked the #1 overall ESPN 100 high-school basketball player in the nation. As a junior, he committed to attend Louisiana State University (LSU) in the fall of 2015. Ben was a boarding student at MVA for the last two years before choosing to live with his family in nearby Windermere, Florida, for his senior year at the Academy. To view video footage from the event, please CLICK HERE.
The 2015 McDonald’s All-American boys teams were chosen after the McDonald’s All-American Games selection committee considered 800 nominees. The selection committee was directed by 2015 MAAG selection committee chairman, and former DeMatha Catholic High School (Hyattsville, Maryland) Hall-of-Fame basketball Head Coach Morgan Wootten. The 2015 McDonald’s All-American Game boys teams coaches are Bruce Kelley from the Bullis School of Potomac, Maryland (East Team), and Robert Smith from Simeon Career Academy of Chicago, Illinois (West Team). Legendary past McDonald’s All Americans include: Vince Carter, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwight Howard. An article posted Thursday, January 29, 2015, by YAHOO! FINANCE, states, “The 2015 McDonald’s All American boys team features the consensus number one player in the country, Ben Simmons (Montverde Academy – Montverde, Florida). Simmons will play for the East Team and will be joined by fellow top players Jaylen Brown (Wheeler High School – Marietta, Georgia), Isaiah Briscoe (Roselle Catholic High School – Roselle, New Jersey) and a pair of post players from Wisconsin, Diamond Stone (Dominican High School – Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin) and Henry Ellenson (Rice Lake High School – Rice Lake, Wisconsin). The West Team will be led by top-ranked guard Malik Newman (Callaway High School – Jackson, Mississippi), Ivan Rabb (Bishop O’Dowd High School – Oakland, California) and local Chicago standout Jalen Brunson (Adlai E. Stevenson High School – Lincolnshire, Illinois) who will play in front of a hometown crowd at the United Center. Of the 24 boys selected to the team, nine have yet to make their college decisions. Of those who have decided, Louisiana State University and Duke University have the most commitments with two each. …Since 1978, more than 1,200 players have competed in the McDonald’s All American Games, forming an elite group of some of the top names in basketball history, including Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Candace Parker, Maya Moore, Elena Delle Donne and Breanna Stewart.”
Another article, “Who Will Be The Breakout Stars at McDonald’s All-American Game,” written by Quierra Luck for Blacksportsonline.com, and posted on Sunday, March 1st, 2015, offers additional information on the upcoming basketball classic. This year’s complete roster can be seen at McDonaldsAllAmerican.com. Other former Montverde Academy Boys’ Varsity Basketball student athletes have also been selected to participate in the venerated All-American classic. Montverde Academy 2013 graduates Kasey Hill (Florida) and Dakari Johnson (Kentucky) were selected to play in the 36th Annual McDonald’s All American Boys’ Game. Last year’s 37th game included 2014 MVA graduate D’Angelo Russell, now a freshman shooting guard sensation playing at Ohio State University. Tickets for the game are now available through Ticketmaster, or charge-by-phone at 1-866-909-GAME. 2015 McDonald’s All-American Game Final Team rosters can be viewed at www.mcdaag.com.
According their mission statement, RMH Charities “…a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) corporation, creates, finds and supports programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children. Through its global network of 300 Chapters in more than 62 countries and regions, its three core programs, the Ronald McDonald House, the Ronald McDonald Family Room and the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, and millions of dollars in grants to support children’s programs worldwide, RMHC provides stability and vital resources to families so they can get and keep their children healthy and happy. All RMHC-operated and supported programs, enable family-centered care, provide a bridge to quality health care, are a vital part of the health care continuum and give children and families the time they need to heal and cope better together.”