For all the NBA talent that has come through Arizona over the last 25 years (33 draft picks to be precise), most casual fans would be shocked to learn that the Wildcats have only pulled in 17 McDonald’s All-Americans, ever.
That’s a testament to Lute Olson’s ability to coax greatness out of his players, but it’s a gaudy statistic when you take a look at how the best high school talent has been distributed across the country’s elite programs. As a point of reference, Arizona’s conference rival, UCLA, has inked 29 McDonald’s AA’s since 1977. Duke has 52 in the same time period, and North Carolina reigns king of the Burger Boys with 63 selections.
So when both Brandon Ashley and Grant Jerrett’s names are called at Chicago’s United Center on March 28th, recognize that it will be a historic moment in Arizona hoops history. Not only have the Wildcats been without a Mickey D’s selection since 2007, the program has never had multiple All-Americans in the same class. That’s a testament to how quickly Sean Miller has restocked McKale with talent after inheriting an empty cupboard situation just three seasons ago, which is even more impressive considering that 7-footer Kaleb Tarczewski would have been a shoo-in for the game had he not been a fifth year senior.
Ashley and Jerrett will be suiting up for the erroneously defined West team, which also includes Indianapolis point guard Yogi Ferrell and Arkansas product Archie Goodwin. UCLA commit Kyle Anderson is one of the headliners for the East squad, who is the only other All-American heading to a Pac-12 program, though top 10 prospects Shabazz Muhammad and Anthony Bennett are reportedly considering schools in the conference.