McDonald's announced Tuesday that Chicago will play host to the 2011 McDonald's All-American High School Basketball games at the United Center on March 30.
The boys' game will be televised on ESPN and the girls will be on ESPNU, and the state could have a number of representatives in both games.
On the boys' side, Perspectives forward Anthony Davis, a Kentucky recruit, and Morgan Park guard Wayne Blackshear, a Louisville recruit, are both ranked nationally in the top 20 by ESPN Scouts, Inc. Whitney Young guard Sam Thompson, Rock Island guard Chasson Randle, Orr forward Mycheal Henry, East Aurora guard Ryan Boatright and De La Salle forward Mike Shaw are all ranked in the top 60.
"I think it's very possible that Chicago could have a couple players," ESPN Scouts, Inc. recruiting coordinator Reggie Rankin said. "Once the Chicago talent sees that, it could be a motivating factor. I think a lot of playing is still to be done, but all those guys would be valid choices. I think it's a testament to Illinois and Chicago and the kind of talent they put in and put out year in and year out."
Blackshear was excited when he heard the news.
"It means a lot to have it in Chicago," Blackshear said. "It makes me want to work that much harder to play in front of my hometown. That's one of my goals coming into my senior year trying to make the McDonald's Game. That's a great honor to play on the national stage. A lot of great players have passed through that. Hopefully, me or Anthony can make that."
As for the girls, Bolingbrook guard Ariel Massengale, who recently committed to Tennessee, is the No. 4-ranked player by ESPN HoopGurlz. Whitney Young guards Kiana Johnson and Chanise Jenkins, a DePaul recruit, and Peoria Richwood forward Mariah Smith are also in the top 65.
The 2011 POWERADE Jam Fest, which includes the slam dunk, 3-point and skills competitions will take place at Chicago State University on March 28. It will be broadcasted live on ESPN2.
Former Waukegan star Jereme Richmond, who is now at Illinois, represented the state in last season's game.
The game was last held in the Chicago area in 1982 when it was at the Rosemont Horizon, which is now the Allstate Arena, in Rosemont, Ill.
Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.