Winder-Barrow senior Olivia Nelson-Ododa was in the middle of basketball practice when she learned she’d been chosen as a McDonald’s All American.
The announcement was made on ESPN’s ‘The Jump,’ and Winder-Barrow coach Kimberly Garren streamed the show on her phone while the team went through practice. When the time came for the big reveal, Nelson-Ododa and her teammates watched it together.
“She made it and the team went wild,” Garren said. “She actually hit her knees and cried at center court.”
The selection was “a little emotional,” Nelson-Ododa said.
Only 24 female high school basketball players across the nation are selected as a McDonald’s All American.
“You have to be elite, you have to be a five-star player, you have to be in the top five, six recruits in the nation to stand a really good chance,” Garren said. “And you also have to have more than just one part of your game being good and that’s why (Nelson-Ododa) is so good. She’s a 6-foot-5 post player that can shoot threes, handle the ball and dribble up and down the court so she’s just versatile.”
On Friday, she was recognized for the selection during a ceremony at Winder-Barrow High School. The McDonald’s All American Hometown Heroes ceremony, presented by American Family Insurance, included the chance for the UConn commitment to put on the All American jersey she’d been dreaming of wearing.
“I’ve grown up seeing my favorite basketball players be able to accomplish this goal,” Nelson-Ododa said. “Ever since I was really little this was always something I wanted to see myself doing and being able to wear the jersey and play in the games.”
Nelson-Ododa will play for the East and the game will be held on March 28 at Phillips Arena in Atlanta. The game will air on ESPN2. Games are expected to start a 5 p.m. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday and prices start at $10.
The week of festivities starts March 25 with Fan Fest at Atlantic Station and continues March 26 with POWERADE Jam Fest, which includes a 3-point shootout, shooting competition and dunk contest. It will be televised on ESPN2 at 8 p.m.
Winder-Barrow (17-4, 8-1 in Region 8-6A) wrapped up the regular season at Habersham Central Friday and will head into the region tournament as the top seed.
“With high school, our main goal is just getting that ring and going far in the state playoffs,” Nelson-Ododa said. “Of course, after that I have to think about college. Along the way, I think about both. It’s just about preparing for college and also finishing high school strong.”