Four Long Beach Poly basketball players were nominated for the highest honor in high school basketball, the McDonald’s All-American Game. The nominations are an open process with certain statistical and academic requirements, and hundreds of players across the country were nominated, including Jackrabbits Peyton Watson, Kalaya Buggs, Lilly Buggs, and Simone Morris.
“We’re proud of all our players especially during this year,” said Poly boys’ athletic director Rob Shock. “They’ve overcome a lot and we’re hoping they make the final list.”
The honorees are expected to be announced some time this week or next, and Watson in particular has a very strong chance to make the final cut, something he’s said was a dream of his since enrolling at the school.
The McDonald’s All-American Game dates back to 1977 on the boys’ side and to 2000 on the girls’ side. Eight players from Long Beach have received the honor, including six Jackrabbits. Poly’s Chris Sandle is the school’s only boys’ player to have received the honor, back in 1984. St. Anthony’s Darrick Martin went in 1988 and Travon Bryant from Jordan was the last boys’ player from Long Beach to receive the honor, in 2000.
On the girls’ side, Poly has had five players honored in the last 13 years, with Jasmine Dixon, Monique Oliver, Ariya Crook-Williams, Lajahna Drummer, and Ayanna Clark all making the trip from 2008 to 2017.
Unfortunately for this year’s nominees, McDonald’s also announced that due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions, they will not hold this year’s game in person, the second year in a row the event was canceled. Nonetheless, the honor will stand in the history books for anyone who makes the list.
Long Beach McDonald’s All-Americans
Chris Sandle (Long Beach Poly) 1984
Darrick Martin (St. Anthony) 1988
Travon Bryant (Jordan) 2000
Jasmine Dixon (Long Beach Poly) 2008
Monique Oliver (Long Beach Poly) 2009
Ariya Crook-Williams (Long Beach Poly) 2011
Lajahna Drummer (Long Beach Poly) 2014
Ayanna Clark (Long Beach Poly) 2017