ATLANTA — For both Nico Mannion and Josh Green, the McDonald’s All-American Game is hardly the end of the season.
It was just another stop, really.
Green will be playing with his IMG teammates in the Geico High School Nationals tournament next weekend in New York, carrying the No. 3 seed in the battle with seven other prep schools, while he and Mannion will both play for the World Team in the Hoop Summit on April 13 in Portland.
“I'll probably get home, take a day or two off and then get back in the gym,” Mannion said Wednesday, after scoring eight points for the West team in the McDonald’s game.
For Green, there is even less time. He said he thought he might take Thursday off but hoped to resume practices on Friday with IMG, which was given the No. 3 seed in the Geico event.
“We need to hit the ground running,” Green said. “I think it's good for us. To be a able to just get back and prepare. It’s the biggest time of the season. So we need to take the next week seriously before we get there.”
This also is how serious Green and Mannion are about basketball: While about 8,000 people and an ESPN2 audience took in Wednesday’s game, Mannion said the practices leading up to it were actually better.
The teams mostly practiced separately, so they didn’t need the frequent substitutions the game required with 12 guys on a side all needing the same exposure.
“When we were practicing we were playing almost the whole time, so it was easy to get a feel for the game,” Mannion said. “The game was cool because there were a lot of people here and there were a lot of oohs and aahs, but the practices were probably the most fun.”
“It was obviously hard” getting a rhythm in the game, Green said. “But at the same time, that’s what the game is. We knew that coming into it. You just have to enjoy the moment and have fun.”
The week included three practices, one scrimmage and the game, plus a visit to a local Ronald McDonald’s house, and both UA-bound players said they appreciated the opportunity.
“This is definitely on the top of the list for me because it’s such a big honor to be out there,” Mannion said. “There’s only 24 kids chosen in the whole country and we get to be named as guys like LeBron and Michael in playing this game, to be in their footsteps. It’s just a blessing.”
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