The rosters for the McDonald’s All-American Basketball Teams were released Tuesday. Sports fans everywhere delighted in seeing who of the top-ranking, high school basketball players across the nation would compete at this notable event, the 41st of its kind.
Sports fans at Northwest Catholic High School in West Hartford were no exception. NWC loves athletics, any kind, anywhere, anyone. But what the Northwest Catholic community was most thrilled about was the announcement of the coach of the East.
John Mirabello, a 30 year veteran teacher and basketball coach at NWC, will lead the East team, comprised of 12 of the very best basketball players this side of the Mississippi. Brad Lauwers of A.J. Dimond High School in Anchorage, Alaska will coach the West. And together on March 28, 2018, at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Mirabello and Lauwers, will lead these young athletes in front of 19,000 in attendance and millions via ESPN broadcast and livestream.
Northwest Catholic was abuzz with the news, and although Mirabello tried to keep the spotlight at bay, the school community could hardly contain its excitement. Athletic Director Matthew Martorelli said, “For the past 30 years Coach Mirabello has dedicated his time and energy to develop in his players character, ethics, and morals, both on and off the court. As humble as they come, John lets his hard work speak in the efforts of his players.” Martorelli is already planning celebratory events at the school and in Atlanta.
In a letter to faculty and staff at NWC, President and Head of School Christian Cashman wrote, “John's selection simply underscores the many ways in which he is a national example of what any Catholic high school in America would hope to find in their head coaches.” Cashman continued, “In every sense, John Mirabello and his program are exemplars of the values we hold dear in Catholic secondary athletics. No one doubts John's technical skill and knowledge of basketball, but what I believe we all admire most about Coach Mirabello is that he forms and educates the whole person, mind, body, and spirit.”
The East team includes the top two players in the country — Florida’s R.J. Barrett, who is headed to Duke University in the fall, and South Carolina’s Zion Williamson, who will announce his college decision Saturday. The players from both East and West have committed to schools such as Duke, Kansas, Oregon, Vanderbilt, and North Carolina.
Proceeds from the annual games go to local Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) and their Ronald McDonald House programs. Fans should tune into ESPN March 28 at 7pm or via the WatchESPN App or the WatchESPN website at http://www.espn.com/watch/.