Wilmington High School senior Jarron Cumberland continues to see his hard work pay off with a nomination for the McDonald’s All-American boys basketball game.
Cumberland, who has signed to play next season for the University of Cincinnati basketball team, will find Jan. 17 out if he made the final cut for the game. The announcement will be made on ESPNU at 10:30 p.m.
“It’s a big thing,” said Cumberland, who has led the Hurricane to a 9-0 start this season. “All the work I’ve put in has been paying off.”
Cumberland, a 6-5 multi-skilled player, is averaging 31 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 3.8 steals and 1.3 blocked shots per game for Wilmington.
“Besides scoring I really like getting other players to score,” said Cumberland. “I like making my teammates better. There is no ‘I’ in team. I always have to have other teammates scoring with me (to win).”
The McDonald’s All-American Game is the most prestigious prep all-star game in the nation. This will be the 39th annual game for the boys, which will be played 8 p.m. March 30 at Chicago’s United Center. The 15th annual girls game will be played 5:30 p.m. March 30 at the United Center.
Annually, 24 boys players and 24 girls players are chosen to play in the games from a pool of more than 800 nominees nationwide.
“This is not going to put more pressure on me,” he said. “It’s gong to make me work harder than I have been.”
Among the names of players who have participated in the McDonald’s All-American Game in the past are Magic Johnson, Dominque Wilkins, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
“This nomination shows me that all these guys who go to the NBA or even just to college and then get a good job … it shows me I’m right there with them, but it also shows I have to put in more work when I get into college,” said Cumberland. “I’m excited to be nominated, being named with those guys. It’s a big honor to be named with them.”
Cumberland is joined by fellow Ohio nominees Frankie Hughes and Willie Jackson from Garfield Heights High School, Jon Teske from Medina High School, Nick Ward from Gahanna Lincoln High School, Sean Flannery from Lakewood St. Edward High School, and Xavier Simpson from Lima Senior High School.
“I’ve played (AAU basketball) with Jackson, Frankie Hughes and Simpson,” Cumberland said.
While he is appreciative of these individual honors coming his way, Cumberland won’t be focusing on that Jan. 17 announcement until that time.
“That’s not really on my mind right now,” he said. “What’s on my mind right now is trying to win a state championship. That’s important to the seniors. It’s important to everybody to win a state championship.”
Despite a two-point win over Covington Catholic, Wilmington’s average margin of victory this season is nearly 34 points. So it would be easy to coast or relax but not Cumberland. Not the Hurricane.
“Coach (Michael) Noszka tells us you can’t be bored because we’re blowing a team out,” said Cumberland. “We have to go out there and have fun.
”Basketball is something that makes me happy. It clears my mind; it’s a stress reliever for me. If I have something on my mind, I go to the gym. It makes me happy and takes everything off my mind.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, or on Twitter @wnjsports.