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Luol Deng 
Luol Deng had been selected to play on the East team in the McDonalds All-American game in Cleveland on Wednesday evening
(Photo: Blair Academy)
Luol Deng sidelined for McDonalds
All-American game

26 March 2003
Cleveland, OH (USA)

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Luol Deng has been ruled out of tonight's McDonalds All-American High School Game in Cleveland, as he recovers from surgery last Friday to his fractured left foot, but he will be attending the game.

Deng, a 6'8 forward from London, has played his high school basketball with Blair Academy in New Jersey for the past four years, and would have lined up for the East team, alongside his team-mate Charlie Villanueva and rising star LeBron James.

The 26th annual Boys game is being broadcast live tonight in the UK and Ireland for the first time ever on NASN (12midnight GMT).

Duke-bound Deng joins Steve Bucknall (1985) and Neil Fingleton (2000) as the only other players from the UK to be selected to play in what is the High School equilvalent of the NBA All-Star Game.

Nearly 650 players have competed in the McDonald's All American Game, forming an elite list, which reads like a Who's Who in basketball history. McDonald's All Americans include basketball greats Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant, as well as NCAA stars Chris Thomas (Notre Dame), Chris Duhon (Duke), Nick Collison (Kansas), Shanna Zolman (Tennessee), Ann Strother (UConn), and Courtney LaVere (Notre Dame).

"My experience as a McDonald's All American is one I'll never forget," said Kobe Bryant, current Los Angeles Lakers star and 1996 McDonald's All American. "Not only was I able to compete in my first nationally-televised game against some of the best talent in the country, but more importantly, I was able to give back to others through my visit to the Ronald McDonald House."

Since the first McDonald's All American Boys Game was played in Philadelphia in 1978, the Game has provided one of the only true national showcases for the best young male players in the land to exhibit their talent. With the addition of the Girls Game in 2002, the same is now true for female athletes.

"McDonald's will continue to pave the way for female athletes this year as they host the second annual McDonald's All American Girls Game in Cleveland", said Helen Darling, WNBA Cleveland Rockers guard. "The McDonald's All American Game provides a tremendous opportunity for team members to obtain national exposure -- and the chance to meet fellow players with goals and dreams similar to their own."

The final 48 players (24 boys, 24 girls) were selected from a pool of more than 2,500 top high school boy and girl basketball players from across the country and nominated to the McDonald's All American Teams in February 2003. Morgan Wootten, the winningest coach in high school basketball history, serves as chairman of the selection committee and legendary UCLA coach John Wooden, who has been involved in the McDonald's All American Game since its inception, serves as overall chairman of the Game and as an advisor to the selection committee.

"For these young athletes, it is quite an honor to be nominated, let alone selected to the McDonald's All American team," said Wooden. "McDonald's All Americans are role models and leaders to their peers, not only in basketball, but also in the game of life."

Net proceeds from the 2003 McDonald's All American Games will benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeast Ohio (Cleveland and Akron) and Youngstown. Previous beneficiaries of McDonald's All American Games include Sickle Cell Anemia Research, the United Negro College Fund and many other local children's charities. More than $3 million has been raised since the Game was first played in 1978.

Thursday 27th March
12midnight LIVE and 9.00pm Re-Live, NASN

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