McDonald's: Brunson on Cloud Nine

Stevenson (Ill.) point guard Jalen Brunson is fresh off winning a state title, and talks about the McDonald's All-American experience in Chicago.

Wearing a "Just a kid from Lincolnshire" t-shirt, Stevenson (Ill.) McDonald's All-American point guard Jalen Brunson took home the skills competition Monday night at the University of Chicago.

Tuesday morning, Brunson and the West McDonald's team were back on the court practicing just minutes away from the United Center, where Wednesday night's game will take place.

Although the town is a familiar one for Brunson, the McDonald's All-American experience is a new one -- and an exciting one.

"It's been crazy. I am having a lot of fun. I am just out here playing like a regular kid. And it's nothing if you don't have fun. Everyone is really talented so everyone can play, and everyone can make plays," Brunson said.

Another part of the experience that is all too familiar is the West team coaching staff, hailing from Chicago Simeon, Coach Rob Smith and his assistants are leading the charge and coaching Brunson this week. Stevenson defeated Simeon to advance to the state championships, where the Patriots would ultimately win the 4A title.

"I learned a lot from him, I have known him since my freshman year and we have a really good relationship. But we are just having fun, there is no bad blood right now but we joke around about the playoffs and stuff like that, but we are just having a good time right now," Brunson said.

Winning that title, was something that Brunson had dreamed of, and it came true just weeks ago in Peoria.

"It's amazing. I am still on cloud nine, and I am still thinking about it all the time. I am so glad we went out like that, it was a stress reliever, a big stress reliever," Brunson said.

The McDonald's All-American game kicks of a swing of games for Brunson who will play in the Nike Hoops Summit followed by the Jordan Brand Classic.

"I know next week is going to be tough, I am going to miss a lot of school, I have already let all my teachers know," Brunson said. "I am planning out for it but I know it's going to be hard."

Shortly after, Brunson is headed to Villanova, the next step in his basketball career.

"I am looking forward just to getting to know the guys a little more. Just getting ready to fit right in, I talked to the coaches a little bit ago and I just told them that I was going to come in and work my butt off."

He added, "Putting on a Villanova uniform, that's what I am excited about. I think it's amazing to represent them and all the great players that were through there."


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