Kendrick celebrates McDonald's team honor
by Carlton D. White
March 24, 2010 01:00 AM
MARIETTA - According to Wheeler boys basketball coach Doug Lipscomb, Jelan Kendrick gets a lot of attention and accolades because he is a talented and versatile player.
The 6-foot-7, 195-pound Kendrick can play both guard positions, or play under the basket as a forward or even a center.
"It's what makes kids like him special," Lipscomb said. "It's a blessing to have kids of that caliber in our program and to see them go on to be successful."
Thanks to his versatility, Kendrick can now add another position to his portfolio - barista.
As a promotion for his inclusion as part of McDonald's 2010 All-American team, Kendrick donned an apron and went behind the counter as prepared one of the restaurant's trademark coffee drinks Tuesday morning at a Cobb Parkway franchise.
With the McDonald's honor, Kendrick will compete with - and against - some of the nation's best high school basketball players when they come together March 31 for the McDonald's All-American Game in Columbus, Ohio.
"It's a great accomplishment being the only player from Georgia this year selected to play in this game that I always dreamed of playing in," Kendrick said. "I'm just honored."
Kendrick joins three other Cobb County players, and two other Wheeler standouts, who have been named McDonald's All-Americans. Brian Oliver was honored in 1986 for his play at Wills High School, which was later merged into the present-day Campbell High School. Wheeler's Shareef Abdur-Rahim followed in 1995, with J.J. Hickson playing in the game in 2007.
"A lot of work and work ethic was put into this to try to get to this level that a lot people said I couldn't get to," Kendrick said. "Once I accomplished it, it was kind of a relief. To play in this game is tremendous, and I get to represent my state - the state that I love so much - and the people that I love in this state.
"I get to represent them in one of the biggest games in high school basketball."
The McDonald's All-American award is one of several honors recently bestowed upon Kendrick, a Memphis signee. He was also recently tabbed a 2010 Parade All-American as well as a Jordan Brand All-American.
Ranked No. 8 nationally in the Class of 2010 by Rivals.com and a consensus top player in the state of Georgia, Kendrick helped lead Wheeler to a 23-6 overall record and the second round of the state playoffs.
"All of these are great honors," Kendrick said. "They are prestigious awards that not everyone gets to enjoy in their high school career. I'm just looking to prosper in these games and, hopefully, bring back an MVP trophy or something like that."
The Jordan Brand All-American team features 20 of the nation's top seniors, who will play in next month's nationally televised Jordan Brand Classic game at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Joining Kendrick in the Big Apple will be Lipscomb, who was chosen as the head coach for the East team. A 17-year veteran as Wheeler's coach, Lipscomb has coached the Wildcats to five state titles, 10 region championships and was the head coach for the McDonald's All-American game in 2006.
"It's fantastic," Lipscomb said of being chosen as a head coach at the Jordan Brand Classic. "I'll be with some of the best kids in the country, and I'm looking forward to going to New York again. I've been there before with the Wheeler basketball team, and it should be a fun event. It will be another great event to have associated with Wheeler High School."