Stanley Johnson leads way to McDonald's All-American game

CHICAGO -- A trip to Disneyland did not accompany Stanley Johnson's unprecedented fourth upper-division California state championship, but the Windy City is the place to be this week anyway.

Hours after the 6-foot-6 Arizona recruit led Mater Dei to the state Open Division title Saturday night, he was on a plane headed to the McDonald's All-American game.

He was the first player on the West squad to report to practice Monday.

With a host of NBA executives seated just a few feet away, he went down hard Tuesday.

"I got poked in the eye," Johnson said a couple of hours later, his right eye still red. "It felt like somebody took their finger to the black part and pushed it in the back part of my eye.

"When you get hit like that, you don't notice who's around you. One thing I knew I was going to do was get up and start playing again."

He did, impressing the influential observers with what one called a "grown-man rebound" in traffic just a few moments later.

"I couldn't see out of my eye the rest of the time, but I kept playing hard and I think I made some plays," Johnson said. "I was still dazed. I was telling [West teammate] Devin [Booker] to stop moving because I was on the right side of him."

Johnson had eight points and four rebounds during the West's 105-102 victory Wednesday at the United Center.

Hanging tough

From a national perspective, Loyola center Thomas Welsh may be the least well-known of the 24 boys in the game.

The 6-11 UCLA recruit spent the three days going up against the consensus No. 1 recruit, Duke-bound center Jahlil Okafor of Chicago Whitney Young.

"He is tough to try to stop on the block, but I thought I played him pretty well," said Welsh, who had two assists and two blocks for the West.

She's chillin'

Jordin Canada had several things on her agenda for her first visit to Chicago.

The 5-7 point guard wanted to meet Johnson and Okafor, but first dealt with adjusting to the temperatures. "I walked out of the airport, and [the cold] just hit me," the Windward School senior said.

One of three UCLA signees on the West team (along with Recee' Caldwell and Lajahna Drummer), Canada said visiting the Ronald McDonald House was the highlight of the first few days of her visit.

"It was an eye-opening experience," Canada said. "There was a lot of kids that were very sick.

"It's a blessing to be in our situation."

Another highlight came Wednesday, when Canada set a girls game record with seven assists, the last on the winning basket in an 80-78 victory against the East. She also had 10 points, six rebounds and four steals.

Drummer, of Long Beach Poly, finished with six points and three rebounds.

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