Manteca High’s Loretta Kakala was one of hundreds of nominees watching the 40th Annual McDonald’s All-American Game selection show Sunday evening on ESPNU when she saw her name scroll across the screen indicating that she will be playing in the All-Star game in Chicago on Wednesday, March 29.
“I was super humbled to be nominated in the first place,” Kakala said. “And then I felt super blessed when I saw my name on the screen. All this hard work and I am finally doing it.”
There were 700 players nominated with 12 boys and 12 girls making the cut. Kakala is the first from Manteca Unified to play in prestigious contest. Fellow Mantecan Chelsea Gray made the McDonald’s All-American team in 2010 but prepped at St. Mary’s of Stockton.
“It feels good to represent my city,” Kakala said. “They have done a lot for me so I am going to go out there and put Manteca on the map.”
The 6-foot-3 Louisville-bound forward is averaging 12.4 points, 11.2 rebounds per game for the Buffaloes (4-0, 7-9 overall), who are in first place in the Valley Oak League.
The McDonalds All-American games have seen nearly 1,300 players since 1978 including Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, James Harden, Candace Parker, Maya Moore, Elena Delle Donne and Breanna Stewart.
Still in college, Lonzo Ball of UCLA, Malik Monk of Kentucky and Crystal Dangerfield of University of Connecticut also played when they were seniors.