Madison Prep senior Jarell Martin’s meteoric rise to the upper echelon of high school basketball continued Thursday with his selection to play in the 36th McDonald’s All American all-star basketball game.
The 6-foot-9 LSU signee is part of the West squad that will compete at 8:30 p.m. April 3 at Chicago’s United Center. Martin, who leads the top-seeded Chargers (37-6) into the Class B playoffs next week, is averaging 26.3 points and 14.1 rebounds per game.
“It’s just real big; I’m real excited, Martin said. “I’ve talked about it with coach (Jeffery ) Jones and how big it is. It’s a great opportunity, and I need to go out and do my best.
“It feels good to be recognized as one of the top guys in the country. But the thing now is be ready for the playoffs. That comes first.”
Madison Prep is the top seed in the Class B playoffs and will host Forest in a bidistrict playoff game
News of Martin’s selection to the McDonald’s game came Thursday afternoon on a selection show televised by ESPNU. Martin becomes the first Baton Rouge area player to compete in the McDonald’s game since former Denham Springs High and LSU standout Tasmin Mitchell played in it in 2005.
Unlike many juniors, this is only his second year of high school basketball.
Two other ex-local players who went on to star at LSU and who are now in the NBA, ex-Capitol star Brandon Bass (Boston Celtics) and former University High standout Glen Davis (Orlando Magic), also played in the McDonald’s game. Bass played in the 2003 game, while Davis played in 2004.
Current LSU standout Johnny O’Bryant III (2011) is the Tiger who most recently played in the McDonald’s game.
Martin was one of six players from Baton Rouge nominated for the game.
The nominees also included four Scotlandville players, Vanderbilt signee Damien Jones, Brian Bridgewater, Jared Sam and Tre’Lun Banks. Glen Oaks’ Chris Thomas was also nominated.
Other Louisiana nominees were Remond Brown of Richwood-Monroe, Hayward Register of Comeaux-Lafayette, Tevin Roberts of Bossier and Pelican’s Zikiteran Woodley.
“This is only our third year as a school and our third year with a team,” Madison Prep’s Jones said. “There’s no doubt that Jarell has helped put us on the map.
“The thing that impresses me so much is how much he has grown over the last two years as a player and a person. He has become a great leader for us, along with our other seniors.
“One of things that helped him get to that point was the work ethic he developed by going to the camps and showcases he went to with some of the other guys who will be playing in this game.”