OAK BROOK, Ill., March 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the McDonald's All American® Games and Morgan Wootten, Hall of Fame coach and selection committee chair, named Shabazz Muhammad and Breanna Stewart winners of the 2012 Morgan Wootten Player of the Year Award for their accomplishments on and off the court.
Muhammad, the 6-6, 215 lb. prep star from Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Nev. became the 16th winner of the annual male Morgan Wootten Award. Previous winners include Austin Rivers (2011), Kevin Love (2007), Dwight Howard (2004), LeBron James (2003), Jay Williams (1999) and the award's first recipient, Shane Battier (1997). Muhammad beat out finalists Kyle Anderson (St. Anthony's High School – Fairview, N.J.), Brandon Ashley (Findlay College Preparatory – Henderson, Nev.), Isaiah Austin (Grace Preparatory Academy – Arlington, Texas), Marcus Paige (Linn-Mar High School – Marion, Iowa) and Marcus Smart (Marcus High School – Flower Mound, Texas).
Stewart, the 2012 Naismith and WBCA Player of the Year from Cicero-North Syracuse High School in North Syracuse, N.Y., is the 11th annual female winner, joining Elizabeth Williams (2011), Maya Moore (2007), Tina Charles (2006), Candace Parker (2004) and Ivory Latta (2003), among others. Stewart won the honor over finalists Malina Howard (Twinsburg High School – Twinsburg, Ohio), Moriah Jefferson (Home Schooled – Glenn Heights, Texas), Alexis Jones (MacArthur High School – Irving, Texas), Jewell Loyd (Niles West High School – Lincolnwood, Ill.) and Morgan Tuck (Bolingbrook High School – Bolingbrook, Ill.).
The Morgan Wootten Award is given to the best male and female McDonald's All American players who exemplify outstanding character, exhibit leadership and embody the values of being a student-athlete in the classroom and the community. McDonald's established the award in Wootten's honor to pay tribute to his unprecedented achievements as a teacher and coach. The official award presentation will take place at the McDonald's All American Games awards banquet on March 27 in Chicago, Ill.
Muhammad is one of the top-ranked players in the 2012 class and has led his team to three Nevada 4A State Championships (2009, 2010 and 2012). Off the court, Muhammad has participated in community service projects through his high school and is three-year member of the honor roll.
"It's an unbelievable feeling to be recognized as the Morgan Wootten Player of the Year," said Muhammad. "When you look at the long list of guys who've been honored with this award – LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Shane Battier – it's nice to know I'm at a similar phase in my basketball career and I hope to continue with that success."
Stewart is the top-rated player in the 2012 class according to the ESPNU 100 list. In 2011, Stewart led her team to its first state championships in school history and is looking to repeat in 2012. Off the court, she routinely volunteers at a local YMCA and youth basketball program and is a member of the honor roll.
"Being named a McDonald's All American is a great honor, but to be chosen as Player of the Year makes it even more special," said Stewart. "This is an award I'll remember for the rest of my life, and I'm so grateful to my coaches, trainers and family members who have been right behind me every step of the way."
The 2012 McDonald's All American Basketball Games will be played on March 28 at the United Center in Chicago, Ill. The Girls Game begins at 6:00 p.m. CT, and will broadcast live on ESPNU. The Boys Game will tip-off at 8:30 p.m. CT, and will broadcast live on ESPN.
Tickets to the McDonald's All American Games are available via Ticketmaster and charge-by-phone at 1-866-909-GAME with proceeds benefiting the Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®) of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana. Millions of dollars have been raised for the charity since the Games were first played in 1978.
For more information about the McDonald's All American Games, please visit www.mcdaag.com. POWERADE®, Coca Cola®, adidas®, THE ROCK®, American Family Insurance, BMO Harris Bank(SM) and Fathead® are proud sponsors of the 2012 McDonald's All American Games.
About Coach Wootten
During Wootten's 43-year career as head basketball coach at DeMatha High School in Hyattsville, Md., he earned a reputation for being an excellent basketball coach and mentor. In addition to his five national high school championship titles and 33 conference championships, Wootten had the unique distinction of having every DeMatha senior player receive a four-year college scholarship during his final 30 years of coaching.
Now retired, Wootten was the first basketball coach, at any level, to reach 1,200 wins. He is the author of numerous books and is a famed basketball speaker and mentor. Coach Wootten has served as head of the selection committee for the McDonald's All American Games since its inception in 1977.
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SOURCE McDonald's USA, LLC