- Chris Hansen, ESPNHS HoopGurlz
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Connecticut signees Moriah Jefferson, Breanna Stewart and Morgan Tuck form what is arguably the most star-studded women's basketball recruiting class of all time. But before the trio joins forces next season in Storrs, Stewart, the No. 1 prospect in the class of 2012 according to ESPN HoopGurlz, will face off against Jefferson, who's ranked No. 2, and Tuck, No. 15, on a national stage at the 2012 McDonald's All-American Game on March 28 (7 p.m. ET on ESPNU).
Jefferson, a home-schooled point guard from Glenn Heights, Texas, is happy to share the spotlight.
"Being selected for the McDonald's All-American Game -- and getting the chance to play in a game where so many past stars have come through and made their mark -- is truly an honor," she said. "I just hope that I can leave a footprint as the rest of these great players did."
Jefferson, Tuck, Stewart and 21 other players from 12 states will take to the court at the United Center in Chicago for the 11th McDonald's girls' game. Chicago is the first city to host back-to-back McDonald's All-American Games.
The Windy City will be well represented with three players from the greater metropolitan area: Janee Thompson, a 5-foot-7 guard from Whitney Young (Chicago), will suit up for the East team while Jewell Loyd, a 5-9 guard from Niles West (Skokie, Ill.), and Tuck, a 6-2 forward from Bolingbrook (Ill.), will play together on the West team.
California and Texas each landed four players on this year's McDonald's roster. Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) backcourt teammates Jordan Adams and Nirra Fields represent half of the Golden State contingent. The duo will be joined by Candice Agee, a 6-6 post from Silverado (Calif.), and Imani Stafford, a 6-7 post from Windward (Los Angeles), on the West squad.
While none of the Lone Star State representatives played high school ball together, three of the four have joined forces on the club circuit at some point in their careers. The 5-foot-7 Jefferson, Alexis Jones, a 5-foot-8 point guard from MacArthur (Irving, Texas), and Jordan Jones, the 5-foot-6 point guard from DeSoto (Texas), once played together for the DFW Elite club program based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
"I'm excited about getting the chance to play with my former teammates Jordan and Alexis," said Jefferson. "I know those two players like the back of my hand, so it should be a fun and exciting game to watch."
The fourth Texan on the West squad is Courtney Williams, a 6-1 wing forward from North Shore (Houston).
Joining the 10 players from California, Illinois and Texas on the West squad are Katie Collier, a 6-3 post from Seattle Christian (SeaTac, Wash.), and Xylina McDaniel, a 6-2 forward from Spring Valley (Columbia, S.C.).
Rounding out the East teams are: Stewart, a 6-2 forward from Cicero-North Syracuse (Cicero, N.Y.); Brianna Butler, a 5-11 guard from Nazareth Regional (Brooklyn, N.Y.); Kahleah Copper, a 6-1 guard from Prep Charter (Philadelphia); Bashaara Graves, a 6-2 forward from Clarksville (Tenn.); Bria Holmes, a 6-1 forward from Hillhouse (Hamden, Conn.); Malina Howard, a 6-3 post from Twinsburg (Ohio); Niya Johnson, a 5-7 point guard from P.K. Yonge (Gainesville, Fla.); Michaela Mabrey, a 5-9 guard from Manasquan ( N.J.); Sierra Moore, a 5-11 wing from Delone Catholic (McSherrystown, Pa.); Alexis Prince, a 6-2 wing from Edgewater (Orlando, Fla.); and Brittney Sykes, a 5-9 guard from University (Newark, N.J.).
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Chris Hansen is the national director of prospects for ESPN HoopGurlz and covers girls' basketball and women's college basketball prospects nationally for ESPN.com. A graduate of the University of Washington with a communications degree, he has been involved in the women's basketball community since 1998 as a high school and club coach, trainer, evaluator and reporter. He is a member of the McDonald's All-American team selection committee. Hansen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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