STEVE HANLON: All-Star game happy to be a McHoosier

2014-05-01T17:00:00Z 2014-05-01T22:47:09Z STEVE HANLON: All-Star game happy to be a McHoosierSteve Hanlon Prep Beat nwitimes.com
May 01, 2014 5:00 pm  • 

For a long while, Northwest Indiana had a local all-star game for boys and girls basketball. Then, like that, it vanished.

Gone was the opportunity for local fans to see their favorite seniors in the spring one more time on the court before they dribbled into the real world.

I missed it. I'm sure you missed it, too.

Then, out of nowhere it seems, the McLegends All-Star game did a crossover into Indiana. This event that pits senior high school players competing against former college and pro athletes began in 2002.

The girls game will be played tonight at Highland High School. The boys game will be played at 2 p.m. Saturday. You'll want to "Supersize"  this meal.

Both games are going to be a lot of fun, like a bag of Big Mac's without going over the calorie cap.

"I'm hoping to guard Ronald McDonald," Highland senior Ben Wood joked. "I'd like to show him up a little bit."

Wood is also excited about having a chance to play with E.C. Central grad Kawann Short, who helped lead the Cardinals to the 2007 Class 4A state title and is now playing on Sundays with the Carolina Panthers.

Add Merrillville's Mike Neal (Packers) and Marian Catholic's Dennis Kelly (Eagles) and you can see this is going to be fun.

Highland boys coach Jordan Heckard, a Valpo High grad, will also play for the McLegends team. He is excited about how his community has embraced this event. There are signs all over town.

"They are fired up," said Heckard of Wood and Tommy Brankin being named to the Senior All-Star team. "Back in February, our guys thought about lacing it up in their home gym for the last time.

"Then, the McLegends came along and they get to do it one more time."

"Da Region" is well-known for a long list of great college players. But it is also known for great high school players who did not have that great D-I skill set. That's where the old all-star game format was great, allowing players like that one more game.

The McLegends has Mc-answered that Mc-problem. Embrace this event folks so it will return to Indiana next year. Remember they've made a movie about Indiana high school basketball.

The film about Illinois was on Lincoln and his bad beard.

Wood is going to Indiana University to be a student. Brankin has visited Oakton Community College and has been accepted as a student at Indiana-Northwest. He wants to play small college hoops.

The McLegends is a great event for both players.

"It's an honor to be a part of this event," Brankin said. "We're hoping to have some home-court advantage. They're saying it's going to be a big crowd."

Wood, too, is stoked.

"It's pretty cool, my last game at Highland," Wood said. "I didn't realize it's that big of a deal. I see signs all over the place. We hope to see a lot of people."

Myself and Ronald McDonald are hoping for the same thing. But that's where it ends. I do not want to "show him up a little bit."

I know for sure that the happy burger clown would Mc-posterize me.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at steve.hanlon@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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