Janee Thompson is no stranger to the United Center, from the outside anyway.
On Wednesday, the Young senior gets to hang out inside when she and two other local girls standouts — Bolingbrook’s Morgan Tuck and Niles West’s Jewell Loyd — take part in the 11th annual McDonald’s All-American Game. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.
“It makes the game even more exciting knowing I’ll have the support of everybody behind me,” Thompson said. “I drive past the United Center almost every day. Just knowing I’ll be able to step on that floor and play on the same floor as all of those greats like LeBron James, and especially Michael Jordan and Derrick Rose, it’s definitely an honor.”
Honors are nothing new for Thompson, a Kentucky recruit who helped lead Young to a Class 4A state championship and a perfect 34-0 season. Thompson, who averaged 18.1 points, 5.1 assists and 1.8 steals a game during her senior season, will play for the East team.
Tuck and Loyd are on the West team, which will be guided by Zion-Benton coach Tanya Johnson.
Tuck, the Sun-Times Girls Basketball Player of the Year and a Connecticut recuit, averaged 30.8 points, 10 rebounds and three steals a game on her way to becoming the second player from Bolingbrook to make the McDonald’s All-American game in as many years. Former teammate Ariel Massengale played in last year’s contest.
“It’s been very fun so far,” Tuck said of the experience. “You get to meet people from all over the country and play with the best players. I just take it as a great honor to be here.”
Loyd, a Notre Dame recruit, averaged 27 points, 12.7 rebounds and 3.8 steals this season in helping lead the Wolves to a regional title in Class 4A.
“We’ll try to do our best to represent Chicago,” Loyd said. “Hopefully people can come out and support us because we’re trying our best to play well in front of Chicago.”