Here is our second installment of West boys coach Frank Allocco's journal at the McDonald's All American Game in Chicago. Allocco is a state champion coach at De La Salle (Concord, Calif.). The McDonald's games are scheduled for Wednesday at the United Center.
Monday, March 31
7 a.m. —
We're starting off another beautiful Chicago day with our usual morning meeting. The staff and coaches discuss our visit to the Ronald McDonald House and how important this game has been to raise funds for this amazing charity.
After a buffet breakfast, we travel to the Quest Center where we conduct mid-morning practice with our players. This is the first practice open to the players' families, sponsors and national media. Our West team is really coming together and I think we will compete well on Wednesday night.See Allocco's coaching and life path
Our players compete at a very high level in a structured environment. They seem to enjoy a "De La Salle" practice. The NBA scouts love the drills we put the players through and several comment on the efficient use of the time we migrate from drill to drill. I'm proud of that. That makes me feel good. 11 a.m. —
It's my first chance to observe the East team and man are they talented as well. They have a great combination of power players and skilled shooters. Coach Lou Wilson, from Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.)
, and his staff are doing an outstanding job with their team. We spend a lot of time with them and enjoy the constant banter. Noon —
After practice, the players and coaches are available to the media for photos and interviews.
1:30 p.m. —
We are bussed to the LIDS Store in Chicago where players and coaches are given custom-made embroidered hats recognizing the McDonald's All American game. After a great buffet lunch, I have a chance to spend some time with my cousin Gregg Allocco and his family. Gregg has been a successful high school assistant coach at Upper Arlington High School and Dublin Coffman in Ohio and works at my Excel Camps in New Jersey each summer. It's nice to have some down time and an opportunity to relax with members of my family.4:45 p.m. —
We board a bus to the University of Chicago. When I arrive in the lobby, I see one of my favorite mentors, Howie Garfinkel, the founder of the Five Star Basketball Camps. I've known Howie since he recruited me to play in the Dapper Dan Classic back in 1971 and years later, he still enjoys working at his Five Star Camps in Honesdale, Pa., where I made many lifelong friends in the coaching fraternity.See Allocco's blog from the weekend 5:30 p.m. —
After a short bus ride to the University of Chicago, our players are dressed for the Powerade Jam Fest. I take a short walk to see the first Heisman Trophy on display in the University's Hall of Fame. This award was won by the legendary halfback Jay Berwanger in 1935. What a great piece of sports history!
6:30 p.m. —
The arena is buzzing as our players came out to warm up prior to the skill competition, 3-point contest and the ever-popular dunk contest. ESPNU is televising each contest – how cool is that? Duke-bound Grayson Allen
of Providence (Jacksonville, Fla.)
is the upset winner in the dunk contest when he jumps over two players in the semifinals and over 7-foot center and National Player of the Year Jahlil Okafor
of Whitney Young (Chicago)
to clinch the title. The arena erupts and boys and girls players are chest bumping and high-fiving. The energy and enthusiasm is off the hook. See slideshow of dunk contest here9 p.m. —
It's after Jam Fest now. I have the pleasure to meet Jalen Rose, of the Michigan Fab 5 fame, and a longtime NBA All-Star. What a treat. 10 p.m. —
We board our buses back to the hotel. Waiting there is some classic deep-dish Chicago pizza. Between bites, I visit with players and staff. Good times. Midnight —
Our staff meets one more time to prepare for morning practice. We're excited to see our players in action at the afternoon scrimmage. Frankly, we're excited about all of it. I hope I can sleep. No fooling.