NUTLEY – Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr., third from right, congratulates Nutley High School senior Blair Watson, second from left, for being named to the McDonald’s All-American Girls Basketball Team. Watson is the only student-athlete from New Jersey named to this year’s squad and just the ninth player from the Garden State in history. The McDonald’s restaurant at 173 Franklin Street in Belleville recently hosted a party to commend Watson. With them are Nutley Mayor Al Petracco, far left, and Nutley High School Girls Basketball Coach Larry Mitschow, far right. The McDonald’s All-American Game will be held March 30 at the United Center in Chicago, Ill.
Leading up to the tournament, local McDonald’s franchisees celebrated Watson’s achievements with a variety of recognition events. On Wednesday, March 23, franchisee Ana Madan hosted a send-off event at her McDonald’s restaurant in Belleville, New Jersey. Blair and other members of the Nutley High School Girls’ Varsity Basketball team joined Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. and Nutley Mayor Alphonse Petracco to celebrate Blair’s achievements and wish her luck in this week’s tournament. Blair was also honored during a half-time ceremony on Thursday, March 24 at the Brooklyn Nets game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Blair played 10 minutes in the 15th annual McDonald’s All-American Girls Basketball Game held at the United Center in Chicago, Ill on Wednesday, March 30, playing for the East team. She was held scoreless, taking three shots from the field, all from three-point range. Blair also grabbed three rebounds, dished out three assists and collected one block and one steal. The West team defeated the East team, 97-88, in overtime.
Daughter of Nicole Colley and Eugene M. Watson II, Blair joins 23 other top female prep players throughout the country. She averages 22 points per game and is currently the all-time high scorer in Nutley High School history with 2,127 points. She is set to attend the University of Maryland next season.
“We’re thrilled to celebrate Blair as she heads to the McDonald’s All American Games,” said Mitschow. “Blair embodies all of the qualities of an All-American player; she’s exceptionally courageous both on and off the court. I have no doubt her future in basketball will continue to grow – at the All-American Games, in her forthcoming career at the University of Maryland, and beyond.”
Watson now ranks with an impressive list of players who have donned the McDonald’s All American jersey, including: Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, James Harden, Candace Parker, Maya Moore, Elena Delle Donne, Skylar Diggins and Breanna Stewart.
The McDonald’s All American Games support and celebrate deserving local athletes as they take their first steps toward basketball greatness, while also strengthening ties and relationships with communities across the country.
Net proceeds from the Games benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities. The Games have raised more than $11 million for RMHC and its network of local Chapters since 1978, and all 48 players will have a chance to visit a local House during Game Week in Chicago. RMHC help keep families close to each other and the medical care their child needs.