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Bolingbrook coach Tony Smith said " [The McDonald's All American] kids are special. They can do things the normal kids cannot do. It’s always good to be able to coach talented kids.'' | Jean Lachat~For Sun-Times Media

When Anthony Smith — the girls basketball coach at Bolingbrook — got the phone call that he had been selected to lead the West team in the McDonald’s All American game, he couldn’t have been happier.

“It’s an honor to be selected as the head coach,” Anthony said. “It was definitely a shock and is great for the whole team and community to be a part of one of the greatest all-star games there is.”

Anthony has been leading the girls at Bolingbrook for 12 years and has had the chance to coach two former McDonald’s All Americans on his past teams — Morgan Tuck and Ariel Massengale.

“[The McDonald's All American] kids are special,” Anthony said. “They can do things the normal kids cannot do. It’s always good to be able to coach talented kids.”

Joining Anthony on the West coaching staff for the game on April 3 at the United Center, are his assistants at Bolingbrook, Evan Bercot and Willie Smith.

“Those guys have been with me for a while,” Anthony said. “They are as much deserving of it as I am. I wish I could bring my whole team with me. I think it’s something that past players, current players and everybody had a lot to do with here. The Bolingbrook community has been supportive over the years.”

Willie Smith said he has been fortunate enough to coach great players at Bolingbrook — but he hasn’t had the opportunity to be around too many elite players.

“It’s an honor to work with outstanding athletes,” Willie said. “We have high-level kids in our program, but this is stepping it up to work with elite players.”

Bercot joined the Bolingbrook program seven years ago — the year after the Raiders captured a state championship.

“I didn’t know anything about Bolingbrook girls basketball,” Bercot said. “I asked if they needed any help. I ended up volunteering that first year.”

Being around great coaches and players is an opportunity Bercot is looking to take advantage of.

“The entire process of really great athletes, and learning from people who know more than I know is really something,” Bercot said. “These are great athletes that will have college and professional careers.”

As far as the outlook for the Bolingbrook team next season? Willie Smith said excellence, as usual, is expected.

“We go into every season preparing for a state championship,” Willie said. “It will be no different this year.”

 

Retweet a McDonald’s All-American story from the Official Season Pass Twitter handle, @season_pass for a chance to win two premium seats to the games.

In the coming days, Season Pass will feature student-athletes and coaches with local ties that will be participating in the McDonald’s All-American Games.

For the latest updates on the McDonald’s All-American Game, follow @McDAAG on Twitter.

Retweet a McDonald's All-American story from the Official Season Pass Twitter handle for a chance to win two premium seats to the games.

Retweet a McDonald's All-American story from the Official Season Pass Twitter handle for a chance to win two premium seats to the games.

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