Mount Saint Joseph basketball star Jalen Smith had a fantastic Monday.
If being presented with his McDonald’s All American jersey during a ceremony in the afternoon wasn’t enough, the 6-foot-10 center went on to have a game to remember on senior night against rival John Carroll.
The game featured two McDonald’s All Americans with Kentucky-bound senior guard Immanuel Quickley leading the way for the Patriots.
But the game was on Smith’s home court and he made sure it would be the Gaels’ night. By the end of it, he had 32 points, 23 rebounds and seven blocked shots. Most importantly, the No. 3 Gaels (26-3) came away with an important 78-71 win over the No. 2 Patriots.
A four-year starter and last year’s All-Metro co-Player of the Year, the Maryland-bound Smith is averaging 24 points, 14 rebounds and four blocked shots per game as Mount Saint Joseph gets primed to defend its Baltimore Catholic League and Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championships.
“It was my last home game of the regular season, so we wanted to go out with a bang and I went out with a bigger bang than I expected,” he said. “Overall, I just had fun playing with my guys and we got the win as a team and that’s all that really matters.”
Surrounded by family, teammates, coaches and friends during the afternoon McDonald’s All American presentation, Smith understandably got caught up in the special moment.
“I always dreamt of becoming one, but I never thought it would come to fruition. So yesterday I was a little surprised and shocked by the moment. It sunk in a little bit, but I’m still shocked by it,” he said.
Smith and Quickley are believed to be the only area players selected as McDonald’s All Americans in the same year playing for different teams in the same leagues.