In response to criticism of the McDonald’s All American Game for not choosing Neumann Goretti star Diamond Johnson, selection committee co-chair Joe Wooten on Thursday issued the following statement:
"The McDonald’s All American Games Selection Committee reviewed more than 900 highly talented players and nominees from across the country, and evaluated them on a number of criteria. The Selection Committee assesses prospects’ fundamental talents and athleticism, along with factors including scholastic achievement, positive behavior on and off the court, and position group fit in order to identify the final rosters of 24 girls and 24 boys. They then submit their vote via confidential ballots. The results are tabulated, and the top 24 girls and top 24 boys vote-getters make up the final rosters for that year’s Games.
"The McDonald’s All American High School Basketball Games sets itself apart from other comparable events in that players are selected based on a systematic voting process – it is the only democratically selected showcase of the nation’s top high school girls and boys players.
“These decisions are very difficult every year, and we evaluate many players, like Philly’s own Diamond Johnson, with tremendous talent and passion for basketball. We have the utmost respect for Diamond and for all our nominees, and will be cheering them on during their future endeavors.”
Johnson’s omission created a firestorm locally and sparked criticism of the decision, including from South Carolina coach Dawn Staley, who coaches the top-ranked college team in the country and the USA women’s Olympic team. Staley had recruited her fellow Philly native but didn’t sign her, Johnson choosing Rutgers.
“I don’t really call it a snub,’’ Neumann Goretti coach Andrea Peterson said last week. “I call it robbery.”
Johnson had a 3.57 GPA last school year in addition to her on-court numbers, averaging 28.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 4.0 steals per game last season. That resulted in her being named the most valuable player of the Catholic League and Gatorade state player of the year. She also was the leading scorer on the Nike summer circuit.