Lovin’ it

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 23, 2004

From now on when Wilcox Central senior Michael Williams enters a McDonald’s, any McDonald’s, he can demand a Happy Meal toy surprise and a hot apple turnover on the house.

Well, not really.

But there are a lot of other neat perks that go with the latest award racked up by the star forward from Camden.

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From over 2,500 nominees, Williams was one of 24 players selected to the 2004 All-American team.

As part of the team, Williams will get to compete on March 31 in front of an ESPN television audience against the best high school players in the nation.

“To me, it’s a great honor,” Williams said. “I’m very excited.

I’m preparing myself every day for that game.”

While he prepares for that game, however, Williams still has some work to do at home.

The Jaguars are set to square off against Oxford at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday in Troy in AHSAA Regional action.

“It’s not hard.

While I’m preparing for that game it’s preparing me for our game as well,” Williams said.

There’s a lot going on for the University of Texas signee.

In addition to the McDonald’s All-American game and the Jags run at a second-straight state title, Williams has regular high school things to worry about, like classes and a senior prom.

“I take everything one at a time,”

he said. “I don’t try to rush.”

The fact that Williams has handled everything so well, pleases his father, Michael Gladney.

“I’m proud, very proud,” Gladney said of his son’s achievements on and off the court.

The McDonald’s game, which separates the top 24 boys into two teams, is in it’s 27th year. The likes of Magic Johnson, Lebron James and Michael Jordan have starred in the game. There will also be a 24-player girls contest.

“Just being nominated to the McDonald’s All-American teams is a very special honor,” legendary coach John Wooden said in a press release. “For the 48 final team members, being selected to play in this game is really a dream come true.”

Williams, who has long been touted as one of the top players in the country, wasn’t too surprised by the announcement.

But he was still was pleased.

“I’ve been hearing talk about it but I didn’t know for sure,” Williams said. “I knew that if I played hard enough I’d be on there.

I was just trying to prepare myself.”

Williams and Indiana signee D.J. White of Hilcrest in Tuscaloosa are the only two players from Alabama invited to the game that will be held in Okalahoma City.

For now though, Williams’ attention is firmly focused on the 5-A State title.

“Everyone has been preparing themselves, everyone is gelling pretty well,” Williams said. “Our main focus is the state championship.”

After that, McNuggets for everyone!