The York High boys’ basketball team suffered its second loss in three games last Wednesday.
The former No. 1 Class 5-A team in the state had lost to New Oxford the week before and then fell to Dallastown, 62-56.
Following the disappointing loss, however, one of the Bearcats’ best players received unexpected news that puts him among the top high school basketball players in the country.
The nominees for the McDonald’s All-American Game were released last Wednesday, and York High’s Clovis Gallon Jr. was one of just 13 Pennsylvania players on the list.
“Honestly, I was surprised,” said Gallon Jr., who is scoring 19.2 points per game for the 13-2 Bearcats. “We were coming off a tough loss to Dallastown, and then I found out about it. It’s cool because not too many people get picked for it. It tells me I’m one of the best players in Pennsylvania. That motivates me to work harder.”
Gallon Jr.’s father, Clovis Gallon Sr., thinks very highly of his 6-foot, 5-inch son, but even York High's head coach was surprised.
“It came out of nowhere,” Gallon Sr. said. “I don’t know the process, or how someone gets nominated. He told me after the loss, so it was bittersweet to embrace the magnitude of something like that, but it’s a big deal. It’s unique. It’s hard for me to digest what’s going on and what he’s accomplishing.”
About the game: More than 800 boys’ and girls’ basketball players were nominated from 46 states and the District of Columbia for the annual high school all-star game.
Two teams of 12 will be selected for both the boys' and the girls' games at 3 p.m. Thursday on ESPN’s “The Jump.”
The game is played in an East-vs.-West format with a slam-dunk contest, a 3-point competition and a skills challenge. The game represents a preview to the future stars of college and pro basketball, with many of the best players in the NBA having participated in the game when they were high schoolers.
The girls' game will be shown at 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 27, on ESPN2. The boys' game will follow at 7 p.m.
“Clovis is a high-level player,” Gallon Sr. said. “It’s hard for me as a dad and a coach. I have to try to get the best out of him as a coach, and as a dad, you want to be able to sit back and appreciate how much he’s grown as a player and kid. It’s difficult to embrace where he is and how great he’s doing. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to reflect on all this.”
How Gallon Jr. got here: Gallon Sr. said the guard/forward, who has the ability to play all five positions in high school, grew as a player last summer on the AAU circuit. He played against top competition and was forced to become a more aggressive player.
“Getting the exposure he did last summer and having the success he did over summer on the circuit was huge,” Gallon Sr. said. “He was boosted into a bigger role on the team than he was used to. When it was time to show up, he played well. He was very impressive.”
Gallon Jr. said he developed by playing point guard on his AAU team, which forced him to become a well-rounded player.
“I think I started playing really well over the summer with my AAU team,” Gallon Jr. said. “I played point guard a lot, and I think my vision got better. On defense, I got better because I was guarding a quick guard who was moving around a lot. I got way more athletic over the summer that way.”
He said the success he had on the circuit motivated him to get more serious about his training, and he was in the weight room six or seven days a week.
“I got a lot of interest this summer, and I had a big summer,” Gallon Jr. said. “I started to take my body and physicality more seriously. I started working out more. Once I see myself progress, I want to work harder, so I can progress even more.”
“He spent an inordinate amount of time in the weight room,” Gallon Sr. said. “He’s been more physical because of it. He is a complete player.”
Gallon Jr. said he has interest from several Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference schools and NCAA Division I colleges such as Central Connecticut, Mount St. Mary’s, Fairfield and George Mason.
Other Pennsylvania nominees: Of the other 12 Pennsylvania nominees, only three come from public schools. Gallon is the only nominee from a District 3 school.
The other Pennsylvania nominees in the boys' game are: Maceo Austin, Kennedy Catholic; Dahmir Bishop, Imhotep Institute Charter; John Bol Ajax, Westtown; Eric Dixon, Abington; Jason Eubank, First Love Christian Academy; Ja’Mier Fletcher, First Love Christian Academy; Jalen Gaffney, Westtown; Donta Scott, Imhotep Institute Charter; Ja’cor Smith, Neumann Goretti; Oscar Tshiebwe, Kennedy Catholic; Jihad Watson, Math, Civics and Sciences Charter; Isaiah Wong, Monsignor Bonner.
Six girls' basketball players from District 3 were nominated: Brannon Dajahnae, Harrisburg; Samantha Gress, Central Dauphin; Kiyanna Jefferson, Lancaster Catholic; Kate Levato, Penn Manor; Sunshine McCrae, Trinity (Camp Hill); and Kenzie Reed, Conestoga Valley.
The other Pennsylvania nominees in the girls' game are: Mia Andrews, Archbishop Wood; Rachel Balzer, Germantown Academy; Alexa Brodie, Central Bucks South; Anna Camden, Shipley School; Tatiana Jones, Neumann-Goretti; Nia Jordan, Neumann-Goretti; Kiara Koger, Neumann-Goretti; Alisha Lewis, Strath Haven; Makenna Marisa, Peters Township; Marissa McDonald, West Chester East; Amanda McGurk, Academy of Notre Dame; Ryleigh Parsons, Archbishop Wood; Maggie Pina, Academy of Notre Dame; Casey Remold, Saint Basil Academy; Lauren Ross, Shipley School; Alana Swift, Imhotep Institute Charter; and Nadjy Tyler, Imhotep Institute Charter.
Reach Jacob Calvin Meyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.