Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
“Yeah, I was kind of surprised, I feel like I deserved to be on there [the McDonald’s Game],” Petty told me. “But my philosophy is God always closes one door and then opens another one so I just prayed about it and stay humble.”
Asked if he will use it as motivation going forward this season, Petty said, “Most definitely. I always come out with a chip on my shoulder and [now I will] get ready for college, I guess.”
Petty said Alabama head coach Avery Johnson had already checked in to offer support.
“Yeah, I talk to him every day,” he said. “They’re just telling me to keep my head up about the McDonald’s and just get ready to come play.”
Petty chose Alabama over Kentucky, which has four McDonald’s All-Americans this year. (Alabama signee Collin Sexton was also named to the game.)
“I think I just got closer to Alabama faster than I did [Kentucky] and I kind of related to them,” Petty said. “And it’s closer to home, too.”
Legendary Jemison coach Jack Doss, winner of nearly 800 career games, felt Petty was snubbed.
“Well, I coached the McDonald’s Game All-American team last spring and he was better than at least five or six of those players last year,” Doss told me. “We go to the City of Palms and he averaged 26 against two ranked teams; I think Norcross (Ga) was ranked 2 and he had 36. I mean, what makes it tough is we’re an unselfish team. He had, what 10 assists tonight and those could be shots, and we’re so unselfish and we don’t get rewarded on being true basketball players and what’s best for the team.”
As for notching a win over Hurley, who has won 13 New Jersey Tournament of Champions titles and more than 1,000 games, Doss called it an honor.
“Well, I love him and I’ve kept up with him,” he said. “It was an honor to play and coach against him. We don’t keep tallies, we just help young men and help them be successful.”
Petty plans to be successful at Alabama next year. Asked what role he will play, he said, “I guess we’re gonna figure that out in the summer. Mostly [Johnson] said he wants to get out and run because we have an athletic group coming in so it should be interesting.”
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.