AUSTIN, Texas -- A trio of University of Texas women's basketball signees are spending the current week in the state of Indiana - ready to showcase their talents in the two premier high school senior basketball all-star games. The future Longhorn trio of 5-10 guard Erika Arriaran (Norco, Calif./Norco HS), 6-0 guard Crystal Boyd (N. Little Rock, Ark./Parkview Arts & Science HS) and 6-0 forward Earnesia Williams (Sapulpa, Okla./Sapulpa HS) will play in the annual McDonald's All-America High School Game taking place on Wednesday, March 30 at the Joyce Center in South Bend, Indiana.
The McDonald's All American Girls Game tips off at 4:30 p.m. (Central time) and will be tape-delayed and broadcast on ESPN2 on Thursday, March 31 at 4:00 p.m. (Central); the McDonald's All American Boys Game begins at 7 p.m. (Central) on Thursday and will be broadcast live on ESPN.
With Arriaran, Boyd and Williams ready to show their talents on the hardwood Wednesday, Texas is the ONLY university in the nation to have more than two of its 2005-06 national letter-of-intent signees play in the elite McDonald's All-America Game.
All three of the future Longhorns were tabbed McDonald's All-Americans this season. They join three current Longhorns who were tabbed McDonald's All-Americans in their senior year of high school and who also participated in the prestigious All-America Game - current junior guard Nina Norman, current sophomore forward Tiffany Jackson and sophomore post Kalee Carey.
Following the McDonald's game, both Arriaran and Williams will head due south to Indianapolis to prepare for Saturday's (April 2) Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) High School All-America Game, presented by Nike. The WBCA All-America Game is part of the NCAA Women's Final Four festivities this weekend in Indy. The 2005 Final Four semifinals are Sunday (April 3) and the title game is on Tuesday (April 5) at the RCA Dome.
Back in South Bend, the McDonald's All-America Game is the showpiece event of a week of activities for the high school all-stars. Surrounding the boys and girls All-America competitions are basketball clinics for local youth which feature the All-Americans, the annual Mountain Dew Slam Dunk competition and the three-point shooting contests on Monday (March 29) and the annual awards banquet which took place on Tuesday (March 30).
And, to little surprise, Arriaran emerged as the 3-point champion on the girls' side, winning over Abby Waner and Tiffanie Shives. Mario Chalmers, from Anchorage, Alaska, won the boys 3-point shooting competition, in a shootout over Danny Green and Martell Webster.
"(Her accuracy) just comes from practicing in the driveway with my mom and dad," Arriaran said. "I wasn't tired, I was just nervous."
Tuesday evening (March 29), the McDonald's All-Americans attended the annual awards banquet at the Joyce Center. The evening was a night to remember for the players, their families and the McDonalds family. James Brown (FOX NFL) was the master of ceremonies for the evening, which included rousing speeches by Chairman of the McDonald's All-American Games and coaching legend John Wooden, Hall of Fame basketball player Bill Russell and Chairman of the Selection Committee Morgan Wootten.
NEXT UP: A STOP IN INDIANAPOLIS
This upcoming Saturday, basketball action in Indianapolis will kick off with a special doubleheader of competition on Saturday (April 2) prior to the start of the 2005 NCAA Women's Final Four semifinal games the next day. Saturday's special evening of hoops is dubbed the "WBCA Night of All-Stars" as the High School All-America Game kicks off at 4:30 p.m. (Central), followed by the annual WBCA Senior All-Star Challenge. The Senior All-Star Challenge showcases the nation's top 20 seniors from Divisions I, II and III, and will feature Texas seniors Jamie Carey and Heather Schreiber.
Arriaran was named the 2005 State Farm/WBCA National High School Player of the Year on February 16, and will be formally recognized with that Player of the Year award during the "WBCA Night of All-Stars" festivities. Arriaran and Williams are 2005 WBCA/Nike First Team All-Americans. (Boyd is an alternate to this all-star game and was named WBCA/Nike All-America Honorable Mention).
The WBCA Senior All-Star Challenge and the High School All-America Game are NOT TELEVISED.