In amazing fashion on ESPN this week, this year's 2023 McDonald's All-American Game selections were announced by ESPN personalities Jalen Rose and Malika Andrews on national television. Annually these selections are announced, but never in this format, which heightened the selections for the viewers. As the names were announced, two prospects from Arizona received their blessing, as Perry High School's 6-foot-8 senior guard Cody Williams (University of Colorado signee) and AZ Compass Prep 6-foot-6 senior wing Mookie Cook (University of Oregon signee) were both designated as members of the 2023 McDonald's All-American Game West Team. This distinction for both Arizona prospects was an historical occurrence for the state of Arizona, as the state has never had two McDonald's All-Americans in the same year. History took place on Tuesday afternoon.
Annually, as the selections are announced, rarely does an Arizona prospect make the cut. Previous McDonald's All-Americans have included such top-rated prospects as Jerryd Bayless, Nico Mannion, Mike Bibby and Richard Jefferson, all players that played in the NBA. In most years, our state is void of such a selection, but this year was very different, as the announcement of Cody Williams and Mookie Cook as Mcdonald's AA's sent out a loud roar nationally that Arizona basketball has arrived.
Cody Williams is an amazing story, as he went into last spring (2022) barely ranked among the top 50 prospects in the country in the 2023 Class, which was already a nice honor. But Williams went out and dominated his competition during the spring and summer, while traveling with Vegas Elite (NV) on the Nike EYBL circuit. Williams also led the prestigious 2022 Pangos All-American Camp in scoring - a tremendous accomplishment. While currently ranked as the #14 overall prospect in ESPN's national rankings for the 2023 Class, Williams recently saw his national ranking with 247 Sports, one of the elite national scouting services in the country, rise from #21 to a new #8 national ranking. Williams continues to rise to the top of the national rankings for his class, and the national buzz for him is on another level.
Mookie Cook has always been regarded among the Top 25 players nationally in the 2023 Class, and was ranked as high as a Top 10 prospect in the 2023 Class, at one time. Regardless of where he is ranked nationally, Cook is a future NBA talent, like Williams, and has excelled at a high level before AZ Compass Prep, while playing in Colorado, and then since leading the nationally-acclaimed AZ Compass Prep program. Cook also had a strong spring and summer, and was terrific in the Pangos All-American Festival. Cook has had an excellent high school career, and will help AZ Compass Prep compete for a national championship this high school season.
These two young men make the Arizona basketball community very proud, as they have taken Arizona basketball to completely another level. It is always a very difficult accomplishment to receive such an honor, and for their accomplishments, we congratulate both prospects and their respective high school programs for a job well done.