ORANGE PARK, Fla. – Taliah Scott looked at it and then looked again.
The McDonald’s All-American jersey, draped across a podium, had her name on the back of it. It was a dream come true.
Years ago, Scott, a senior at St. Johns Country Day, mapped out her path. She wanted to win a state championship and Miss Basketball and earn McDonald’s All-American honors. There were other goals, too. Play at the highest level in college and then go on to the WNBA.
So many of those dreams have come into clearer focus.
Scott signed with Arkansas last year and led the Spartans to the Class 2A state semifinals. She’s a favorite for Miss Basketball. And on Wednesday, Scott fulfilled the latest goal in her arc.
Scott finally received her McDonald’s All-American Game jersey, a ceremonial step in a remarkable journey that has taken her to rarified ground in area basketball lore.
“Not only, like I said, making history, like across the country, but like specifically here and then being an inspiration to so many other girls that look up and want to do like what I’m doing,” Scott said. “And for me to be able to show them that you can do this, even from like a small city in Florida that only four people have now made it, like you could be the next one, too.”
Scott is five-star guard who is ranked as the 11th-best player in the country by ESPNW’s HoopGurlz recruiting service. She averaged 36.2 points per game for the Spartans in her final season and led her team to the fourth round of the state playoffs for the first time. Scott’s scoring average led the state again and ranked fourth in the country.
The McDonald’s selection is the crème de la crème of high school accolades. Only 48 players are selected to the team — 24 boys, 24 girls — and go on to play in the annual event. This year’s game is March 28 at 6:30 p.m. at the Toyota Center in Houston.
Scott is just the fourth girls player in area history to be invited to the most prestigious postseason game on the high school landscape.
And Scott is the first non-Ribault selection for the game. Dorian Williams, Erica White and Rennia Davis were the only other girls players to be selected to it. Scott said that it was important to her to show that a player didn’t have to come from one of the most storied programs in the state to make their mark.
“It’s like everybody’s dream. I feel like I’m living out my dream right now. Especially, like at the highest level, too. … I’m going to be playing against the best of the best. The best 24 girls to come across all over the country. And so, it’s so exciting and like etching my name in history. Not many people get to do this and so it’s just crazy.”