CHICAGO, ILLINOIS–You can spot it on sight. You can feel it in the atmosphere. It is a topic that is quite difficult to explain, yet I persist with an attempt.
The topic at hand is the “energy” that is portrayed by the best of the best, the creme de la creme. Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Derick Rose all posess this unique attribute; a quiet confidence and a mental state that is rare to come across.
However, the trip to Chicago, Illinois for the McDonald’s American Game has solidified two young stars to add to the mentioned list of players. The following two players own this extraordinary gift and use it as a tool to seperate the good from the great!
While all the players involved in the McDonald’s All-American game are super-talented in their own right, Canadian Myck Kabongo, (Texas) and Austin Rivers (Duke) distinguish themselves from the pack due in large part to this mystic aura.
“It’s about being competitive, I always want to win. It could be ping pong or it could be video games with my niece, I’m going to try to win,” explained Myck Kabongo.
Kabongo has managed to sustain this winning attitude with the Findlay Prep Pilots, where he will graduate from this season and resume his basketball career as a Texas Longhorn.
Joining him on the NCAA ranks is the #1 prospect in the world and son of Boston Celtics Head Coach, Doc Rivers. The name you want to remember is Austin Rivers, for he will annihalate the competition and one day take the NBA by storm.
“Me and Austin are best friends and we just want to ge better thats what it’s all about. You want someone that can push you that can play at a high level, and push them.”
To say the least, Kabongo and Rivers have been pushing each other all week at the McDonald’s All American practice scrimmages.Unfortuanately, the two studs will be taking the floor tomorrow as teammates, however it was fun to watch the fireworks while it lasted!
While most would think that the top prospect in the world has the right to be over-confident, Rivers will blow you away.
“I still have a lot to improve on, I tell people all the time but I honestly do. I haven’t done that much. As far as being a high school player, yes, I’ve done just about everything you can name. But if I’m in the same room with Kobe Bryant and Lebron James, I realy can’t say nothing, can I?”
The player of the year is not focused on his present status, instead striving for greatness!
“I’m a great high school player? They all did that too! I still have to be a good college player, still have to do stuff in the NBA, I still have a lot of work to do so there’s a lot to be humble and hungry for,” Rivers explained, when comparing himself to Bryant and James.
“My dad taught me that when you play, everyone is always coming at you to try and make a name for themselves off of you.”
Believe it or not, in elementary school, Rivers was defeated on few occassions, which really stuck and lead him to becoming the agressive killer on the floor.
“When I came into high school, I came with mindset like alright, every dude I go against, I’m going to try and take off their head, that’s my mindset. That’s what I meant by the Lebron James comment and they [media] took it personal as if I actually said I was going to destroy him when I did not mean that.”
“If I’m playing one of the greatest players like Lebron James, I can’t be scared of him, I have to go at him even if he is Lebron James.”
Myck Kabongo on Representing Canada
Kabongo is well aware of his duties on representing his native country of Canada, he welcomes it with open arms.
“First and foremost, I thank God, We’re trying to make history and make our country proud,” said Kabongo.
“We’re blessed..want to make the country proud. I know the young guys are looking up to us because I know how it feels to look up to other when I was younger, guys like Junior Cadougan who came before me,” he continued.
“To have little kids all over the country looking up to us, that’s what really keeps us going to want do great.”
STAY TUNED FOR THE NPH MCDONALD’S ALL-AMERICAN RECAP + VIDEO INTERVIEWS!!