A pair of three-time South Jersey Sports Zone Player of the Year winners put the 856 area code on the map in one of high school basketball's most high-profile events.
Paul VI senior Hannah Hidalgo set the McDonald's All-American Game scoring record with 26 points and was named co-Most Valuable Player in Houston, Texas on Tuesday night. She also tied a McDonald's All-American Game record with eight steals and added five assists in the East's 110-102 loss. The Notre Dame commit shared co-MVP honors with USC commit and two-time California Player of the Year JuJu Watkins. Watkins scored 25 points for the West.
Hidalgo became the first South Jersey female basketball player to compete in the prestigious all-star event. Mainland graduate Kylee Watson was selected in 2020, but the game was canceled as a result of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Ironically, Hidalgo and Watson will be teammates next year at Notre Dame.
Hidalgo averaged 28.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game this winter. The Notre Dame commit was named the 2023 Gatorade New Jersey Player of the Year and finished her scholastic career with 2,135 points.
Camden's D.J. Wagner joined his father Dajuan and grandfather Milt as McDonald’s All-Americans and became the first third-generation player in the McDonald's All-American Game. The 2023 New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year earned co-MVP honors with 19 points in the second half to lift the East to a dramatic 109-106 come-from-behind victory over the West. Wagner shared co-MVP honors with USC commit Isaiah Collier. Collier tallied a game-high 25 points.
The 2022-23 SJ Sports Zone Olympic Conference Player of the Year put the East ahead with 33 seconds left in regulation on a two-hand slam dunk. Wagner also drained a pair of free throws with less than 10 seconds remaining to seal the victory. The East trailed by as much as 16 points in the first half. The Kentucky commit scored all of his team-high 19 points in the second half to complement three assists, two rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Wagner's teammate, Aaron Bradshaw, added 18 points and eight rebounds and was named the boys' sportsmanship award winner.
Wagner finished his illustrious high school career with 2,040 points in 100 games played. The Kentucky commit joined his grandfather and current Louisville director of player development, Milt Wagner; his father and former Cleveland Cavaliers guard, DaJuan Wagner; Greg Barr, Nate Johnson, Kevin Walls, and current Camden mayor Vic Carstarphen as the only players in Camden history to surpass 2,000 career points.