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Martian basketball starry-eyed for all star game

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February 10, 2010 - At 6-foot-5-inches, 195-pounds, Goodrich High School senior Mitchel Vallie stands out on the basketball court or among classmates in the hallways.

His physical presence, coupled with a decade of basketball experience, garnered attention recently, prompting a nomination to play in the McDonald's All-American Game.

Vallie is one of 45 boys to be nominated in Michigan and one of 2,100 boys to be nominated to play in the game across the country. Twenty will eventually be chosen to play in the All-American game at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The initial list of potential names to be nominated is gathered by Sports America, Inc., state representatives that follow high school basketball in their area, and a selection committee.

According to the McDonald's All American team website, the selection committee is comprised of the nation's most knowledgeable high school analysts, prep scouts, high school newspaper reporters and prestigious basketball coaches. The selection committee is chaired by Coach Morgan Wootten of DeMatha High School in Hyattsville, Maryland. Coach Wootten has more than 1,200 career victories and has won five national high school championships.

On Feb. 5, Vallie was presented with a t-shirt, McDonald's gift certificate, and a framed certificate announcing his nomination. "I was surprised," Vallie said. "I wasn't expecting that big of an honor to come my way."

He is currently a wing forward on Goodrich High School's varsity team and has previously played for the Michigan Mustangs, Common Bond, OAA Select, and Grand Blanc.

Goodrich High School Principal David St. Aubin helped present the award.

"There's some pretty distinguished people on the board that selects nominees. It's important to know that the nominations are not only based on basketball skills, but also the academic success of the athlete. Mitch personifies both characteristics; he's a great player, an excellent student, and on top of that, an outstanding young man."

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