LITTLE ROCK — The accolades keep piling up for 2021 Arkansas commitment and ESPN national No. 7 / 5-star prospect Jersey Wolfenbarger, and certainly it doesn’t get any better than being named 1 of 24 players in the nation selected as a McDonald’s All American.
Wolfenbarger (6-5 combo guard, Fort Smith Northside, 2019-20 Gatorade Arkansas Girls High School Basketball Player of the Year) was honored on Tuesday with the prestigious selection that was announced during ESPN’s The Jump. Due to the covid-19 pandemic, the McDonald’s All American games for girls and boys will not be played in 2021.
Wolfenbarger becomes the first future Razorback to earn a McDonald’s All American team selection since Bobby Portis did so in 2013 before joining the men’s program a few months later as a freshman.
Wolfenbarger was also recently named 1 of 5 finalists for the prestigious Naismith Girls National High School Player of the Year award, which will announce its winner in the near future. Wolfenbarger is having a stellar season at Northside as she’ll soon lead her team into the postseason as the Lady Bears seek their second 6A state title in the last three seasons.
“Being a (Naismith) finalist and a McDonald’s All American is extremely honoring,” Wolfenbarger told Hogville.net. “As a younger athlete, you set all these goals for yourself that started off as dreams and aspirations, you never really knew if they’d come true. The only thing you knew for certain was that you’d have to get everything out of each day, to ensure that you were putting your best foot forward.
“Now, to see it all play out, is more motivating than anything. Like keep going, keep raising the bar, and never settle.”
Wolfenbarger — a member of the Arkansas Banshees spring/summer grassroots basketball program — had great junior and sophomore seasons in the Arkansas high school ranks. As a junior, she averaged 18.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.5 steals per game while pacing the top-ranked Lady Bears to a deep run into the 6A state tournament. As a sophomore, she averaged 22.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.3 steals in a story-book season that culminated in Wolfenbarger leading a comeback from a double-digit deficit before she hit a buzzer-beating game-winner over Bentonville in the 6A state title game that garned her MVP honors.
She followed up her sophomore season with a strong spring and summer in 2019 playing with the 17U Arkansas Banshees as one of the top players on the national Under Armour Association circuit. She also showed well at the Team USA U16 training camp in May 2019 in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Wolfenbarger is a smooth do-it-all perimeter force who can make plays for teammates as well as create her own offense. She has grown roughly 11 inches — shooting up from 5-6 to 6-5 in just over two years.
Here’s what ESPN contributor Shane Laflin wrote about Wolfenbarger in the fall of 2020 (italicized) …
Wolfenbarger was considered a late bloomer based on her physical growth spurt(s). She started out a small but energetic guard who was talented enough to play above her age group. Then she grew to 6-foot-2 and now stands at 6-foot-5, and her confidence is noticeable.
She has developed one of the smoothest shots in her class. Wolfenbarger methodically attacks opponents with a purpose, showing flashes of DeWanna Bonner and Elena Delle Donne in her floor game.
“Not only is she the hardest-working player the Banshees have ever had, she is the most focused and detail-oriented person I’ve ever met,” said Nathan Sadler, director of the Banshees. “Jersey has a plan for all aspects of her game and she methodically attacks them with purpose and maturity.”
* 2021 Arkansas signee Chance Moore (6-5 wing, McEachern School, ESPN national No. 73 / 4-star prospect) was named Georgia First Team All Region 2-7A last week, and he was also nominated for McDonald’s All American team consideration although he was not ultimately selected to the 24-player team. In his last 11 games, Moore averaged 21.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks.
* 2023 Arkansas offer Layden Blocker (6-2 point guard, Little Rock Christian Academy) recently picked up a scholarship offer from Mississippi State, adding to his list of offers that includes Auburn, Virginia Tech, TCU, St. John’s, Tulane, Southern Mississippi, Oral Roberts, and Central Arkansas.
* 2021 Arkansas signee Akol Mawein (6-9 combo forward, Navarro College in Texas, national No. 4 / 4-star junior college prospect according to 247Sports.com) is averaging 12.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.1 steals, and 1.0 assist while shooting 48.3% from the field, including 33.3% from 3, and 82.6% from the free throw line through seven games for Navarro (4-3). After having three consecutive games postponed, Mawein and Navarro are slated to play a road game at Jacksonville College on Wednesday followed by another road game against Coastal Bend College on Saturday.