The high school basketball careers of Belleville East senior Kaylah Rainey and EJ Liddell of Belleville West may last a little longer than expected.
Among the top players in Illinois for the past four years, Rainey and Liddell are two of 10 players from the St. Louis area who have been nominated to compete in the prestigious McDonald’s All-American Games, March 27 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, GA.
The 6-foot-7 Liddell, is a two-time first team all-state selection and the reigning Illinois Mr. Basketball. An Ohio State University recruit, Liddell was also chosen as the Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year last season when he helped lead Belleville West to t the Class 4A state championship. This year., the Maroons are 17-0 and are top top ranked in the Associated Press Class 4A state basketball poll.
A three-year standout for the Belleville East Lancers, Rainey has missed the entire 2018-19 season after undergoing open heart surgery in November. Ranked as one of the top point guards in the nation, the 5-8 Rainey was expected to make her season debut on Thursday when Belleville East played Mater Dei at the Highland Tournament.
Rainey signed with Northwestern University in November.
In all, 800 players from 46 states and the District of Columbia have been nominated by high school coaches, athletic directors, principals and members of the McDonald’s All-American Games selection committee. The final rosters of the top 24 boys and 24 girls for the 2019 McDonald’s All American Games will be announced on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 2 p.m. on ESPN’s “The Jump” and at 5 p.m. on Sportscenter.