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BERKELEY -- On Thursday afternoon, just before his future team was about to take on UCLA at Haas Pavilion, Richmond (Calif.) Salesian star Jabari Bird earned what no future California Golden Bear has since Leon Powe in 2003: the right to be called a McDonald's All-American.
"It would mean a lot to me," Bird back in July. "I would love to be one of those guys. To come from the Bay Area and represent in the Bay Area and get all eyes here, there are not a lot of guys who have done that these past few years. The West Coast is known for being snubbed, so I'd love to be one of the guys on that roster."
Bird will join good friend -- and as yet unsigned five-star prospect -- Aaron Gordon, along with Antioch (Calif.) Deer Valley forward Marcus Lee as Bay Area representatives on the West team, to be coached by Mike Flaherty of Mt. Carmell (Ill.).
Bird led the Salesian Pride to the Bay Shore Athletic League title with a perfect 13-0 record. Salesian then took the North Coast Section title against BSAL rival St. Patrick/St. Vincent, 75-50. After that, the Pride downed current Bear Kahlil Johnson's Los Angeles Price team, 70-56 to take the state title.
Then, Bird took the team title at the LeBron James Skills Academy. Bird continued his hot summer by leading the Oakland Soldiers becoming the first West Coast team to ever win the Peach Jam in Georgia.
After finishing the AAU season with the Under Armour Elite 24, Bird committed to Cal in September, and signed with the Bears in November.