Justin Tatum got a tip and just couldn’t wait to share it.
The CBC basketball coach walked into practice Wednesday night and threw an empty french fry container at Caleb Love.
A 6-foot-3 and 183-pound guard, Love examined it with a puzzled look on his face.
“You know what that means?” asked Tatum. “You made it boy.”
Love is a burger boy.
Love was officially named to the McDonald’s All-American team Thursday afternoon. He’s on the roster of 24 of the best high school seniors in the country. The all-star game will be played at 6 p.m. April 1 at Toyota Center in Houston.
“To be in this position it’s just a blessing,” Love said.
A North Carolina signee and the consensus top-rated college prospect in Missouri, Love joins an illustrious list of area players to be recognized.
Love is the first area player to earn the distinction since Chaminade’s Jayson Tatum in 2016. He is just the second player from CBC to earn a spot at the all-star contest, joining Larry Hughes, who did it in 1997.
“I’m happy for him,” Hughes said. “He’s put in the work and he had that on his board as a goal. It’s good to see kids put that kind of stuff on their board and reach it.”
The other area boys to be named McDonald’s All-Americans are Chaminade’s Brad Beal (2011) and David Lee (2000), East St. Louis’ Darius Miles (2000), Cardinal Ritter’s Loren Woods (1996), St. Charles West’s Ryan Robertson (1995), Collinsville’s Richard Keene (1992) and De Smet’s Steve Stipanovich (1979).
All the previous selections but Keene went on to be selected in the NBA draft.
Love joins Poplar Bluff’s Tyler Hansbrough as the second Missouri player to be selected as a McDonald’s All-American and then play at North Carolina.
“The guys who have played in that game, it’s like a little fraternity. I welcomed him in to the fraternity when they made the announcement,” Hughes said. “There’s a lot of talented guys that don’t get to play in that game.”
Love is putting together a strong senior season. He’s among the area’s top scorers with a 27.1 points per game average. He scored 40 points in back-to-back games and the Cadets have won four road games in a row over good competition.
It’s been a long road for Love to reach this point. He said he wanted to earn the prestigious honor from the time he learned there was a McDonald’s All-American Game. Now he’s achieved it.
“I’m extremely happy for him and his family,” Justin Tatum said. “Coming in as a freshman not ranked, not this and had a couple of good summers. He saw where he could go and he worked his butt off for it.”