By Justin Whitaker
BROWNSBURG — Brownsburg senior Stephanie Mavunga’s McDonald’s order of a three-piece Chicken Selects, large fry, and large Hi-C has now gotten a lot more fulfilling.
Each time Mavunga that walks into the Golden Arches, she’ll be doing so as a McDonald’s All-American.
The North Carolina commit is one of 24 selected to the prestigious basketball game April 3 at the United Center in Chicago (6 p.m., ESPNU).
“I am just overwhelmed with joy,” Mavunga said. “It’s really a blessing to say the least. I’m really excited and I couldn’t have made it here without God, my teammates, my family, my friends, and my fans.”
Mavunga is the second Hendricks County resident to earn the national honor. Plainfield resident Kelly Faris played her high school ball at Heritage Christian and was named to the McDonald’s All-American team in 2009.
The 6-foot-4 forward is the first Bulldog to be selected to the team.
“This is a huge honor,” Brownsburg coach Amy Brauman said. “This is something that not very many kids get. It’s a huge honor for her and she’s worked really hard for it.”
Mavunga averaged team-highs of 23 points, 12.6 rebounds, and 3.8 blocks per game in 2013. She also became the Bulldogs’ career leading scorer and set the individual game scoring record with 44 against Plainfield.
Being selected as a McDonald’s All-American helps cement Mavunga’s name in the Brownsburg and Indiana history books that much more.
“It just kind of validates everything that she’s done for the season,” Brauman said. “We’ve always known that she’s a great player but she’s done a great job especially this year trusting more in her teammates and it’s allowed her to do more.”
Two of Mavunga’s future Tar Heel teammates also made the All-American team: Jessica Washington and her teammate on the East squad, Diamond DeShields.
“I think that’s amazing,” Mavunga said. “I’m playing with all of them except Allisha Gray and I really feel like she would’ve made it had she not torn her ACL. To be able to play with my teammates and my sisters, that’s really neat. We are starting off and already starting to flow.”
All of the McDonald’s All-Americans find out weeks before the list is released publicly and Mavunga’s UNC teammates found out before she did.
That set off a little bit of nerves for Mavunga, but the letter came to school and Brauman filled in her on the good news before the Bulldogs’ 55-52 win against Lebanon on Jan. 30.
“I almost had a heart attack,” Mavunga said. “This is like what I’ve been waiting for all of my high school season, all of my career. I’ve always wanted to make the high school All-American team and it was one of my big, big goals.”
She had to keep the selection under wraps, as only the Brownsburg coaches and Mavunga’s family were privy to the information.
When it comes to the actual game, Mavunga is expecting herself to try and win and have fun at the same time. All-star events are not typically the most intense, physical games, but she is looking forward to opportunity to play in Chicago.
“I want to win, but I want to have fun,” Mavunga said. “It’s an honor to just be there. I’m just going to have fun at the end of the day. I’m not going to stress myself out too much about it.”
For the young girl who moved to Brownsburg before third grade, it’s now a different world.
“I didn’t start off as one of the best players, I’ll tell you that,” Mavunga said. “I wasn’t very good, but they had patience with me and really molded me as a player. Since the fourth grade, Brownsburg has molded me into a player, a student, a leader. Just to be able to give back and put them on the map, is something big and something I feel I owe Brownsburg.”