'It's really a dream come true': Prior Lake star Dawson Garcia a McDonald's All-American

Prior Lake basketball star Dawson Garcia committed to Marquette last fall over Minnesota, Indiana and Memphis.

Dawson Garcia was sitting in class on a recent day at Prior Lake High School, looking at his phone when he got a notification that made him stop in his tracks.

The 6-10 senior, one of the top centers and basketball players in the country, had already announced he will play basketball at Marquette next season. Garcia couldn’t help but look at his phone, as the rosters had been released for the McDonald’s All-American Game.

The All-Star Game, held in April, features the top high school seniors in the country. A majority of them will be playing for Division I schools next fall. It didn’t take long for Garcia to find his name on the list.

“It’s really a dream come true. When I was younger just watching the game and just to be named a McDonald’s All-American is really a dream come true,” Garcia said Thursday as he was honored at a McDonald’s in Prior Lake for being selected. “It was great. I had to look at the screen a couple of times to make sure my name was on there. I was just shocked to be honest. A blessing come true.”

He won’t be the only player representing Minnesota. Minnehaha Academy guard Jalen Suggs, the No. 6 overall player in the country for 2020, was selected. On the girls’ side, No. 1 overall recruit and Hopkins guard Paige Bueckers was also named. It’s the first time Minnesota has ever had three players chosen in one year.

Garcia was joined by his varsity teammates, and pretty much the entire Prior Lake basketball community in celebration on Wednesday.

“It’s incredible. How often does a kid ever get to be a McDonald’s All-American? This is amazing for Dawson, the hard work he’s put in. His just effort, dedication, it’s incredible,” said Prior Lake basketball coach Jon Miller. “A great honor for him, great honor for our school. Really a great thing for everybody here.”

It’s the third straight year Minnesota has had at least one McDonald’s All-American. Last year, it was Matthew Hurt of Rochester John Marshall. Two years ago, it was Apple Valley’s Tre Jones. In 2014, there were a pair in Apple Valley’s Tyus Jones and Reid Travis of DeLaSalle.

Garcia is doing everything he can to lead the Lakers in one of the toughest conferences in high school basketball this season. The all-everything star is averaging 32 points per game and chose Marquette among a final three of the Gophers and Indiana. Prior Lake is 10-7 and faces No. 3-ranked Shakopee Friday night.

One of Garcia’s biggest motivators in his final season of high school basketball is reaching the state tournament. It’s a tall task with a section that includes No. 1-ranked Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Chanhassen and many of the top teams in the state. He had a short speech Wednesday in appreciation of making the McDonald’s All-American Game, ending it by saying, “Let’s go get that State Tournament.”

Prior Lake hasn’t been to the state tournament in basketball in more than 40 years.

It would mean everything, that’s a big reason why I stayed this fourth year. I just want to give the community something to cheer for like that.

As for the McDonald’s All-American Game, Garcia said he just wants to have fun with the experience and compete. Miller wants him to soak in every moment of his senior season. It’ll be over before he knows it.

“Just enjoy it. Enjoy it, you’ve earned it. You deserve this, you’ve put the time in. Anybody who plays at this top level, it’s something that he really deserves and he’s earned this,” Miller said. “Have fun, I’ve told him his whole high school season, just enjoy it.”