No rest for the weary when it's All-Star time


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Editor's Note: This is the first in an occasional series of stories that will be written by St. Croix native Rakeem Christmas, a 17-year-old basketball player who is considered to be the nation's No. 2 high school center and No. 19 overall recruit in the ESPNU 100. He will play basketball next year at Syracuse University.

Hey everyone. I know it's been a while since I wrote. Life has been a little busy on my end. I really thought that I would be chilling this semester, but I feel like there is even more work for me to complete.

Classes this last term are pretty rough. My chemistry and human anatomy classes are interesting, but it's a lot of work to remember and understand. Guess I won't be a doctor. LOL.

Between school and getting ready for the All-American games, I've been pretty tired. I've been getting all the email and messages on Twitter so I really do want to say thank you. If I didn't get a chance to respond directly to you I will try my best to.

For the last week I've been in Chicago. I hope everyone tuned in to the McDonald's All-American game. This week was a blast. I had a lot of fun and got a chance to hang out with friends that I haven't seen since playing with them on the summer circuit. It's been such a great experience - except for the cold!

We were staying at the Westin downtown, which is right by Lake Michigan, and it was freezing. My Aunt told me to travel with a jacket but I didn't. Sucks trying to be cool.

We did so much while in Chicago with the McDonald's people. They hooked us up with a lot of products from Reebok, who sponsored the event. I also had a chance to play in front of a lot of NBA scouts. I was pretty nervous my first day, but as time went on I started to get better.

There's so much that I have to do to work on my game. I can't wait until this summer to get up to Syracuse.

We had all you can eat McDonald's, which was pretty cool, and we went to the charity house to meet the kids that were staying at the house. I really don't know just how many families are in need of assistance when their kids are sick. It was a good experience for me because I really like kids. They're easy to talk to. And everything we did, all they were doing was smiling. It's really good to give back. I enjoyed doing that.

For game night, I couldn't believe that the Chicago Bulls' arena was sold out just for us. That was a lot of people who came and showed support for high school players. You would have thought it was a real NBA team. We got so much love from the crowd and a lot of people from Academy of the New Church came to support me.

Not many people get a chance to live my life and this week made me understand just how lucky I am for everything that comes my way. Next week I will be in Portland, Ore., for the Nike Hoop Summit. I play with Team USA against the World Team. This should be lots of fun. I hope you watch on Fox Sports Network, on Saturday.

- Contact Rakeem Christmas by e-mail at rakeemchristmas@gmail.com and follow him via Twitter at twitter@rakeemchristmas.

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