CYPRESS — For Cypress Creek High School seniors Rori Harmon and Kyndall Hunter, sharing one of high school basketball’s top honors was only fitting as the two work toward leading the Cougars through another postseason march.
Harmon and Hunter were both among the 48 seniors (24 girls and 24 boys) from across the country selected for the 2021 McDonald’s All American Game rosters. The prestigious all-star game won’t be held this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If I could think of anyone who’s more deserving, it’s Rori,” Hunter said. “We’ve both been working for this.”
Said Harmon: “Knowing that two people from the same high school were named is just great. It helps us and it pushes us. We’re both proud of each other.”
Mainstays on the Cypress Creek varsity team since their freshman years, both Harmon and Hunter have accomplished resumes individually and with the Cougars. They have led the basketball team to three regional tournament appearances, two state tournament berths and one Class 6A state runner-up finish. Cypress Creek finished the 2020-2021 regular season undefeated for the second consecutive year and atop both the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches (TABC) and Texas Girls Coaches Association (TGCA) 6A rankings.
Harmon, a 5-foot-6 guard, is ranked sixth nationally for the Class of 2021 according to All Star Girls Report and 10th by espnW HoopGurlz. She’s a three-time all-state pick by the TABC and was the District 17-6A Most Valuable Player in 2020 and Defensive Player of the Year in 2019.
Hunter, a 5-foot-8 guard, is ranked 18th nationally according to All Star Girls Report and 19th by Blue Star Basketball. She was named the 2019-2020 All-Greater Houston Player of the Year by the Houston Chronicle in addition to earning TABC all-state honors. Hunter is a two-time 17-6A Offensive Player of the Year and 17-6A’s top newcomer in 2018.
“Since I saw them in junior high and knowing what kind of players that they could be, it’s really the work that they’ve put in to become the players they are now,” Cypress Creek Head Coach Jennifer Alexander said. “It’s about the highest honor you can get in high school basketball, so to have both is just really special. It’s a special moment for our program, for them and for their families.”
Both signed with the University of Texas in November, helping give the Longhorns the fourth-ranked recruiting class in the nation.
The duo join numerous former CFISD standouts named to the game and are the district’s fifth and sixth McDonald’s All Americans since 2016.
“It pushes me to be a better basketball player and just a better person as well,” Harmon said. “Looking up at all those players who were named before us, we wanted to be in this spot. To know we’re here today is amazing.”
Cypress Woods High School had its own All-American teammates, though three years apart. Cate Reese (2018 honoree) played alongside Nancy Mulkey (2016) for two seasons at Cypress Woods and helped lead the Wildcats to a Class 6A state championship in 2015.
Former Cypress Ranch High School standout DiDi Richards was an All-American in 2017, while former Cypress Lakes High School star De’Aaron Fox joined Mulkey as a 2016 honoree. Other former McDonald’s All-Americans include sisters Nneka (2008) and Chiney Ogwumike (2010) of Cy-Fair High School and Nina Norman (2002) of Jersey Village High School.
“Growing up, I was watching them and going to their games,” Hunter said of her predecessors. “They were creating the path for basketball and for girls’ basketball in Cy-Fair. So to know that now girls will be looking up to us and seeing what we’ve done to open doors for them is amazing to be part of.”
Despite the game being canceled due to COVID-19, a virtual celebration is being planned to honor the student-athletes and their accomplishments on the court.