[Karen Naess for Shaw Media]
Those humble beginnings crafted one of the most accomplished male athletes in Geneva Community High School history.
McDonald, a four-time IHSA state qualifier in golf, also dominated on the basketball court. The Augustana recruit averaged 17.5 points per game and nearly six assists for the 32-win and sectional champion Vikings in his senior year.
McDonald and the Vikings won their first 15 games, and only lost twice all season.
This team eventually passed the 2016 group for most wins in program history. As a junior a year ago, McDonald became the program’s all-time assist leader.
With his unmatched competitiveness and success across two varsity sports, McDonald has been selected as the 2018-19 Kane County Chronicle Male Athlete of the Year.
Minutes after McDonald had been crowned the Wheeling Hardwood Classic tournament MVP, Geneva coach Scott Hennig had embraced his senior guard at midcourt.
"We've had a lot of great players come through here," Hennig said on Dec. 30. "The Nate Navigatos, the Pace Temples. Jack's right up there with them.
"He's been the face of the program for at least two years," Hennig continued. "I just told him: 'I'm going to be sad he's going to be leaving in a couple months.'"
McDonald’s play on the court says all it needs to, but it’s the small showings of leadership off the court that helped mold McDonald into the all-comprehensive athlete that he is.
As a sophomore in 2016, McDonald got to play up on the varsity basketball team.
“They were very, very welcoming to him. He was so excited after [the games],” Kathy McDonald said. “They would go out to eat with the team...as he got older and he was a senior, he made sure to do the same thing.”
“They ended up losing in a regional final,” Bill McDonald said. “Jack was just heartbroken. I just know, this year, he was determined to push [his team] as far as he could.”