10 Greatest High School Basketball Teams of All Time January 12 2019, 37 Comments
We came up with the 10 best high school basketball teams of all time. The list includes teams as far back as 1952 and as recent as 2016. In addition, the list features several different regions of the United States. What are the teams judged off? Star power, strength of schedule, coaching, points differential and overall chemistry. Enjoy, drop us a comment and let us know who we missed.
Players: Mugsy Bouges (NBA), Reggie Lewis (NBA), Reggie Williams (NBA), David Wingate (NBA), Gary Grahm (UNLV), Tim Dawson (Miami), Keith James (UNLV), Darryl Woods (Virginia Union), Jerry White
Notable Wins: Camden (NJ), DeMatha (MD), John Caroll (MD), Flint Hill (VA), Cardinal Gibbons
Head Coach: Bob Wade
Here comes trouble, no question the Dunbar Poets are number one on the list. Their team was an unstoppable force going a combined 60-0 from 1982 to 1984. Arguably, the greatest collection of high school talent ever assembled on one roster. Subjects of the book Boys of Dunbar, the Poets had three future first round NBA draft picks in Reggie Williams, who was the national player of the year as a senior, point guard Muggsy Bogues and Reggie Lewis, who was actually a reserve player on the 1982 and 1983 team. The statistical calculations of 3 players drafted in the first round on the same high school team is 4,037,639 to 1. The media ranked Calvert Hall number 1 and Dunbar number 3 to begin the season. Camden of New Jersey was sandwiched in between at 2, Calvert Hall beat Camden in Philly by 5. Dunbar beat Camden at Camden by 29. But Calvert Hall and Dunbar were not scheduled to play that year and never did. Baltimore Sun ran an article called "The Greatest Game Never Played”.
Dunbar played many of the top teams in the country and won by an average of 30 points. Included among those games, was a 29-point victory over New Jersey powerhouse Camden. Throughout the season no one really came within single digits of Dunbar. When Dunbar ventured up to Camden, the fans were laughing at 5-foot-3 point guard Muggsy Bogues, but the Poets led by 33 points at halftime and won 84-59 to end a 17-year Camden home winning streak. Wingate had 37 points against Camden, while Muggsy finished with 15. They won both the Lake Clifton Tourney and the Cap City Classic. Virginia’s Flint Hill had the pleasure and misfortune of encountering Dunbar on an “on” night. Flint Hill was rated in the Top 25 nationally. To accommodate the overflow crowd, the dream matchup was held at Morgan State College. 5 Flint Hill players later went on to D1 programs, it didn’t matter as Flint Hill got embarrassed in front of all those fans. They also beat famed powerhouse DeMatha of Maryland (67-55). Following the Dematha game they blew out John Caroll high school. While they finished the season ranked #2 behind Calvert Hall, most real experts agreed the Dunbar squad was the best team in 1982. The 1982-1983 season following David Wingate’s and Gary Grahm’s graduation, saw Dunbar named national champions after another undefeated season (31-0).
The teams floor general 5-3 Mugsy Bouges was one of the most unique basketball players to ever take the court. His stifling full court defense and constant ball pressure gave opposing players nightmares. Bouges was a confident leader on the court, running the offense like a symphony. The 5-3 lead guard would go on to be the shortest player ever selected in the first round of the NBA draft.
Reggie Williams was the squads top prospect, the 6-7 forward was a future NBA lottery pick. Dunbar coach Bob Wade said, “Williams is like E.F. Hutton, when he speaks, the other guys listen.” Williams averaged 24.3 ppg and 12 rpg as a junior. He also shot over 90% from the free throw line. Famed scout Howie Garfinkel called Williams, “the kind of athletes candy bars are named after”. Reggie Williams had the perfect mixture of athleticism and touch. The future Georgetown Hoya was the primary scorer on the team and he was incredible while slashing to the hoop. Williams also had a lethal mid-range jump shot. During his senior season, USA Today voted Reggie the National High School Player of the Year.
The pair of senior stars at guard, Georgetown bound All-American David Wingate and UNLV commit Gary Grahm supplied leadership to the Poet team. Wingate won a national championship in college and went on to a multi year NBA career. He was known for his pressure defense and his explosive offensive game. Grahm was a shooting threat who also supplied pressure defense.
Junior Reggie Lewis was the best kept secret on Dunbar, the future NBA All-Star lacked the hype of some of his teammates. But Lewis was an electric scorer off the bench for the Poets, providing several timely baskets. The teams bench may have been the greatest of all time. 6-6 junior Tim Dawson started a handful of games and helped the Poets inside with his great leaping ability. Future Clemson commit, Mike Brown also came off the bench as a 6-4 guard. 5-7 Virginia Union commit Darryl Woods also came off the bench. The future UNLV guard Keith James came off the bench with Lewis, Dawson, Brown and 5-7 Woods.
Coach Wade was a strict disciplinarian, who ran practices like a boot camp. He knew that his team was going to need a whole new set of standards to live by, other than what they had been exposed to in life. Coach Wade had a special corporal punishment regiment he would impose on the players for infractions, ranging from cutting class, to missing the open wing man on the fast break. The "ghetto dun-bells" were bricks wrapped in tape and Poet practice jerseys for padding. Upon rule violation, players could be seen and heard doing jumping jacks and cross-country runs, with their bricks in hand. Wade felt the "ghetto dun-bells" gave his players stronger legs and wrists than their opponents. Above all, he believed in defense and pressure. He tried to instill in his players the same discipline he learned from Vince Lombardi as a defensive halfback for the Washington Redskins in 1969. Those selfless messages got repeated over and over at practice. Wingate insists Dunbar practices were harder than games. They were definitely longer. Practice started at 4 and went until the team got things right. “Sometimes we’d practice till 10:30, 11 at night,”
A mind blowing collection of talent when you take into account all 12 players grew up within 7 miles of one another. A far cry from the prep teams and loaded private school teams of the present. There have been several documentaries made about this team, including Baltimore's Boys from ESPN. A public school team will never again match the pure talent of the 82 Poets.
Players: Jerry Stackhouse (NBA), Jeff McGinnis (NBA), Mark Blount (NBA), Makhtar NDiaye (NBA), Alex Sanders (Louisville), Curtis Staples (Virginia), Jermaine Smith (UNLV), Mike Brittan (Memphis), Tavares Johnson (Xavier)
Notable Wins: Rice (NY), Charlotte Christian (NC), Artesia (CA), Crenshaw (CA)
Head Coach: Steve Smith
36-0 on their way to USA Today National Champions, they blew out opponents by an average of 32 points. Oak Hill’s best and deepest team of all time. This might have been the team that started the upward trend toward loaded prep school basketball. The 1993 team held the distinction at playing during a time when loaded prep schools and academies were mostly a thing of the future.
Coach Steve Smith said it best “Our 2004 team was really good but that, 93 team might be the best team we’ve ever had.” “They were all high division 1 players, I really didn't have a problem keeping them happy. “We had probably two players at every position,” Smith said. “The depth we had was more than on any other team we’ve had. We had four Division I players that didn’t start, but they all bought into their role.” Smith is one of the top high school coaches of all time, and has led his teams to more than 5 mythical national championships.
The most hyped team of the decade, they routinely received ink in multiple national newspapers every week. They were only tested twice all season. They obliterated multiple teams, including a 96-8 victory again John Battle High School.
Led by the McDonald’s All-American tandem of Jeff McGinnis and Jerry Stackhouse. Stackhouse was one of the top 3 players in the nation, he recently transferred from Kinston, North Carolina. The swingman went on to a borderline hall-of-fame career in the NBA. As a senior in 1993 Stackhouse averaged 28 points and 12 rebounds. Many thought that Stackhouse was the best guard prospect since Michael Jordan. McGinnis paced the team with 8 assist per game, while chipping in 14 points per game. Both McGinnis and Stackhouse went on to play at North Carolina.
Oak Hill had one of the best front lines in the history of high school basketball. Highlighted by future NBA players Mark Blount and Makhtar NDiaye. Blount was an elite rim protector, routinely intimidating the opposing team. Their role players were top notch, including Alex Sanders, Curtis Staples, Jermaine Smith, Mike Brittan and Tavares Johnson. The bench filled with high divsion-1 players, was one of the greatest second units of all time.
Their interior muscle was overwhelming, as Sanders, N’diaye, and Johnson each tipped the scales at 240+ lbs. At the Holiday Prep Classic in Las Vegas, that beat up teams that included prep legend Felipe Lopez and his Rice HS squad from NYC, as well as many of the best teams from California. That team filled Oak Hill’s little 400-seat Turner Gymnasium with SRO crowds that ballooned closer to 900 many wearing Tar Heel blue whenever Oak Hill played marquee games.
Players: Bobby Hurley (NBA), Terry Dehere (NBA), Rodrick Rhodes (NBA), Jerry Walker (Seton Hall) Danny Hurley (Seton Hall), Sean Rooney (Duquesne), Felix Ortiz (Radford), Woodrow Williams (Buffalo), Lamont Street (Wagner)
Notable Wins: Miami Senior (FL), Flint Hill (VA), Elizabeth (NJ), Artesia (CA), Archbishop Molloy (NY), Tolentine (NY), Cardinal Hayes (NY), Christian Brothers Academy (NJ)
Head Coach: Bob Hurley
There are several unique traits of the 1989 St. Anthony squad. The school has no home gym, they have no scholarships to give out and the enrollment for students was just over 300. Led by Legendary coach Bob Hurley and three future NBA first round draft picks. The 89 team was Hall-of-Fame coach Hurley’s greatest collection of talent. Only 2 of the 32 wins, were not by double digit margins. The Friars' average winning margin of 28 points, and it's easy to see why they were voted national high school basketball champions by USA Today and Street & Smith's.
The 1989 squad featured Bobby Hurley (son of the coach), Terry Dehere and Rodrick Rhodes, each of whom was a first-round NBA draft pick. Hurley was New Jersey's premier guard, and one of the best in the country. Eventually he would excel in college at Duke, leading the Blue Devils to the Final Four 3 times.
Rodrick Rhodes was a bonafide guard nationally and one of the top athletes in his high school class. Rhodes was merely a freshman, but his talent was clear. By the time he was a senior, he was a top-five recruit in the country, and eventually slid into the starting lineup at the University of Kentucky as a true freshman.
Dehere was a key scorer and long range shooter for the Friars. He was good enough as a senior to earn a scholarship to Seton Hall. He finished his collegiate career with almost 2,500 points and a trip to the Final 4.
Jerry Walker, who played for Seton Hall, was an intimidating forward. At 6-7 and 240 pounds, Walker displayed the physical attributes and aggressiveness atypical of high school post players. He was one of the nation's best forwards, and helped the Pirates win two Big East titles.
The center position was manned by Sean Rooney and Felix Ortiz, who were both 6-7. Guards Woodrow Williams, Lamont Street and Darren Savino rounded out the team for the friars. Another important bench player was sophomore Danny Hurley (Bobby’s brother), the future college star helped contribute off the bench with his phenomenal offensive game.
That '89 season saw St. Anthony win three national tournaments and defeat teams from 10 different states. The Friars beat nationally-acclaimed Miami Senior and Flint Hill. They also knocked off state rivals Elizabeth and Christian Brothers. That year, the Friars won their own Skyline Classic tournament, defeating Artesia of California, a team that featured Ed O’Bannon and an Archbishop Molloy team featured a young Kenny Anderson. The Friars also defeated New York powers such as Tolentine and Cardinal Hayes. They also became the first New Jersey team to win the season-ending Tournament of Champions, which matches all the divisional winners in the state. They beat rival Elizabeth in multiple games during the year. The team finished with the legionary number 1 ranking in the nation.
The Miami Senior win (68-55) came on a late run with Bobby Hurley limited by an ankle injury. Against powerhouse Flint Hill Prep (64-45), St. Anthony's blew them out by 20. They sold out practically every gym they played in that season.
"I remember walking around my neighborhood with TV cameras following me around," recalled Walker. "It was such a big story at the time because we didn't have a gym and we were the No. 1 team in the country. I remember being on Regis & Kathie Lee, just getting so much exposure. Dateline, People Magazine. It was crazy. We were like rock stars.” At the end of the season the St. Anthony's win streak reached 50.
4) 2005-2006 Lawrence North (Indianapolis, IN) (29-0)
Players: Mike Conley (NBA), Greg Oden (NBA), Stephen Van Treese (Louisville), Damian Windham (Chicago St.),
Notable Wins: Dunbar (OH), Proviso East (IL), Pike, Franklin Central, North Central, Glenbrook North (IL)
Coach: Jack Keefer
In 2003, Greg Oden and Mike Conley became the first freshmen to start for head coach Jack Keefer and the two have been linked ever since. After back-to-back state titles, 2006 had all the makings of a dream season. They became the first Indiana team to win the mythical national championship since Cripus Attucks in 1955. The season prior the Wildcats finished with a 24-2 record, winning the last 16 games of the season. The Wildcats might have had the best inside/outside duo in high school history.
They made their way through a vaunted national schedule to reach a 31-0 mark. Lawrence North beat up on Dunbar (Ohio) featuring five-star guard Daequan Cook in a nationally televised game. The game was held at Butler University and was a blowout from the tipoff. They played another game on ESPN2, as they took on future pro Eric Gordon and North Central. They embarassed Franklin featuring future NBA big man Juwan Johnson. Another marquee out-of-state match-up against Jon Scheyer and Glenbrook North in Evanston, Ill. The Wildcats went on the road and beat the nationally-ranked Spartans in front of a capacity crowd. By the end of season their winning streak had reached 45 games.
"Oden was the best big man that Indiana's ever had, and Conley's the best point guard Indiana's ever had,” a local writer would comment. Regarded by many as the top high school basketball player in America, many thought Oden was the most dominant big since Shaquille O’Neal. The 7-foot center dominated the post for four seasons and was a runaway IndyStar Mr. Basketball. He helped Ohio State reach the national championship game in his one season there. He was the pied piper in Indy and puts the sold out sign on the ticket office everywhere he goes. As a senior, Oden averaged 22.1 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game while shooting 74 percent from the floor.
Don't forget about Mike Conley. The future NBA All-Star was a blur with the ball in his hands, he remained a consistent force for the Wildcats. As a senior, the point guard averaged 16.5 points and 4.2 assists. Conley and Oden would star together at Ohio State as Freshman, where they led the Buckeyes to the 2007 NCAA tournament title game.
6-5 Damian Windham was a solid contributor from the wing for the Wildcats. Brandon McDonald was a defensive player who locked up opposing teams top offensive players. Future Louisville Cardinal Stephen Van Treese backed up Oden at center.
The Wildcats won three Class 4A championships in a row, going 72-4 along the way. A sellout crowd of 18,345 at Conseco Field house witnessed history as Lawrence North became only the third team to win three consecutive state titles. In the championship game they rolled over Muncie Central 80-56. Greg Oden had 26 points and Mike Conley went for 21.
The team was even the subject of a book Uncaged: The Rise of Greg Oden, Mike Conley, and the National Champion Lawrence North Wildcats by Dave Krider. In the illustrious history of Indiana basketball, no team has been better over a three-year stretch. The facts remain the Wildcats lost just four games in three years, beat opponents by nearly 20 points a game, won three straight state championships and were named national champions for the 2005-06 season.
Players: Jalen Rose (NBA), Vashon Lenard (NBA), Howard Eisley (NBA), Garland Mance (St. Bonaventure), Elton Carter (Penn State)
Notable Wins: Saginaw, Cooley, Pershing
Head Coach: Perry Watson
After title game losses in 7 of the previous 8 seasons, Southwestern finally delivered coach Watson's first championship in the 1990 State Finals. Senior Howard Eisley and junior Voshon Lenard were sensational in their own right, but it was Jalen Rose who starred for the Prospectors. Aside from the big three, they had plenty of division one talent up an down the roster. 8 of the players on the roster went on to play d-1 basketball. Perry Watson’s 1991 squad, which featured seniors Jalen Rose and Voshon Lenard, may have gotten the recognition as the country’s top team. But it was the school’s 1990 squad, that featured Rose, Leonard, and senior Eisley, that laid the groundwork for the national acclaim. The team was as disciplined and hard working as any team ever. They would run around the school, even hallways on rainy days. Words were rarely exchanged if a loss did occur. And you can be assured they would practice that night. Three of the best players in the state of Michigan, and in the country. "That 1990 team would rip your face off before they let you score a basket," said T.C. Cameron, an expert on Michigan high school sports. They also played in Detroit at a time in which the Detroit Public School League, was among the best in the nation.
During his high school years, Jalen Rose led the Prospectors to state titles his junior and senior seasons. Over his 14-year NBA career, he totaled over 13,000 points. In his junior season, the versatile 6-7 Rose averaged 18 points, 6 assists and 8 rebounds. Rose played mostly point guard and forward for the Prospectors. An interesting side note to this team, Chris Webber was anticipated to enroll at Southwestern as a freshman in 1988 (instead enrolling at Detroit Country Day).
Junior guard Voshon Lenard was a long-range shooting specialist who was part of back-to-back state title teams at Southwestern. At 6-5, Lenard had good enough size and athleticism to land a scholarship for Minnesota. He went on to star in the NBA, where he scored over 6,700 points.
Howard Eisley was the senior leader of the Prospectors. The 6-2 guard was a lethal shooter and tough defender. As one of the top players in the state Eisley routinely drilled clutch shots for the Prospectors. He would go on to play in the 1997 and 1998 NBA Finals with the Utah Jazz.
St Bonaventure commit Garland Mance was a role player for Southwestern. The 6-4 forward provided depth for the state champions. Mance went on to a successful college career at St. Bonaventure, averaging double digit points for his career. Elton Carter played on the inside for the Prospectors, before playing in the Big 10 at Penn State.
Their state championship game was both a celebration and triumph. After head coach Watson struggled to win the big one, Southwestern prevailed with a 67-54 victory over Saginaw. The program was controversial because rival coaches accused Watson of recruiting players, a charge the coach has always denied. In the broader view, it hardly mattered. City kids were succeeding. Few could argue that Watson wasn’t a positive influence. This team was so talented that legendary Yankee Derek Jeter claimed to have played this team in high school, after the game he simply decided basketball wasn't his sport.
6) 2013-2014 Montverde Academy (Mont, FL) (27-1)*
Players: DeAngelo Russell (NBA), Ben Simmons (NBA), Justin Bibbs (Virginia Tech), Jayln Patterson (LSU), Jordan Caroline (Nevada), Chris Egi (Harvard), Ifeanyi Umezurike (St. Francis). Ahmaad Rorie (Oregon), Christ Koumadje (Florida St.), Makinde London (Chattanoga), Ifeanyi Umezurike (Saint Francis)
Notable Wins: Norcross (GA), Providence School (FL), Lincoln (NY), Paul VI (VA), Christ the King(NY), Roselle Catholic (NJ), Huntington Prep (WV), Oak Hill
Head Coach: Kevin Boyle
Beginning in the early 90’s several powerhouse prep schools started to gain stream, schools with the ability to recruit talent nationally. This may have been one of the best prep school rosters ever assembled, led by the unstoppable combination of future NBA lottery picks DeAngelo Russell and Ben Simmons. Along with 2 top-3 NBA picks, came a roster loaded with 8 division-one prospects. Legendary coach Kevin Boyle continued his dominance, posting a 27-1 record. All while facing a daunting national schedule.
Ben Simmons helped guide Florida's Montverde Academy to three consecutive National High School Invitational championships. Simmons and Russell became roommates and together led the school to national championships in 2013 and 2014. Russell recalls a young Simmons. "Ben's always been as good as he is," Russell said. "Off the court, you could never guess how old he was. On the court, his game was very mature back then.” The 6-foot-10 Simmons came into the NBA touted as a point-forward. His versatility, passing skills and playmaking instinct were apparent as a teenager. As a junior in 2014, Ben Simmons posted 18.5 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists. The future number 1 overall pick was the star of the 2014 NHSI championship game, scoring 24 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and dishing out five assists in his team's 71-62 victory over Oak Hill Academy.
DeAngelo Russell attended Central High School in Louisville before transferring to Montverde Academy for his sophomore season. In 2014, he helped Montverde win back-to-back High School National Tournament championships. He later played in the McDonald's All-American Game and Jordan Brand Classic. Russell averaged 19.3 points, 4.7 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game as a senior. The guard became the first player in the school’s history to have his jersey and number retired.
Future NCAA tournament star Jordan Caroline mostly played inside for the Eagles. The son of NFL star Simeon Rice had a big senior season averaging 14 points and 7 rebounds. The future Nevada star was one of the more slept on recruits in the 2013 class. He went to Nevada where he would score over 1,700 points and 600 rebounds before entering his senior season.
Senior Justin Bibbs started at guard for the Eagles before going on to play for the University of Virginia Tech. He currently plays in the NBA’s developmental league. Jayln Patterson went on to play at LSU after his prep career. Chris Egi a 6-7 forward went on to play at Harvard. Both Egi and Patterson were key contributors off the bench for the Eagles.
When it comes to strength of schedule, this team ranks first of all time. The Eagles’ championship at Dick’s Nationals capped off a season in which it beat 16 teams that were at some point ranked or included in the final FAB 50. They routed Oak Ridge in a nationally televised ESPN game 93-57. At the Bass Pro tournament they beat Village Christian, Christ the King and White Station. The won the vaunted City of the Palms tournament by defeating Milton, Lincoln, Providence School and Paul VI. Additional signature wins came over Huntington Prep, Roselle Catholic, Wheeler, Norcross and Sagemont. They faced off with Karl Anthony Towns and his St. Jospeh team from New Jersey, before prevailing 79-70.
In a controversial game they took on Curie Metro Chicago featuring five star Cliff Alexander. If it weren't for a loss to Curie at the Spalding Hoophall Classic that was later ruled a forfeit, this team would be higher on this list. In the opening rounds of the National High School Tournament they beat national power Huntington Prep. The Eagles defeated No. 3 Oak Hill Academy 71-62 in the finals of the National High School Tournament to capture their second consecutive mythical national title.
7) 1978-1979 Southwest (Macon,GA) (28-0)
Players: Jeff Malone (NBA), Terry Fair (Georgia), Michael Hunt, Bobby Jones (Western Kentucky), Hook McCarthy, Eric Hightower (GA Southern),
Notable Wins: Oak Hill Academy, Northeast Macon, Bristol (TN), Vanguard (FL), St Johns (DC), Baylor Prep (TN)
Coach: Duck Richardson
Southwest Macon may have been the best kept secret in the history of high school basketball. The engine of the team was head coach Duck Richardson, once described by one of his players as “The Black Hitler”. The Southwest team single handily changed the perception of basketball in the south. They ran the table to win their second straight state title. Every key player from the 1978 state title team was returning in 1979. Southwest set out to be the first team from the south to win a national championship in basketball. Led by 3 of the best players the state has ever produced, Southwest packed arenas across the East Coast and South. They were not overly big, but the Pats were abundantly skilled and stocked with talent.
Future NBA All-Star Jeff Malone was a bonafied scorer that averaged over 20 points per game for over 13 seasons in the NBA. The 6-foot-4 Malone taunted opponents with his silky-smooth jump shot, shooting out to 25 feet. Malone went on to break the all-time scoring record at Mississippi State University, was a lottery pick in the 1983 NBA Draft, and a two-time All-Star. In 13 NBA seasons, he averaged over 19 points per game, shot 51 percent from the field, 81 percent from the free-throw line, and was a certified lock-down defender. Malone had been groomed since his freshman season to be the teams scorer, he did not disappoint leading the team in scoring during the 1979 season.
A 6-8 physical specimen and McDonald’s All-American selection, Terry Fair could run like a deer. On offense he could finish above the rim and alter shots on defense. Fair went on to play at the University of Georgia, where he set several scoring and rebounding records. He led the Bulldogs to the 1983 Final Four. Malone and Fair would become high school All-Americans in ’79.
While Fair and Malone were spectacular, but it was Michael Hunt who was the team’s unquestioned leader. The 6-4 lead guard was an extension of coach duck on the floor. A gritty swingman, Hunt was the coach on the floor and an extension of Duck, and he took extreme pride in his role. Bobby Jones was the 5’10 junior point guard who contributed a nice blend of scoring and distributing. Jones played college ball at Western Kentucky and set the all-time assists and steals record for a number of years until they were broken. Henry “Hook” McCarthy was a 6’3 junior power forward that was an X-factor on the team. Other complementary players included 6’2 guard Clint Whitehead, 6’4 big man Alonzo “Mickey” Patrick, Carl “Ironhead” Tyler, Glenn Harden and Eric Hightower, a top-tier athlete with noticeable jumping ability that helped him land a basketball scholarship at Georgia Southern University.
Don “Duck” Richardson was the harshest disciplinarian in all of high school basketball, often compared to Indiana general Bobby Knight. Duck had no place for egos on his team, and he had neither the time nor the tolerance for self-pity. The stories about Duck seem fictional but the coach went on to win 8 titles in his time at Southwest. Duck was doing things way before other coaches and trainers. He would routinely run full-court passing drills while players wore weighted vest and threw 50-pound weighted balls to each other at full speed to rebounding/box-out drills to three-man weaves to defensive slides. Terry Fair commented “We trained like no other team ever trained. His work ethic…I’ve never seen anything like it. For me, I call him the Black Hitler. Fatigue was not an option. Ask any guy from that era and there say the games were much easier than the practices.” Fair shared a story so cruel and so unusual we had to share it “This man made me get out of the shower and do line drills butt-naked,” says an animated Fair. “Hell yeah, that man crazy.”
At a time when teams didn’t play a national schedule, the Patriots looked to challenge themselves facing several out of state opponents. They slaughtered vaunted Oak Hill Academy by 51 and whipped St. John's, Bristol, Vanguard and Baylor Prep in a burly out-of-state schedule. They won back to back state tournament games 82-45 and 104-57. They beat their rival Northeast Macon, 4 times during the year. Still the last playoff matchup got close. Southwest ended up victorious in a 69-60 contest. The Southwest-Northeast rivalry hit its apex in 1979 as both were legitimate state championship-caliber teams.
They were one of the first high schools to be sponsored by Nike. Coach Richardson was one of the first coaches to work the famous Nike All-American camp that took place in Georgia. Sonny Vaccaro got in contact with Coach Richardson and offered to pay for their warmup clothing and shoes.
There's no questioning Southwest’s greatness, the teams average margin of victory was 29 in the regular season and 27.5 during the state playoffs. The team averaged over 88 points per game in an era without a 3-point line, their defense was stifling. The Patriots were loaded with 13 players who are said to have gone on to play college ball of some sort. When it was all said and done multiple players had success at the next level. They finished with the No. 1 overall ranking in the country capturing the first High School National Championship for a southern school.
Players: Lonzo Ball (NBA), Onyeka Okongwu (NBA), LaMelo Ball (Europe), LeAngelo Ball (UCLA), Eli Scott (LMU), Andre Ball (Pepperdine) Cameron Shelton (NAU),
Notable Wins: Bishop Montgomery, Mater Dei, Montverde Academy (FL), Patrick School (NJ), Foothills Christian, Jefferson (NY), High Point Academy (NC), Bishop Gorman (NV),
Coach: Steve Baik
Led by the trio of the Ball brothers, the team had plenty of other talent on the roster. This team faced a national schedule which showcased their abundance of talent and depth. The team played at a blistering speed offensively, running their full court break. Chino Hills was one of the most exciting high school basketball teams of the 2000s, averaging 98 points per contest and tying the state record with 18 100-point games in 2015-6.
McDonalds All-American and future NBA lottery pick Lonzo Ball was the unquestioned leader of the team. The pass first 6-6 point guard was drawing comparisons to Jason Kidd as early as his sophomore season. His senior season was something to behold, averaging over 25 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds, 5 steals. He provided suffocating full-court defense for all four quarters. The team also includes his brothers LaMelo Ball (freshman) and LiAngelo Ball (junior) who is also committed to UCLA. Junior LiAngelo Ball averaged over 27 points as a junior. The little brother LaMelo had an outstanding freshman season averaging over 16 points and 4 assists.
Chino was led inside by intimidating 6-8 freshman Onyeka Okongwu. The rising recruit led the team with 5 blocks per game. Okongwu's shot-blocking skills were game changing in the final month of the season. He went on to averaged 8 points, 7 rebound and 5 blocks as a freshman. A 5-star recruit of the 2019 class, Okongwu recently committed to play basketball for USC.
6-5 swingman Eli Scott contributed to the Huskies success. Scott helped with a bevy of showtime dunks and inside rebounding. He averaged over 15 points and 8 rebounds as a senior. The LMU signee would go on to average more than 12 points per game during his freshman season in college, a true sign of this teams depth. Sophomore and future Pepperdine commit Andre Ball was barely good enough to touch the floor for Chino only averaging 4 points per game.
The Huskies captured a City of Palms Classic title while notching a signature win over Montverde Academy. The Huskies also beat Jefferson and The Patrick School to win the City of Palms Holiday Tournament. 3 days later the team traveled to another national tournament in the Maxpreps Holiday Classics. There they took down Seattle Prep, Milwaukee King and Redondo Union. They defeated seven preseason ranked FAB 50 teams after New Year’s, including No. 36 Bishop Montgomery 71-67 in one of California’s most anticipated regular-season games in recent memory. They beat Foothills Christian twice featuring 5-star recruit Tj Leaf. In February, they matched up with Nevada's top squad Bishop Gorman who featured 3 of the top bigs in the country. They were no match for Chino’s run and gun style, as the Huskies won 98-81. The California Open division playoff was especially tough in 2016, as Chino faced three top 50 opponents on their way to the state crown. No team from California ever played tougher national competition. In the CIF Southern Section Open Division semifinals they demolished a good Mater Dei team 102-54. Before beating down Sierra Canyon 105-83 and Foothills Christian 82-62. They once again beat Bishop Montgomery in the Southern California final. The state championship game saw them cruise over De La Salle 70-50.
The state championship victory clinched a 35-0 season and assured a mythical national championship. It cemented the school's first state title and erased a bitter defeat in last year's Division I double-overtime championship loss. Considering the Huskies defeated 11 top 50 teams in the country this year, fans wondered if they are the best team in state history. Lonzo Ball had an answer ”We believed before the start of season we had the chance to be the best ever," he said. "Tonight sealed it in our minds.” Said Chino Hills coach Steve Baik, whose team scored at least 100 points 18 times, which tied a state record: "We have to be in the conversation. Our body of work is pretty impressive. Historians will need to take a hard look."
Players: Oscar Robertson (NBA), Albert Maxey (Nebraska), Willie Merriweather (Purdue)
Notable Wins: Rosesevelt Gary, Northeast Macon, Bristol (TN), Milan (Hickory), Lafayette Jefferson
Coach: Ray Crowe
There were a ton of great achievements by this Oscar Robertson led Indiana state champ. "There's a lot of insensitivity still out there," Robertson said. "Because it's a black school, people just don't care. Nobody cares about black issues. And I simply won't stand for that. Not with what we accomplished.’" Oscar was probably the greatest high school and collegiate player to ever live. He led Attucks to 3 State titles in Indian’s vaunted state tournament. Aside from Robertson they had plenty of star power to match up with anyone. In 1954, Attucks lost in the state quarterfinals to eventual state champions Milan, whose story would later be the basis of the classic 1986 movie Hoosiers. In 1955, Attucks finished with a 30-1 record and the first ever state title for an all black starting five. In the 1955-1956 season they won a second straight Indiana state title, becoming the first team in Indiana to secure a perfect season and compiling a state-record 45 straight victories. The Tigers average margin of victory was 28 points in the regular season and 23 points during the tournament. The team played with pace and pressure defense never before seen in America. They were a new type of basketball team, and a very dominant one at that.
At the time, Oscar Robertson was the greatest prep player in the history of basketball. The future NBA hall-of-famer went on to play for the University of Cincinnati where he was twice named the NCAA Player of the Year. Robertson dominated his high school career winning Indiana’s Mr. Basketball as a senior. Following the season he was named MVP of Indiana-Kentucky all-star game. Robertson was an Olympic team co-captain and was an innovator in the NBA by averaging a triple-double over a season. As a junior for Attucks, he averaged 24 points and 12 rebounds. Robertson ended his high school career by scoring 39 points before 15,000 fans at Butler Fieldhouse.
Besides Robertson, the Tigers featured forward Willie Merriweather. As a senior in 1955, he averaged over 18 points per game. He would go on to star at Purdue and play semipro basketball. He was good enough to be elected into the Indiana State Basketball Hall of Fame.
Guard Albert Maxey played basketball at Nebraska after his high school career. He was also elected to the Indiana State basketball Hall of Fame.
Attucks played a in a time where Indiana’s state playoff had no size discrimination, meaning it was a one division open tournament. In the playoffs Attucks defeated New Albany 79–67 in the state semifinals. In the Championship game at Historic Hinkle Fieldhouse, Attucks rolled over Gary Rosesevelt 97-74. Robertson led the way with 30 points as Merriwather contributed 21 points. After their championship game wins, the team was paraded through town in a regular tradition, but they were then taken to a park outside downtown to continue their celebration, unlike other teams. Robertson stated, "[Officials] thought the blacks were going to tear the town up, and they thought the whites wouldn't like it. The Tigers were social pioneers, being the first African-American team to win a state basketball championship during a period in which they had difficulty finding opponents and accommodations. Immediately after winning the championship game, the team, cheerleaders and fans were denied the tradition of riding a firetruck and celebrating by riding around Monument Circle. The omission of the traditional celebration left the team’s players, including Basketball Hall of Fame member, Oscar Robertson, to conclude that they simply “weren’t wanted.” Their success changed things and went well beyond the realm of high school sports.” There is even a distinct piece of Attucks history at the Black History Museum. Spread between tributes to Martin Luther King Jr. and the Tuskegee Airmen is a letterman's jacket from the 1956 undefeated state champs and a medallion from the 1955 trailblazers. There are pictures and trophies, paintings and plaques commemorating everything the Crispus Attucks basketball teams of the 1950s were able to accomplish.
10) 1972-1973 DeMatha Catholic (Hytesville, MD) (30-1)
Players: Adrian Dantley (NBA), Kenny Carr (NBA), Billy Langloh (Virginia), Ron Satterthwaite (William & Mary), Eric Coard (Nebraska), Buzzy O’Connell (Stetson), Vern Allen (Niagara),
Notable Wins: St Johns, Gonzaga, Calvert Hall, Archbishop O’Connell, Carroll
Coach: Morgan Wootten
DeMatha is a basketball institution led by gatekeeper Morgan Wooten. They play in one of the top conferences in America. Their dominance as a program has reached more than 50 seasons. The 1973 team was the best DeMatha ever had. This team had an unbelievable amount of size and discipline. They were headlined by the tandem of 6-6 Adrian Dantley and the 6-7 Kenny Carr, both future NBA lottery picks.
Former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden described Morgan Wootten when he said, "I know of no finer coach at any level – high school, college or pro. I stand in awe of him.” On October 13, 2000, Coach Morgan Wootten was inducted into the Hall of Fame, one of three high school basketball coaches ever so honored. His overall record at the time was 1,210 wins and 183 losses. During his coaching career at DeMatha, he received job offers from North Carolina State, Georgetown, Duke, Wake Forest, and Virginia. Wootten turned down the offers, according to Sports Illustrated, because the Maryland job, was the only college job he wanted. The 1973 DeMatha team was coach Morgan Wooten’s most talented team.
Facing one of the top leagues in America, Dematha faced several out of state schools as well. They won the Alhambra Catholic Invitation Tournament, beating Mater Christi, Power Memorial and Leo High School.
Adrian Dantley was the greatest player in DeMatha history and one of the best ever produced in the Washington area. The athletic forward was a smooth outside shooter, a force on the inside with an explosive first step, and a master of psychology. “Nobody had a work ethic like Adrian Dantley,” Morgan Wootten said. He practiced obsessively, even on Christmas Day, when he would pick up the gym key from Coach Wooten's house. As a freshman in 1969, Wooten received a knock on the door. He was shocked when their stood the 6-4 Dantley, on not just any morning but Christmas morning. As a senior leader in 1973 Dantley averaged over 22 points and 11 rebounds per game. During his career, he led DeMatha to a combined 57-2 record, earning high school All-America honors.
The 6-7 Kenny Carr was an unbelievable power forward for Dematha. As a junior in 1973 Carr dominated the paint, before heading off to NC State. Eventually he was drafted by the Lakers 6th overall in the 1977 NBA draft. Giving the 1973 team, 2 NBA lottery picks.
Billy Langloh was a speedy 6-3 guard that went on to play in the ACC for the University of Virginia. He had a good career at Virginia averaging 11 points per game. As a senior in 1973 Langloh was one of the primary guards for Dematha. Buzzy O’Connell was the primary ball handler for the Stags. O’Connell ran Wootten’s offensive system just to coaches liking.
The team featured guard Ron Satterwaite who played at William & Mary. Eric Coard seldom played until his senior season, he played good enough to earn a scholarship to the University of Nebraska. Vern Allen started at center for the Stags, his role was mostly to rebound and play defense. He was good enough to play at the University of Niagara.
The Stags only had one loss on the year and it came to Baltimore powerhouse Dunbar. ”I will never forget that game," Wootten said several years ago. "We had played St. John's the night before, and we came up to Baltimore the next day and just got outplayed. The place was packed, and Sugar's guys came to play. Skip Wise was unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable.” Wise scored 39 points (22 in one of the most dominating fourth quarters ever) on an array of long jump shots and slashing drives that left the crowd in an absolute frenzy.
Although they didn’t finish the season with the vaunted number one ranking, few doubt they were the best team in the nation. The team was absolutely dripping with talent, under the leadership of Morgan Wooten it was hard to deny their greatness. They played in one of the toughest leagues in America and only lost a game to a standout individual performance.
Honorable Mention: 1957 Middletown (OH), 1959 McClymonds (CA), 1964 Power Memorial (NY), 1974 Verbum Dei (CA), 1977 West Philadelphia (PA), 1977 T.C. Williams (VA), 1978 Dematha High School (MD), 1979 Benjamin Franklin Harlem (NY), 1979 West Memphis (AR), 1988 St. Tolentine Bronx (NY), 1995 St. Augustine (LA), 1995 Lincoln (NY), 1996 Christ The King (NY), 2001 Willowridge (TX), 2002 Westchester (CA), 2003 Blaire Academy (NJ), 2003 St. Vincent St. Mary (OH), 2004 Oak Hill Academy (VA), 2005 South Gwinnett (GA), 2005 Oak Hill Academy (VA), 2005 Niagara Falls (NY), 2007 Norcross (GA), 2009 Findlay Prep (NV), 2017 La Lumiere (IN)