Legends Blog

10 Greatest High School Basketball Teams of All Time January 12 2019, 13 Comments

Best High School Teams Ever

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.

Dunbar Poets 1982
1) 1981-1982 Dunbar (Baltimore, MD) (29-0)
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.
Oak Hill Academy Warriors 1993
2) 1992-1993 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, VA) (36-0)
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.
St Anthonys Friars 1989
3) 1988-1989 St. Anthony (Jersey City, NJ) (32-0)
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.
Lawrence North 2006

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.

Southwestern Prospectors 1990
5) 1989-1990 Southwestern (Detroit, MI) (30-1)*
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.
Montverde Academy Eagles 2014

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.

Southwest Macon 1979

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.
Chino Hills 2016
8) 2015-2016 Chino Hills (Chino, CA) (35-0)
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."
Crispus Attucks Tigers
9) Cripus Attucks 1954-1955 (30-1)
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.
Dematha Stags 1973

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)


Talent Hot Beds of America February 25 2018, 0 Comments

 Talent Hot Beds of America

        The fabric of America is not a spiraling city metropolis, rather it’s small towns. Some of sports biggest icons are natives of small towns. Michael Jordan, Jim Thorpe, Pele, Jerry Rice, Bo Jackson, and Wayne Gretzky all grew up in places with fewer than 60,000 residents. About 25 percent of the United States population resides in cities with under 50,000 people, but nearly half of the players in the NFL are from areas that size. The trend is less significant but continues into the NHL (39 percent), MLB (38 percent), NBA (28 percent) and PGA tour (50%).
         How are small towns able to produce an abundance of talent? It could be the cultural importance placed on sports in the community. It could be a chance to get away from their rural environments. It all got us to wondering, what small towns produce the best pro sports talent? We take a look at our 12 favorite.

The Muck - Pahokee & Belle Glade - Football

The Muck, Florida
         Pahokeee, a small town in southeastern Florida is home to 5,600 residents. The closest town, Belle Glade has a population of 17,000 residents. Together these two communities are known as “The Muck”. They hold a unique tradition that is something out of a comic book. Located on the eastern southern coast of Florida. The cities have a rough reputation and both cities are well below the poverty line. While it may lack state funding and a solid infrastructure, it does posses a legendary football legacy. Two school’s Glades Central and Pahokeee, have sent at least 48 players to NFL over the last four decades. Pahokeee has won five state championships in last 6 years, Glades central has won six since 1971. Each year the Muck Bowl is decided between Glades Central and Pahokeee high. While the game is for bragging rights, it symbolizes much more.
         Many wonder why Pahokeee & Glades could produce the ridiculous number of NFL players it does. Sugar Cane fields spread right up to the levees of Lake Okeechobee, known as the Muck for its dark rich soil and three feet of coffee grounds. Pahokeee holds a unique football tradition each year, they burn the sugar cane harvest, the burn drives the rabbits out of the fields. During the burning, players from the city will come out and try to catch the rabbits. If they catch a certain number of rabbits (45 in one day) they are fast enough to be a position player for the football team. Many think the tradition provides a quick separation of the players and non-players. Anquan Bolding, Janoris Jenkins, Perneell McPhee, Antone Smith, Bill Bently, Rickey Jackson and Andre Water have all chased the rabbits. Adidas made an ad campaign based around the cities rabbit chasing tradition (which can be seen here).
         The Muck has a reputation for producing tough no-nonsense players. NFL hall of fame linebacker Ricky Jackson may have been the first star of “The Muck”. The 4x All-Pro selection attended Pahokee high school before going on to Pittsburgh. As a member of the New Orleans Saints he was a member of the famed “Dome Patrol”.
         Four time pro bowl running back Fred Taylor was born in Pahokee and attended Glades Central. Taylor initially played linebacker, but switched to running back in his junior season. As a senior, he ran for 1,700 yards and 22 touchdowns. Taylor played at the University of Florida before being drafted in the 1st round with the 9th overall pick.
         In an area known for producing receivers, Anquan Boldin may have been the best. The future Hall of Fame wide receiver stared at Pahokee high from 1993 to 1995. Boldin caught for over 14,000 yards in his NFL career and has stared in 2 Superbowl's.
         Superbowl champion Santonio Holmes also attended Glades Central high school. He was a Letterman in football, basketball, and track. In football, he helped lead his team to two state titles and a 12-1 record as a senior. Santonio graduated from Glades Central High School in 2002 before winning a National Championship at Ohio State. During his pro career he produced over 6,000 receiving yards and 36 touchdowns in 9 seasons.
         Recently star cornerback, Janoris Jenkins stared for The Muck. He caught the rabbit in 2006 before being drafted by the Rams in 2012.
         Kelvin Benjamin was originally a basketball player, before he took up football his junior season. Everyone was impressed with Benjamin, at a camp Randy Moss told him he reminded him of himself at the same age. Benjamin played 3 seasons at Florida State before being drafted in the first round.
         Other elite football players that come out of “The Muck” include Alphonso Smith drafted in 2009, Kevin Bouie in 1995, Eric Moore in 2005, Pernell McPhee in 2011, Dwight Bentley in 2012.

Bessemer, Alabama - Sports Talent Capital
Bessemer, Alabama

        A town of only 27,000 residents, located 8 miles west of the Hoover river. The town is still stained of the mining and steel making decline of the early 1900’s. Without Bessemer, the history of college football would change dramatically. The town has the distinction of being home to 2 different Heisman winners, Bo Jackson and Jameis Winston.

         Winston grew up in Bessemer and played his high school football at nearby Hueytown High School. As a high school senior, Winston threw for 2,424 yards and 28 touchdowns. And ran for another 1,065 yards and 15 TDs as a senior. As a redshirt freshman, Winston won the 2013 Heisman Trophy with Florida State. The next season he led his team to the 2014 BCS National Title and a 14-0 record. He went 26-1 as the starting quarterback at Florida State. True to his roots, Winston held a draft night party in Bessemer, rather than attend the NFL Draft in Chicago.
         Before he was the most famous athlete on earth, Bo Jackson called the city home. He attended school in McAadory, where he rushed for 1175 yards as a running back as a high school senior. Jackson hit twenty home runs in 25 games for McAdory's baseball team during his senior season. Bo was also a two-time state champion in the decathlon, in which he built up such a commanding lead that he never had to compete in the 1500 meter race of event. In 1982, Jackson set state school records for indoor high jump (6'9") and triple jump (48’8").
         Beside the two Heisman winners, Bessemer has produced a ton of football talent. DeMeco Ryans attended Jess Lanier High. In his senior season, he had 135 tackles, 11 sacks, two forced fumbles and two interceptions. Ryans eventually played college football for the University of Alabama, and received unanimous All-American honors. He was chosen by the Houston Texans in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft. In Houston, he was named the AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2006, he was also selected to two Pro Bowls.
         Jerome Rhodes was a starting quarterback and honor student at Jess Lanier High in Bessemer. During his senior season, Rhodes threw for more than 1,600 yards and ran for another 850. He was also selected first team All-state in basketball, after he led his team to the 6A title game. He was drafted by the New York Jets in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL Draft. Rhodes was named to All-Pro teams by three publications after the 2006 NFL season. If that’s not enough, rap legend Gucci Man hails from Bessemer.


Middleton, Ohio - Sports Capital
Middleton, Ohio
         A town of 48,000 people, halfway between Dayton and Cincinnati. Bleak and gloomy weather burden the city, that was once famous for it’s steel production. During the 1950’s and 60’s it was one of the best basketball cities in America. Their outdoor court “Sunset Park” was home to some of the most legendary street games of all time, featuring future pros like Oscar Robertson and Jerry Lucas. Hundreds of fans lined the court to watch the area’s greatest high school and college players. Middletown high school had already won five state championships from 1945–55. Residents have taken pride in its plethora of amazing athletes that have been born and raised in the city.
         By the time he was 15, Sunset Park was one of the best summer basketball scenes in the midwest. By then, Jerry Lucas had grown to 6'7" and had the opportunity to scrimmage against college players, improving his game significantly. He led the 1956 Middletown team to an undefeated season and co-national high school champion. The 1956–57 team also went undefeated and won the Ohio state title. By then, Lucas had set several all-time Ohio records for scoring and shooting accuracy. Lucas entered his senior year as the top-rated high school player in the country. When Middletown lost to an undefeated Columbus North team, 63-62, in the 1958 state playoffs, his high school career ended with a 76-1 record. Lucas went on to a standout career, playing 14 NBA seasons before being selected for the Hall of Fame.
         The most notable family of Middleton was the Carters, the eldest brother Butch stared for Middleton High School from 1973-1976. As a senior Butch was Mr. Basketball of Ohio. He went on to play for Indiana University and was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers. He played in the NBA for 6 seasons before going on to coach professionally.
         The youngest of the Carter brothers, was Chris. The two-sport star attended Middleton high from 1980-83. Many thought of him as a superb basketball talent that was destined to follow his brother’s path to the NBA. The little brother was heavily recruited in both football and basketball. He chose to attended Ohio St, where he planned to play both sports. After his freshman season he decided to focus entirely on football. As a junior he was an All-American before declaring for the draft. He played 15 seasons in the NFL and left as one of the greatest wide receivers of all time. Carter was known for his ridiculous hands, racking up over 13,000 receiving yards and 130 touchdowns.
          Todd Bell was a standout football player for Middletown, recruited by Ohio State as a defensive back. In 1981 Todd Bell was drafted by the Chicago Bears, playing for them from 1981 to 1987. He signed a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he played an additional two years before breaking his leg against the Bears in 1989.
           Jalin Marshall attended Middletown high school, where he played wide receiver and quarterback. During his career, he rushed for 4,759 yards and had 54 total touchdowns. Marshall was rated by Scout.com as a five-star recruit and committed to Ohio State University to play college football.
         Baseball standout Kyle Schwarber attended Middletown High School in Middletown, Ohio. During his four years, he hit .408 with 18 home runs and 103 RBIs. Gary Brewer, a professional golfer on the PGA Tour from 1961 to 1972, was the winner of the 1967 Masters Tournament. Brewer retired from the PGA Tour with 11 tournament wins. Produced a various other division 1 college basketball players like Purdue's current star Vincent Edwards. Most recently Luke Kennard came out of the city, he set the Ohio high school basketball scoring record before staring at Duke University for 2 seasons. He’s currently in his rookie season with the Detroit Pistons.

Kinston, North Carolina - Basketball Capital

Kinston, North Carolina
         Just off the coast of the Atlantic, Kinston only has 21,000 residents. At one point they were the tobacco capital of America. Another time they had a bomb threaten the entire existence of their city. Since then gangs, drugs and violence have overwhelmed the community. A town of about 20,000 people produces more high-level basketball talent than major cities. The odds of making it to the NBA are pretty minuscule, only three out of every 10,000 high school players make it to the highest level of basketball. But Kinston’s numbers resonate way differently. Since 1972, 1 out of 53 varsity players play in the NBA. Making it the top producer of talent per capita of any city in the United States.
         Holloway rec. center was a proving ground for the top Kinston players. The center was opened and is still owned by Brandon Ingram’s Father. The skill level was separated by two courts. One court for the adults and one for the kids. Everyones aim was always to play on the adult court, that's how you proved you belong. As a youngster Jerry Stackhouse had intense battles with Mr. Ingram, trying to prove his rank at the center.
         Cedric “Cornbread” Maxwell started off the tradition for Kinston. He was only good enough to make the varsity team as a senior, before earning a division 1 scholarship. Cornbread was drafted in the first round by San Diego in the 1977 draft. He went on to play with Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics winning an NBA championship in 1981. Maxwell has served as a mentor to many in the community.
         Jerry Stackhouse may have claim to the greatest athlete out of Kinston. The 18 year NBA veteran set all scoring records at Kinston before heading off to Oak Hill Academy as a senior. Heres a bonus video of Stack dominating at Kinston in the early 90's. Stackhouse scored over 24,000 points in his NBA career. He has claimed Kinston as his home throughout his career. Stackhouse has also been an adviser for several athletes from Kinston after him.
         Recently Brandon Ingram has continued the tradition after scoring over 2,500 points in high school. He headed off to Duke where he was the ACC freshman of the year, before being drafted 2nd overall in the NBA draft.
         Reggie Bullock also grew upon Kinston. He said there were a number of people who looked out for him as a young ball player growing up in a place he has described as “gangland.” Bullock said gang members helped dissuade him from a life of crime and went as far as to shelter him from danger.
         Tony Dawson is a retired NBA small forward who attended Kinston High School. He’s played with the Sacramento Kings and the Boston Celtics before playing some basketball overseas.
         While the city produces mostly basketball talent they have produced other notable athletes. NFL hall of famer, tight end Dwight Clark was born in Kinston. Kinston was home to NBA veterans Herbert Hill, Charles Shackleford, Mitchell Wiggins and NFL veteran Dwight Coples.
          UNC Coach Roy Williams commented, “You know it is incredible the size of the town but yet you think about those players that have been there and what they’ve accomplished. It’s phenomenal.” Williams also added that “I’m more likely to travel to Kinston to see a player than I would be in New York City”.


Donora - Stan Musial, Griffey Family
Donora, Pennsylvania
         Donora is a decaying town, another in a long line of once-flourishing Rust Belt boroughs along the river in West Pennsylvania. Agriculture, coal-mining, steel-making, wire-making, and other industries were conducted in Donora's early history. Home to the 1948 smog that killed 20 people and sickened another 7,000. Donora has a collection of hall-of-famer's that would even put the bigger cities to shame. Stan Musial, Ken Griffey Junior and Joe Montana. The population as of 2010 was a mere 4,781.The steel mills closed long ago. A broken-down bridge that was Donora’s last business life line was imploded last year. “It’s really depressing, and basically, everybody moves out of this town,” said Dennis Lomax, 64, who grew up in Donora.
         Stan “The Man” Musial was the first superstar to hail from Donora. While growing Musial lived next to a former minor league catcher who taught Musial valuable lessons in baseball. He played one season on the Donora High School baseball team, where one of his teammates was Buddy Griffey, father of MLB player Ken Griffey Sr. and grandfather to Ken Griffey Jr.. One of the greatest hitters in the history of baseball had a lifetime average of .331 over his 22 big league seasons. Musial faced hometown tragedy when the Donora Smog attack killed a brother and a cousin. Although it was a tremendous loss for Musial he continued to support his home town. “The Man” helped put Donora on the map and has never forgotten when he came from, giving the residents of the city a great source of pride.
         Both Ken Griffey Jr. and Ken Griffey Sr. hail from Donora. Senior went to high school right there in Donora before staring for the Reds and Mariners. His contemporaries in Donora did not think he would become a baseball star; they considered his best sport football, where he was a star wide receiver. At times, he would even compete in track meets during baseball games, rushing up the hill between Donora High School's baseball field and track between at-bats when it came time for his track events. Junior didn't play his high school ball in town but went to Archbishop Moeller of Cincinnati. Still Senior thought it was best if his family lived in the same town he grew up in. Both still call Donora home to this day, the town recently gave the town an official Ken Griffey day.
          Joe Montana “Joe Montana was from New Eagle, but he played his high school football for Ringgold at Legion Field here in Donora,” he said. Maybe think the magic of Donora may have rubbed off on Montana.
         While the city hasn't produced a great athlete in a number of years, the community is still heavily rooted in sports. Donora is a decaying town, yet another Western Pennsylvania borough hit by hard times. But it’s also the birthplace of the Griffey's and Stan Musial, and that’s something that keeps its residents going.

Aliquippa - Sports Capital
Aliquippa, Pennsylvania
         Located only 29 miles outside Pittsburgh, this tiny town of 10,000 was able to give starts to 4 future NFL hall-of-famers. In the early 1980's when the steel mills started moving away, people found multiple generations of their families out of work. With no other jobs, most people moved away from the area. This caused the city’s population to drop drastically. Those who stayed found themselves struggling just to feed their families. It has one of the highest violent crimes rates in the nation, regardless of city size.
         The towns original sports hero might be Pete Maravich’s father, Press Maravich. From his early time as a player, Press was a basketball hero in his hometown. After his brief professional career he returned to coach the high school boys team.
         Before the sweater vest and cigar, future hall-of-famer Mike Ditka was a 3 sport star at Aliquippa High School. Under head coach Press Maravich, Ditka started at forward on the basketball team. Ditka went on to be a hall of fame NFL tight end and a Superbowl winning coach with the 1986 Chicago Bears.
         Eight years after Ditka departed, Press Maravich’s son was ready to star for the city. It was Aliquippa, where Pete first honed his basketball wizardry, even throwing an under the legs pass as a 12 year old on the high school’s varsity. Maravich and Press eventually formed the greatest father-son college tandem of all time. Maravich scored a record 44 points a game for his dad at LSU, before staring for 10 seasons in the NBA.
         Running back Tony Dorsett attended Hopewell High School and set the school rushing record with 2,272 yards. While attending Pittsburgh University, he was the Heisman winner in the 1976 season. Dorsett was an all-world running back in the NFL where he accumulated 4 Pro Bowl selections and a first team All-Pro nod in 1981.
         The early 90’s saw Ty Law emerge on the scene for Aliquippa high. Law was MVP of the school’s basketball and football teams. He was a top 50 recruit nationally and chose to attend Michigan before his hall of fame NFL career.
As a senior Sean Gilbert was a Parade Magazine All-America and the USA Today Prep Defensive Player of the Year and the Associated Press named him to its First-team All-state after leading the "Quips" to a 14–1 record and a Western Pennsylvania AAA championship.
         The greatest football player to come out of Aliquippa may be Darrelle Revis. In the State Championship game, he led Aliquippa to a come-from-behind 32–27 win by scoring 5 touchdowns. In his junior and senior years of high school he led Aliquippa to WPIAL basketball championships, leading the team in scoring both years, culminating with a 25.2 PPG average his senior season. He stared at Pittsburgh before his 5x All-Pro career in the NFL.
         Other NFL players that came out of the city include, Carmine DePascal, Anthony Dorsett Jr., Charles Fisher, John Tzel, Josh Lay, Curt Singer, Paul Posluszny, Richard Mann, Bob Liggett, and Willie Walker. These kids don’t have a lot, most have nothing to look forward to but football, so they put all of their pride into that game.

Compton, California - Sports Capital
Compton, California
         Depending on who you ask, Compton is both clouded in gang violence and filled with family ties. Ask those outside LA and they instantly think of gang activity. Natives tell a tale of close-knit community. Similar to other cities, Compton has seen a serious change over the last 50 years. While the namesake provides plenty of cache, the city itself has produced a countless amount of pro stars. A rich history of sport has always ran parallel with the city.
         The city’s biggest stars may be sisters, Serena Williams world No. 1 ranked female tennis player with 23 Grand Slam singles titles and 14 Grand Slam doubles titles. And her sister, Venus Williams – former world No. 1 tennis player with seven Grand Slam titles and four Olympic golds. The sister honed their game in Compton learning the game at an early age from their father. Heres some footage on Venus and Serena on their upbringing in Compton.
         Dennis Johnson was one of the first truly dominant basketball players from Compton. The glamour of NBA stardom was a long way from Johnson's childhood in Compton, Calif. He was the eighth of 16 children, the son of a bricklayer and a social worker. As a 5-9 guard at Dominguez High School, Johnson played only a minute or two each game. After graduation he grew 6 inches and eventually found his way to Pepperdine University, before going on to a hall of fame career with Seattle and Boston.
         In 2000 a kid named Aaron Afflao started attending Centennial High in Compton. Afflao went on to be a two time All-State selection and a top 20 player nationally. After leading UCLA to the Final 4 in his junior season, he declared for the draft. Later prompting Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar to include tails of Afflao, in his hit album Good Kid Mad City.
         Demar Derozan blew up as a 13 year old playing with Master P’s All-Star team, that featured the likes of Brandon Jennings. Jennings who started his freshman year at Compton’s Dominiguez, then transferred to Oak Hill Academy his sophomore season amid cash allegations. Meanwhile Derozan stayed home attending nearby Compton High School for 4 seasons before attending USC. As teenage stars the duo knew just about everyone in Compton, including fellow basketball star James Harden. The Beard attended Artesia High School a far drive away from the inner city of Compton. Although he didn’t attend a Compton basketball factory he did lead his team to two state championships. The cities other NBA players include Cedric Ceballaos, Dwayne Polee, Tyshaun Prince, Patrick Christopher, Josh Childress, Titto Maddox and Jeff Trepagnier.
         All-Pro NFL corner Richard Sherman played for Dominguez high from 2003-2006. As a senior in 2005, he accounted for 1,030 all-purpose yards, including 870 yards on 28 catches and three punt returns for touchdowns. Sherman was even named an All-American track and Field player as a high school senior. Sherman played at Stanford before being drafted in the 5th round by the Seattle Seahawks.
          Compton’s only Heisman winner was USC running back Mike Garrett. Garrett was a star running back during his reign with the Trojans. He went on to star in the NFL for 10 seasons. Notable ESPN personality and NFL pro bowler Marcellus Wiley also hails from Compton. Wiley played for the Bills and Chargers for 11 NFL seasons. James Lofton was a standout linebacker with the Washington Redskins. Lofton helped them to 3 Super Bowl titles after growing up in Compton.
         Eddie Murray was a big time slugger in the major leagues, tacking up over 500 home runs. Murray started his baseball career at Compton High before moving on to college. As a senior the outfielder was one of the most sought after prospects in the country. Murray is far from the only great baseball player Compton has produced.
         Duke Snider Started the tradition, the MLB hall of famed had a great career with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Snider stared at Compton high in the late 1930’s. The city has also produced various other coaches and people close to sports. Ex NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle is a native of Compton.

Pensacola, Florida - The Football Capital
Pensacola, Florida
         The western most city in the Florida Panhandle has a population around 55,000. Known for their dangerous exposure to hurricanes and their title of "The Cradle of Naval Aviation”. Home to a large United States Naval Air Station, the first in the United States. The football king of talent could also be Pensacola. Home to all time greats Emmit Smith and Derrick Brooks, the city gets little credit for its football dominance. A respectable number of basketball and baseball stars also called the city home. The youth program was thought to have some of the best coaches in america.
         The NFL’s all time leading rusher Emmitt Smith, attended Escambia High School where he played high school football and ran track. During Smith's career he rushed for 106 touchdowns and 8,804 yards, which was the second most yardage in the history of American high school football at the time. Emmitt rushed for over 100 yards in 45 of the 49 games he started for Escambia. In track & field, Smith competed as a sprinter and was a member of the 4 × 100 m (42.16 s) relay squad. For his efforts, Smith was the USA Today and Parade magazine high school player of the year for 1986.
         Following Smiths stellar high school career, the city birthed another Football legend in Derrick Brooks. Brooks attended Washington High School in Pensacola where he was a USA Today All-American. During his senior season in 1991, Brooks carried Pensacola to the state playoff semifinals, where they lost to the eventual champion Manatee. Brooks would eventually star in the NFL where he was All-Pro 11 times, he was elected to the hall of fame in 2014.
         Doug Baldwin hails from the city, where he stared at two sports in high school. The wide receiver had a big senior season with 682 yards and 6 touchdowns. Once at the pro level, Baldwin broke out racking up over 5,900 receiving yards and 80 touchdowns in just 7 seasons. Recently running back’s Trent Richardson and Alfred Morris stared for high schools in Pensacola. Both running backs made it big in the NFL, even though Richardson flamed out rather quickly. Richardson was an All-American during his high school career. While Morris was an unheralded recruited, he excelled at the pro level.
         Not known for corner backs, Cortland Finegan also attend Pensacola high. An underrated recruited Finegan proved himself at the highest keel once he got the chance. Several other outstanding football players call the city home including Ladius Green, Josh Sitton, Ahtyba Rubin, Adron Chambers, Fred Robbins.
         Baseball is another speciality of Pensacola, which produced the likes of Addison Russell, Josh Donaldson, Jay Bell, Travis Fryman, Buck Showwalter, Josh Sitton and Don Sutton. The town has even produced a few NBA players, Bob Williams, Tom Sweell, Rich Peek, Clifford Lett and most recently Reggie Evans.
         Infamous boxer Roy Jones Jr. hails from Pensacola. Before he went on to 6 different weight titles, he trained right there in downtown Pensacola.

Norcross, Georgia - Basketball Capital
Norcross, Georgia
         A fast growing city in northern Georgia, in only 5 years Norcross went from 9,000 residents to over 16,000. The recent explosion in population has helped an already robust basketball city take the next step. Norcross has recently started to produce high quality players. Before 2003, no NBA player ever came out of Norcross. Since then Jodie Meeks, Trey Thompkins, Gani Lawal, Jeremy Lamb, Al-Farouq Aminu and Malcolm Brogdon have all made it to the league via Norcross. Putting out NBA players is nearly impossible and Norcross is making it look routine. Outside of prep schools, there are not many talent-rich public high school basketball factories. Norcross High is a public school that continually produces college & NBA level basketball players. Racking up multiple state championships while sending countless players to the college and NBA level. Head Coach Jesse McMillan, has sent over 45 players to division one college since 2002.
         Jodie Meeks started the recent trend of successful players when he started at Norcross High in 2002. His senior season culminated in Meeks averaging 25 points and leading Norcross to it’s first state championship. As a top 50 recruit nationally, he drew numerous college scholarships before choosing Kentucky. As a junior he earned All-American honors and was a first round draft pick in the NBA.
         Al-Fariuq Aminu was a bona fide star as a high school star at Norcorss high. A top 10 recruit nationally, Aminu averaged 23.1 points, 11.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game as a senior. Aminu is currently in his 8th NBA season with career averages of 9 points and 5 rebounds. Norcross went 30-3 during Aminu’s senior season where he paired with future NBA player Gani Lawal.
         Lawal teamed with Aminu to make one of the best front lines in the history of Georgia high school basketball. Lawal was named a McDonalds All-American as a senior before staring at Georgia Tech.
         Before he won the 2009 NCAA championship with the UCONN Huskies Jeremy Lamb was leading Norcross to a regional championship. After his two years at UCONN, Lamb was an NBA lottery pick in 2012.
         Recent NBA sensation Malcolm Brogdon graduated in 2009 before staring at the University of Virginia. As a high school senior he averaged 25.7 points, 12.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.3 steals per game. Brogdon was Rookie of the Year in 2016 after being drafted in the 2nd round by Milwaukee. 
         Various college basketball stars also came out of the city. Trey Thompkins had a cup of tea in the NBA after staring at Georgia. Jordan DeMercy paired with Aminu and Lawal before playing at Florida State for 4 seasons. Chris Allen was a college star at Michigan State. Rayshaun Hammond's like countless other players played at Georgia. Jordan Goldwire is a sophomore at Duke University. Most recently Norcross high’s Lance Thomas committed to Louisville.
         True to its state tradition, the city has produced some great football talent. Before tearing up the NFL, running back Alvin Kamara called Norcross home. The pro bowl running back and Crimson Tide alumni, attended school at Norcross high. Wide recover Brice Butler, Denver Broncos center Max Garcia and Detroit Lions Tackle Jeff Backus all stared at Norcross high in the past 20 years. Recently Georgia's Lorenzo Carter attended Norcross high.

Pinebluff, Arkansas
Pine Bluff, Arkansas
         With a population of about 50,000 people, Pine Bluff has been a hidden gem in the world of sports. With roots in the civil war, early industry help build the cities infrastructure. Once those industries left and jobs were gone, the community took a serious hit. Now the town has major problems with its economy and dying infrastructure. At one time, it was one of the major producers of athletic talent in the country.
         Early football star Don Hutson help put Pine Bluff on the map. As a senior at Pine Bluff High School he was an All-State basketball player, he was famously quoted as saying "I'm like most, I'd rather see football, but I'd rather play basketball.” Hutson only played one year of football at Pine Bluff before he went on to play for the Alabama Crimson Tide. He then signed a contract with the Green Bay Packers where he stayed for 10 seasons. He was an 8 time first team All-Pro at the wide receiver position and won three championship. Hutson was named league MVP twice, leading the league in receiving yards 7 times.
         Joe Berry Caroll was perhaps Pine Bluff’s biggest basketball star. The 7’0 Center stared at North Carolina State in college before becoming at NBA lottery pick. A naturally gifted player, Caroll struggled with substance abuse issues and was never able to fulfill his true potential.
         One of the NBA’s first big point guards was Lafayette Lever, better known as “FAT”. The 6-3 Lever had a long and skinny frame that allowed him to shoot and see over the top of smaller defenders. His best year came in 1987 when he averaged 19 points to go along with 8 assist for the Denver Nuggets. The best part of Lever’s game might have been his rebounding, as he averaged 8 or more rebounds 4 different times in his career.
         The cities most well-known star was Torii Hunter, the former MLB center fielder stared at Pine Bluff High school where he played baseball, football, basketball and track. During his high school career he was named to the US track team. Eventually he was selected out of high school in the 1993 MLB draft by the Minnesota Twins.
         Willie Roaf was a longtime NFL lineman that also grew up in Pine Bluff. Roaf was a star tackle in high school and had numerous division 1 college choices. Roaf might even receive some consideration for the Hall of Fame.
         The mid size city has also produced a countless amount of division 1 football and basketball players. Recently those in the area think that the talent pool has dropped off quite a bit. Mostly due to families moving away from the area. Locals question when that problem will be solved.


East Chicago, Indiana - Sports Capital
East Chicago, Indiana
         Located against the south end of Lake Michigan, East Chicago is cold, tough town in the northern most part of Indiana. Home to 30,000 people, the frigid town has produced great athletes. East Chicago was once powered by a booming steel industry. Near by, Gary is another basketball hot bed that has produced numerous talents. East Chicago's has a rich high school basketball history which includes four basketball state championships, 7 NBA players and more than 100 Division I players.
         Before Kenny Loften was big time in the major leagues, he called East Chicago home. Loften was a huge two sport star in baseball and basketball. The future MLB All-Star broke several school records. He started at point guard for the schools basketball team, while playing center field for the baseball team.
         Greg Popovich grew up in East Chicago before playing in the NBA and coaching 5 championship teams. He spent his summer nights at Glen Park on 39th and Broadway in south Gary, going against the top players in the area. As a junior he started on the varsity team, where he improved each day. Eventually he caught a scholarship and made his way to the NBA. Recently Popovich had his No.21 jersey retired by his high school, prompting him to say, "I don't know why they want to do it now. My scoring average hasn't changed in 40 years." Here is some bonus footage of Popovich talking about growing up in East Chicago.
         NBA player Junior Bridgeman was the 7th overall pick in the 1982 draft. Bridgeman was a star recruit for East Chicago high. NBA journeyman Etwann Moore continued the basketball tradition in East Chicago. The 6-3 scoring guard was a top 50 recruit nationally before attending Purdue University.
         Recently Carolina Panthers Star Kawann Short attended East Chicago high from 2004 to 2007. Short was under recruited but was a two time all Big-Ten selection at Purdue. Besides Short, the town has produced long time NFL veterans Jim Bradley and Ron Smith. They even produced MLB players Larry Fritz and Bob Anderson.


Lamar, South Carolina - Football Capital
Lamar, South Carolina
         Lamar with a tiny population of 989, has produced four NFL football players in the past 25 year. All of them attended the one and only high school in town. Linebacker Levon Kirkland (Class of 1986), defensive end John Abraham (1996), safety Mike Hamlin (2004), linebacker Marshall McFadden (2005) and B.J. Goodson (2011) all came up in Lamar. Known as a town where two school busses were toppled over in a desegregation protest in 1970, Lamar remade its image with football.
         The odds of a town that size producing 5 NFL players in 25 years is off the charts. Jeffrey Forrester, an associated professor of math at Dickenson College in Pennsylvania put the chances at 0.000000000797. Being dealt a royal flush is 20,000 times more likely to happen. Dominic Yeo, an Oxford math student, set the probability at “1 in ten million billion.”
         John Abraham was a star in the NFL, making 5 pro bowl teams as a defensive end. The future first team All-Pro selection played only one season of high school football where he was good enough to earn a scholarship to the University of South Carolina.
         Most recently Lamar native B.J. Goodson made his way to the NFL. The Clemson linebacker was drafted in the 4th round by the New York Giants in 2016. In his 2 seasons with the Giants, he has recorded 62 tackles.
         Levon Kirkland, a former Pittsburgh Steeler and second-round draft pick, is now an assistant coach with the Arizona Cardinals. Before his coaching days he was a 2x All-Pro selection at linebacker. He believes the no-frills life in Lamar has a real effect on the success of the players in the city “there were no movie theaters or fast food restaurants and that led to a blue-collar work ethic. The guys from Lamar are workers.”

Honorable Mention

Mount Vernon, NY. Tyler, TX. Gavelston, TX. Tuston, CA. Martins Ferry, OH. Gastonia, NC. Marietta, GA. Griffin, GA. Stone Mountian, GA. Bernice, LA. Lufkin, TX. Gastonia, NC. Glen Ridge, NJ.