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15 Basketball High School Phenoms Who Never Made It In The NBA (And 5 Who Became Bigger Stars)

There’s been an ongoing debate for years, even many years, on whether or not the “one and accomplished” rule within the NBA must be lifted or if the truth is, basketball gamers ought to spend much more time in school. For each teenage phenom that comes alongside, there are numerous who go into the professionals at a younger age they usually clearly aren’t prepared for the added obligations that include being a professional athlete.

Typically, it is a maturity concern, different occasions, gamers’ expertise are just too uncooked and it is clear they might have used some extra time in school or in a developmental league rounding out their recreation.

For this specific record, we check out these basketball phenoms which are termed “Prep-to-Professional,” which means that no school was deemed needed for this or that specific participant to realize success within the Nationwide Basketball Affiliation.  There is a purpose the NBA stopped letting youngsters straight outta highschool be a part of the league–because most have been disappointing, as this listing will show time and time once more.

Subsequently, in most of those instances, as you shall uncover, school in all probability would have been a good suggestion for the participant in query. For these of us who did attend a college, we all know the unequalled expertise and information that going to school supplies a youngster’s thoughts, and life usually.

It ought to be famous that the tragic tales of the likes of Hank Gathers and Benji Wilson will probably be left off the record, as their circumstances went far past something basketball associated.

The 10 gamers listed right here both went to school and noticed their careers dip, or their professional profession simply by no means lived as much as what they achieved in highschool. Both means, they by no means actually “made it” as a professional. Conversely, the 5 listed as turning into greater stars within the execs someway exceeded the hype that was bestowed on them popping out of highschool.

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20 By no means Made It: Greg Oden

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Greg Oden did in truth spend a yr in school after being overestimated as a future celebrity within the NBA. In reality, Oden was ranked as USA As we speak’s prime highschool participant because the 1982-83 season, which suggests he was ranked larger than the likes of Kevin Garnett and LeBron James. Oden lived as much as his billing in school, main the Ohio State Buckeyes to the Nationwide Championship recreation. He was seen because the surer factor between he and fellow prime prospect Kevin Durant, whom many felt would not final within the NBA resulting from his lanky body. It turned out Oden was the one whose physique could not deal with the NBA, as he was seemingly harm yr after yr. The Path Blazers noticed Oden’s profession dwindle, together with his knees by no means with the ability to maintain up. In the meantime, everyone knows how Kevin Durant fared.

19 By no means Made It: Jackie Butler

George Bridges/MCT/MCT by way of Getty Photographs

This is a Butler that no NBA workforce needed serving them. However earlier than all that, middle/energy ahead Butler was a superb publish participant, twice being Mississippi’s “Mr. Basketball” (2002 and ’03). However then Jackie determined he was too good to go to the College of Tennessee and declared for the NBA Draft. Massive mistake. When Butler was with the 2006-07 San Antonio Spurs, a really telling remark by coach Gregg Popovich revealed the participant’s true nature: “Most of (Butler’s) enjoying time within the preliminary a part of the season goes to be in follow, studying what a piece ethic is day in and day trip and what it takes to play at this degree.”  

These Spurs went on to win the 2007 NBA title, defeating LeBron in his first Finals look. For sure they did it with out Butler, who by no means did study a lot about that work ethic.

18 By no means Made It: Doug Wrenn

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Wrenn was the 1998 Washington (state) highschool participant of the yr enjoying for O’Dea Excessive, a Catholic all-boys faculty in Seattle’s famed “First Hill” district. At O’Dea, Wrenn averaged astronomical per-game-numbers for a whole season; 22 factors, over eight boards and 7 assists. However, Wrenn was a troubled soul, who made emotional–rather than logical–decisions, and spent an uneventful school profession bouncing from UConn to Washington, so his making it to the NBA was by no means actually within the playing cards. Ultimately, Wrenn bumped into authorized troubles, thus ending his bid on the execs.

17 Higher Professional: Dwight Howard

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports activities

Together with his peak, bodily attributes and talent degree, it isn’t arduous to consider that Howard led his highschool, the blandly named Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy to a 31-2 report and the 2004 Georgia state title. Howard opted to forego school and head straight for the draft the place he was the primary general choice by the Orlando Magic. Howard virtually fulfilled the choice by taking the 2008-09 Magic all the best way to the NBA Finals.

In recent times, Howard has dampened his stature as an NBA professional. At one level he may need positioned greater on this record, however he’ll by no means compete with the highest three who turned greater. However earlier than we get to that, listed here are a pair extra losers:

16 By no means Made It: Ndudi Ebi

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This is an ideal instance of a younger hoopster who ought to have attended the school he dedicated to; in Ndudi Ebi’s case, it was the College of Arizona, a robust basketball program. Ebi was properly regarded after main Westbury Christian Academy to 3 Texas state titles, however then the ahead made the essential mistake of considering he was higher than he truly was, and skipped school. He was chosen within the first spherical of the 2003 draft (26th general) by the Timberwolves, however was by no means fitted to the professionals and wound up enjoying abroad for one obscure workforce after the subsequent. It is unlucky Ebi did not make it within the NBA.

15 By no means Made It – Sebastian Telfair

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It is baffling to assume that at one level, Sebastian Telfair shared a Sports activities Illustrated cowl spot with LeBron James and the 2 have been hyped as the 2 gamers set to take over the NBA. Telfair was arguably probably the most well-known basketball participant within the New York Metropolis space within the early 2000s. Initially, he dedicated to Louisville after a stellar run at Abraham Lincoln Excessive Faculty in Brooklyn, however extenuating circumstances prompted him to vary his thoughts and declare for the 2004 draft.

He was chosen 13th general by the Path Blazers and his professional profession proceeded to be a endless shuffle. Telfair performed for 9 NBA groups in 10 years and spent a while abroad as nicely, by no means dwelling as much as the unimaginable hype.

14 By no means Made It – Jack Ryan

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The paradoxically nicknamed “Black Jack” Ryan represents the one “nice white hope” of this listing. Fats probability. Nevertheless, Ryan did have his second within the solar, starring at John Jay Excessive in Brooklyn, the place he averaged 26 factors a recreation as a guard with a lethal shot in the course of the late 1970s.  Buta lack of internal motivation proved to be a distraction, and the closest Ryan  ever got here to the NBA was a tryout he had with the then-New Jersey Nets in 1990. However when the Nets advised Ryan to hone his expertise within the NBA’s former minor league, the CBA, Black Jack gave up his professional enjoying aspirations and gave up on the sport altogether.

13 Higher Professional – Moses Malone

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For many who assume Julius “Dr. J” Erving is all that, understand that Erving by no means gained an NBA title till the 1982-83 Philadelphia 76ers acquired the late nice Moses Malone to exchange the lesser nice but in addition late Darryl “Chocolate Thunder” Dawkins at middle. Coincidentally, Dawkins additionally skipped school, however by no means turned the professional on Malone’s degree. Malone did not want school; his final two years in highschool, his staff did not lose a single recreation, taking back-to-back state titles in Virginia. As an alternative of going to College of Maryland in 1974, Malone joined the NBA’s then rival professional basketball league, the ABA, well-known for its multi-colored balls and gamers with outrageous ’70’s hair types.

Malone was a three-time NBA MVP (1979, 1982 and ’83), and in 1981 took a lackluster Houston Rockets workforce all the best way to the NBA Finals, earlier than Larry Chook and Kevin McHale gained their first title with the Boston Celtics.

12 By no means Made It: Latavious Williams

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Williams was a star with two totally different excessive faculties in Mississippi and Texas and was ranked within the prime 20 prospects of 2009. The middle/energy ahead’s different “declare to fame” is being the primary participant to ever skip school basketball and go on to the minors, the NBA’s Tulsa 66ers, a franchise within the former “NBA D League”, now referred to as the NBA G League. There is no massive tragic story behind Williams’ failures; he seems to haven’t been ok, at the least for any groups to consider in him to signal him and truly play him.

It might be Williams’ lack of want or aggressive hearth, or perhaps he did not get an opportunity, typically it is so simple as that. Williams wound up being a “Summer time League” participant, when actual ballers need to hoop within the winter and spring.

11 By no means Made It: Ousmane Cisse

Whenever you’ve placed on the “basic” uniform of basketball franchises like Lokomotiv Mineralnye Vody and Bnai HaSharon, who wants the Celtics or the Lakers? Yeah, proper. That just about sums up the skilled “profession” of Cisse, who lead Montgomery Catholic Excessive Faculty in Alabama to a state title in 1999. He additionally set a state document for blocked photographs in a game–and he did that within the very first half of his very first recreation! Like most of the gamers on this record, Cisse switched faculties, ending up at St. Jude Catholic Excessive.

Nevertheless it was by no means meant to be within the NBA for Cisse, regardless of being drafted #46 general within the 2001 by the Denver Nuggets, as he could not keep wholesome and bounced round, getting launched by one NBA workforce after one other till heading abroad.

10 By no means Made It: Robert Swift

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No, that is not comic Carrot Prime, that is NBA flame-out Robert Swift, an excellent highschool participant that managed to get Garces Excessive Faculty (Bakersfield, CA) ranked within the USA At this time prime 25 groups through the 2002-03 season. Swift then transferred to the dully named Highland Excessive Faculty the place he needed to win a courtroom battle to be eligible to play. Swift was going to hoop for USC, which in all probability would have been been the smarter choice.

As an alternative he went to the NBA, the place he was a member of the ultimate iteration of the Seattle SuperSonics (2007-08) earlier than they turned the OKC Thunder. Swift has swiftly pale into obscurity, fodder for lists reminiscent of this.

9 Higher Professional: Kevin Garnett

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports activities

Once you’re recognized by simply two letters–as in “KG”–you should be one thing particular.  And few ever performed the sport with such ardour as Kevin Garnett, who reworked the tradition of not one, however two NBA franchises. First with the Timberwolves, the place he by no means fairly had the supporting forged to go all the best way, after which with the Celtics, the place he teamed with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen to deliver the C’s their 17th championship.

Dwight Howard’s choice to forego school was influenced by KG, who went from highschool stardom in Chicago at Farragut Profession Academy on to stardom within the execs.  Such was Garnett’s maturity that he was capable of bypass school and nonetheless exceed expectations. Maybe the singular flaw on KG’s resume is the very fact he “solely” gained one title; however nonetheless, KG is an all-time nice.

eight By no means Made It: Ronnie Fields

It’s so applicable that this entry of Fields as a “By no means Was” immediately follows our earlier “Turned Greater”–Kevin Garnett–because the pair have been truly highschool teammates at Chicago’s Farragut Academy.  Capturing guard Fields turned the primary sophomore excessive schooler to play within the “Better of the Greatest” all-star recreation with the likes of Garnett and future NBA celebrity Allen Iverson, and he justified the choice by turning into the quantity three all-time main scorer in Chicago public league historical past. However then all of it went downhill for Fields, who fractured a bone in his neck earlier than his senior yr playoffs. He was later recruited by Chicago’s DePaul College, however was dominated academically ineligible. Fields subsequently went undrafted by the NBA within the late 1990s, by no means attaining the greatness of his teammate KG.

7 By no means Made It: Leon Smith

Smith’s off-the-court shenanigans are much more fascinating than his fizzled professional hoops profession. Smith dominated at Chicago’s Martin Luther King highschool as energy ahead/middle, and was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs with the 29th general decide within the 1999 NBA Draft, however was instantly traded to the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs have been in all probability a nasty match for Smith, as they have been coached by Don Nelson, an old-school sort who was notably onerous on rookies. From there, it quickly turned clear that not all was proper with Smith and he clearly wasn’t prepared for the rigours and obligations of being knowledgeable athlete.

6 By no means Made It: Damon Bailey

Damon Bailey was LeBron James earlier than LeBron James, within the sense that he was so overvalued as a highschool prospect and he drew tens of hundreds of followers to see him play. When he was simply 14 years previous, legendary Indiana coach Bobby Knight declared that Bailey was higher than any level guard his school group had. After being named Mr. USA Basketball in 1990, Knight recruited Bailey to play for Indiana. He was a superb four-year starter in school, however hardly lived as much as the hype he inbuilt highschool. He went within the second spherical of the 1994 draft to the Pacers, his hometown group. However it turned clear very quickly that Bailey had peaked in highschool. He would ultimately transfer on to play within the CBA earlier than retiring in 2003.

5 Higher Professional: Kobe Bryant

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports activities

Bryant, the son of former NBA participant Joe Bryant, was considered the highest highschool participant in the complete nation in 1996 when popping out of Decrease Merion Excessive Faculty within the Philadelphia suburb of Ardmore. Bryant lead the “Aces” to the Pennsylvania state title in ’96, and in 2010, the varsity named their new gymnasium for the hoops legend. Although Bryant was drafted #13 general by the Charlotte Hornets, in fact, such an obscure franchise was beneath Kobe’s destined greatness, so he promptly engineered a curious commerce to the Los Angeles Lakers (for Vlade Divac?)–and 5 NBA titles later, the remaining is historical past.

However Bryant’s nonetheless not ok to prime this record.

four By no means Made It: Korleone Younger

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What occurs if an highschool basketball star decides to throw a “direct to the NBA Draft” social gathering and nobody decides to point out? That was sort of the case with Suntino Korleone Younger, whose identify appears to derive from the Godfather character Santino ‘Sonny’ Corleone. Younger is one other entry on this listing who was so good he starred at two excessive schools–and he did it in two totally different states; each Wichita East Excessive Faculty (a coed public faculty in Kansas) and Hargrave Army Academy (a personal, all-male boarding faculty in Virginia).

Younger’s ego could not abide going to school, and whereas he did get chosen by the Detroit Pistons with the 40th general decide within the 1998 NBA Draft, his damage susceptible and bench-riding profession quickly went nowhere.

three  By no means Made It: Earl Manigault

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Was Manigault the unique “G.O.A.T”? Maybe, however Earl’s “Goat” deal with might have a number of different origins, together with his surname ending with “-gault”. At Benjamin Franklin Excessive in New York Metropolis, capturing guard Manigault set a document by scoring 57 factors in a single recreation within the late 1950s. Nevertheless, Manigault must be glad he by no means made it to the NBA, as a result of he turned far more well-known being a “by no means made it” versus some obscure participant who rode the bench for a few meaningless NBA seasons.

There was truly an HBO film made about Manigault starring Don Cheadle entitled Rebound: The Legend of Earl ‘The Goat’ Manigault. 

2 By no means Made It: Lenny Cooke

Lenny Cooke was as soon as thought-about a much bigger highschool star than our no. 1 entry. Cooke went up towards his rival in a one-on-one recreation in 2001 and was soundly schooled, and for some inexplicable cause, allowed that one recreation to find out his destiny forevermore.  Cooke did have good occasions, first at Lane Excessive in Brooklyn after which he moved on to La Salle Academy in Manhattan.

As a result of difficult eligibility points, Cooke opted to take heed to brokers as an alternative of going to school, however each staff handed on him within the 2002 draft. The closest the capturing guard ever got here to the NBA was enjoying within the Summer time League for the Boston Celtics. Cooke’s story is proof constructive there’s a very skinny line between attaining athletic greatness and being mired in obscurity. Though, being unnoticed shouldn’t be an issue for our ultimate entrant…

1 Higher Professional: LeBron James

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Right here then, is the person, the participant, LeBron James, who defeated the aforementioned Lenny Cooke and derailed Cooke’s profession whereas elevating his personal stature that led James to being drafted primary by Cleveland in 2003. There’s not a lot to write down about LeBron that hasn’t already been revealed; he is one of many preeminent skills the NBA ever has, or ever will, produce. His unstoppable offensive drives, clutch protection, dominating physicality and sheer will to win are an virtually incomparable mixture; and solely enjoying some nice Spurs and Warriors groups within the NBA Finals through the years has prevented “The King” from proudly owning greater than three crowns at this level in his profession.

Let there be little question; LeBron James is the best participant to transition from highschool (the scholar St. Vincent-St. Mary in Akron, Ohio) on to the NBA.

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