|Lew Alcindor: Class of 1965|
(9) KEVIN GARNETT / 6'11'' 240 / Farragut / Chicago, IL / Class of 95
Garnett only played one season at Farragut after moving from Mauldin, S.C., to the Chicago school for his senior season. Garnett quickly caught the attention of not only college scouts, but NBA scouts as well. After having problems achieving a qualifying score to enter college, Garnett triggered a new wave of high school players forgoing college and jumping straight to the NBA. His first workout for NBA scouts was impressive enough for Detroit Piston coach Doug Collins to label Garnett “…a genetic freak. All the great ones are.” After averaging 26 points, 18 rebounds and six blocked shots his senior season, Garnett became the fifth overall pick in the 1995 draft, going to the Minnesota Timberwolves. A 12-time NBA all-star, Garnett was named the league’s MVP in 2004 and the Defensive Player of the Year in 2008 after leading the Boston Celtics to the NBA championship.
(8) JASON KIDD / 6'4'' 210 / St Joseph's / Alameda, CA / Class of 92
(7) TOM McMILLEN / 6'11'' 215 / Mansfield / Elmira, NY / Class of 70
(6) GREG ODEN / 7'0'' 280 / Lawrence North / Indianapolis, IN / Class of 06
Oden reaped all of the major national awards during his final two seasons at Lawrence North, gaining him national attention and making him the focus of every college recruiter in the country. Oden was a two-time Parade and Gatorade National Player of the Year and he also led his team to three straight Indiana state championships. Regarded in Sports Illustrated in 2004 as “The Next One”, Oden was a hot recruit as early as his freshman year and was considered a potential No. 1 pick in the NBA draft as a junior in high school. Oden played one season at Ohio State in 2006, leading the Buckeyes to the National Championship game, but ultimately coming up short to the Florida Gators. Unfortunately for Blazer fans, Oden has had an injury-plagued NBA career since being chosen with the No. 1 pick by Portland in the 2007 draft.
(5) PATRICK EWING / 7'0'' 240 / Rindge & Latin / Cambridge, MA / Class of 81
(4) OSCAR ROBERTSON / 6'5'' 205 / Crispus Attucks / Indianapolis, IN / Class of 56
Robertson and Crispus Attucks were the biggest attraction in Indiana in the mid-1950s. An all-black school during the segregation era, Attucks was 62-1 during Robertson’s final two seasons. During his junior year, Robertson and his team played a regular season game at Butler Fieldhouse that drew 11,255, topping by 3,000 the previous largest crowd to see a high school game. Robertson led the team to two straight state titles, making Crispus Attucks the first all-black school to win a state championship. As a junior, Robertson was proclaimed to be “the greatest player in Indianapolis history” by one publication. Robertson went on to lead the NCAA in scoring three straight seasons at Cincinnati before being drafted #1 overall in 1960 by the Cincinnati Royals. Robertson had a Hall-of-Fame NBA career, winning a championship in 1971 with the Milwaukee Bucks and being selected as an all-pro eleven times .
(3) LeBRON JAMES / 6'8'' 250 / St. Vincent-St. Mary / Akron, OH / Class of 03
James was one of the first major high school talents to gain national media attention via cable television. Because James was such an electrifying force during high school, media giant ESPN began broadcasting James’ games his senior year as St. Vincent-St. Mary went on the road to play some of the top teams in the country and eventually finish the season as the nation’s No. 1 ranked team. James was also a Sports Illustrated coverboy (listed as “The Chosen One”) as a junior in 2002 when he was named as the possible “next Michael Jordan.” One NBA Scout even labeled James as the “best high school player I’ve ever seen. He is a freak.” And that was after James’ sophomore season. James was the first pick in the NBA draft in 2003, and went on to capture Rookie of the Year. James has a number of honors and achievements in his short career thus far. LeBron has been a two-time NBA MVP and a two-time All-Star MVP in his seven seasons in the league.
(2) WILT CHAMBERLAIN / 7'1'' 275 / Overbrook / Philadelphia, PA / Class of 55
(1) LEW ALCINDOR / 7'2'' 235 / Power Memorial / New York, NY / Class of 65
Alcindor first caught the public eye as a member of Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd” section as a 16-year-old high school junior at Power Memorial in New York. The brief paragraph mentioned that Alcindor averaged 26 points a game and was named to the Scholastic Coach All-American team for the second year in a row. In January of his senior season, Time Magazine devoted a story to the nation’s top recruit. Alcindor was regarded as the next Wilt Chamberlain by many publications, but Time’s article included a quote from Chamberlain who called Alcindor “the greatest high school player I’ve ever seen.” Over 60 colleges made offers to Alcindor, who later became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. With UCLA winning the battle for his services, Abdul-Jabbar went on to win three NCAA titles and became one of the most dominating forces college basketball has ever seen. Abdul-Jabbar was selected #1 overall in the 1969 NBA draft, won six NBA championships and finished his career as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.