Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Top High School players I've seen...

15. James Florence – Point guard that has gone on to dominate the Atlantic Sun while at Mercer. He was clearly a scorer and leader while at Wheeler but major schools backed off him due to his height. Always seemed to hit the big shot in big games and the team seemed in control when he was handling the rock.

14. Jodie Meeks – Jodie was a very talented player when I first saw him at Roswell HS as a freshman. He turned into a lights-out shooter later during his time at Norcross HS. He was the leading scorer on Norcross’s 1st of 3 state titles from 2006-2008.

13. Javaris Crittenton
– Javaris won a state title as a sophomore in 2004, teaming up with Dwight Howard at SACA. He later won another on his own in 2006 by carving up a talented Whitefield Academy squad. Explosive guard that was Mr. Georgia in 2006.

12. Ezra Williams – I first saw Ezra when he was in 10th grade and had never heard of him. I thought my Campbell Spartans were finally going to get some revenge on Marietta after Dion Glover, Travis Zachary, and LaBrone Mitchell had left. Not so much – Ezra went for 46 in Campbell ’s gym as a sophomore and capped his career with a state championship in 1999.

11. Toney Douglas
– Toney played on back-to-back final four teams at Jonesboro High School. He teamed with 2 future NFL players, his brother Harry, and Darrell Robertson to make those state playoff runs. Great scorer and defender that was just as good at Florida State.

10. Morris Almond – Morris teamed with Josh Smith to form a very good team at McEachern in 2002-2003. He led Cobb County in scoring and rebounding as a junior and was a top scorer in Division I while at Rice before becoming a 1st round pick in the NBA.

9. JJ Hickson – Hickson was a guy that had NBA post moves while in high school. Seeing him go up against Gani Lawal was quite a treat. While Hickson didn’t totally outplay Lawal, you could see how much more advanced his game was.

8. DA Layne – I had the privilege to see DA play at the highest level at Wheeler, as well as play with DA in middle school. Excellent high school player that went on to shine at UGA and to this day still plays in South America.

7. Josh Smith – Josh was the most freakish high school athlete I have seen, and it has translated to the NBA. He improved dramatically his junior year at McEachern, going from a dreadful game in November vs Wheeler to a highlight filled performance (40+ points, 10+ blocks) against Campbell in January.

6. Vincent Banks – Another Mr. Georgia in 2003, Vincent had some academic issues that kept him from shining in college. He sat out a few years and recently decided to give hoops another try and averaged 15 ppg this past season at Garden City Community College in Kansas, where Darrin Hancock has several school records.

5. Dwight Howard – I first saw Dwight as a 6’5 sophomore shooting guard. By his junior year, he was 6’8 and you could see he was becoming a huge inside force. By the time he was facing off against Randolph Morris at Georgia Tech on ESPN, he was the consensus top HS player in the country. Dwight was Mr. Georgia the same year he was the #1 overall pick, 2004.

4. Darrin Hancock – I was pretty young when I saw Darrin, but man was he athletic. Darrin was 1988 Mr. Georgia from Griffin HS and could literally grab a rebound, take 4 steps and dunk on the other end. He never developed into an NBA player, but was a starter on the 1993 Kansas Final Four team for Roy Williams after a stint in Juco.

3. Shareef Abdur-Rahim – Shareef did it all at Wheeler. He was the 1st guy I saw that was that tall and could play facing the basket so well. The 2-time Mr. Georgia was certainly deserving.

2. Louis Williams – I saw Louis about 10 times in high school from his 9th-12th grade years. The most impressive game I saw was against North Gwinnett where he went for 25+ in the 2nd half to lead South Gwinnett to a comeback win. Louis was the 2005 Mr. Georgia winner.

1. Kwame Brown – Kwame was unreal when I saw him in Macon against Berkmar, the eventual AAAAA state champion. In the 4th quarter, he was running point guard against a team with 5+ future college players. He finished the game with 40 points, 20 rebounds, and 8 blocks. Very impressive and winner of Mr. Georgia in 2001 right before he became the 1st prep player to be selected #1 overall in the NBA Draft.


William Satterwhite said...

The sad thing about this list is, out of the 10 guys (if I counted right) who became productive college players, only 3 of them ended up at either Tech or UGA and one just for a single season. The two big state schools could be much better than they've historically been if they could keep more of the state's top players here (especially, as much as I hate to say it, UGA).

Jeff said...

Sad thing indeed, William. Ezra and DA had good UGA careers and Louis Williams was signed, but that is it for UGA. Crittenton was good at GT his one year and Gani barely missed the list...

William said...

Speaking of Tech one-and-dones, did you not see Favors any in high school or did he just not make the cut?

Jeff said...

Since I started coaching high school basketball, I haven't gotten out to see the top guys like I used to. I was at a Christmas tournament at Morehouse when Favors was a sophomore and he was playing Demarcus Cousins HS that night, but couldn't stay.

Since I started coaching, the top players we have faced have been Noel Johnson and Brandon Boykin at Fayette County HS.

Players that just missed the cut were Patrick Ewing Jr, Mario West, Howard Thompkins, Gani Lawal, Al-Farouq Aminu, Sharaud Curry, Josh Powell, and JT Tiller.