When talking about the ten best high school basketball players of all time, there are a lot of things that needed to be taken into consideration. There have been many players who were dominant in high school but turned out to be a bust when they went pro. So this list will only comprise of players that were great at the high school level and then went straight on to play in the NBA.
The top 10 high school players of all time include many well-known players who went on to dominate in the NBA as well. So we hope you enjoy reading the rest of the article while also gathering some valuable information.
Jason Kidd, St. Joseph Notre Dame
To this day, Jason Kidd is California’s all-time assist leader. Listed at 6’3, it was a joy to see Kidd handle the ball. His vision, basketball IQ and unselfishness directly translated to the team success. Kidd won back-to-back state titles in ’91 and ’92 at St. Joseph Notre Dame.
Kidd was also named California’s Player of the Year twice during his high school days, as well as the Naismith Player of the Year, which made him the top player in the country during that time. Kidd still holds the record for the nation’s all-time high school leader in steals and also ranks No. 5 overall in assists.
Bill Walton, Helix High
The games Bill Walton has had in his high school season was something to behold. As a centre, Walton was a great shooter from inside the paint and an even better rebounder. While shooting an unbelievable 78 per cent from the floor as a senior, Walton finished with averaging 29 points and 25 rebounds a game for the whole season. Helix was undefeated that year with a 33-0 record and a state championship to show for it, all thanks to Bill Walton.
Walton was a dominant force and finished his high school career on a 49-game win streak and with two state titles as well. Though Walton was riddled with injuries throughout his career, the things he accomplished at Helix are still talked about to this day.
Kobe Bryant, Lower Merion
Looking back to the draft Kobe Bryant was in, it is scary to see that 12 teams passed upon him as they saw no potential. And that might’ve been enough for Kobe to faze in and become one of the best basketball players the world has ever seen. Bryant was named Pennsylvania’s Player of the Year in 1995, with a stat line of 31.0 points, 10.4 boards and 5.2 assists a game as a junior.
Be it USA Today or Parade Magazine, Bryant bagged every National Player of the Year Award there was out there. Finishing his last three seasons with a 73-13 record, he led Lower Merion to its first AAAA state title in 53 years. Bryant even outscored Wilt Chamberlain to set the all-time record in Southeastern Pennsylvania with a career of 2,883 points to show for it.
Oscar Robertson, Crispus Attucks High School
Back in 1955, Oscar Robertson and Crispus Attucks High School made history nationwide. Being an all-black high school then, Attucks’ became the first all-black school to win a state title in 1955 and 1956. As a senior, Robertson averaged 24 points per game and was named the state of Indiana’s Mr Basketball.
The Big O is the only player in NBA history to end a career with an average triple-double. His second title with the Attucks capped off a 45-game win streak and a historic high school career.
Jerry Lucas, Middletown High
Not that Lucas wasn’t a star in the NBA, he was an even bigger name when he was in high school. Lucas had a 78-1 record during his time at Middletown High over that span. As a sophomore, he scored 53 and 44 points in back-to-back state tournament games, which was highly touted. Lucas finished his high school career with two state championships to go along with three Player of the Year awards and a bunch of Ohio records.
Lucas had a strong presence on the scoreboard and on the rebounding aspect and ultimately went onto join Magic Johnson and Quinn Buckner as the only basketball players in history to win a championship in high school, college, the NBA and the Olympics as well.
Kevin Garnett, Farragut Academy
The intensity Garnett brought with himself to the NBA certainly started way back at his time with Farragut Academy. He became the first kid in 20 years to declare for the NBA draft right after high school when then went on prompt a flurry of future prospects following his lead. In Garnett’s final two years in school, he averaged 27 points and 17 boards, winning South Carolina’s Mr Basketball award and also carrying his school to the state championship game.
Garnett also finished as Illinois’ Mr Basketball, USA Today’s National Player of the Year, and with averages of 25 points, 17.9 boards, 6.7 assists and 6.5 blocks per game. The Minnesota Timberwolves selected Garnett No. 5 overall after he was named the Most Outstanding Player of the McDonald’s All-American game.
Magic Johnson, Everett High School
Magic Johnson finished his high school career with averaging 25-point-per game. But his point-scoring wasn’t the main accolade that left his mark as a senior. Leading his team to a 27-1 record and a Michigan state title, Johnson averaged 28 points and 16 boards during the entire season.
At around 6’8″, Johnson was the first true big point guard that could do it all on the floor. Pass, shoot, dribble and even play in the post and those very skills amplified to another level in both college and the NBA.
Wilt Chamberlain, Overbrook High School
At Overbrook, Chamberlain averaged over 37 points a game in three years, leading the team to three public leagues and two city championships in his glorious high school career. Chamberlain once scored 74, 78 and 90 points consecutively over a three-game stretch. Back in 1953, there really was nobody in the whole country that could’ve stopped the “Big Dipper.” He finished his high school career with a staggering 56-3 record and over 2,000 points, which were later on surpassed by Kobe Bryant.
LeBron James, St. Vincent-St. Mary
LeBron James changed and also paved the way for young future NBA prospects. He scored 25 points in the championship game to win the Division III state title just as a freshman. LeBron and his team won back-to-back titles the very next year, and James is the only sophomore ever to be selected to the USA Today All-USA First Team.
James averaged 31.6 points, 9.6 boards and 4.6 assists in his final high school season, also getting his team to the top national ranking. James had already been on magazine covers, television screens and the top of every NBA team’s draft board by the time he was a senior.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Power Memorial
Back then, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was better known as Lew Alcindor. Standing over 7’0″ tall, the NBA’s current all-time leading scorer was an absolute behemoth of a force in high school before going pro.
He led Power Memorial to three straight city titles from 1964 to 1966 and also winning 71 consecutive games during one point. Abdul-Jabbar finished his career with over 2,000 points and 2,000 rebounds, with a 95-6 record in a three-year span. But prior to changing his name, Alcindor was the first to generate the enormous high school basketball buzz we see nowadays.