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HIGH SCHOOL Basketball
Phil Taylor
February 10, 1992
Early Warning
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February 10, 1992

High School Basketball

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HIGH IMPACT
Experts predict that these high school seniors—both boys and girls—are the players most likely to make an impression on the college level

 

HT.

POS.

HIGH SCHOOL

COLLEGE

BOYS

Jason Kidd

6'4"

G

Alameda (Calif.) St. Joseph Notre Dame

California

Steve Edwards

6'6"

G

Miami Senior

Uncommitted

Othella Harrington

6'9"

C

Jackson (Miss.) Murrah

Uncommitted

Rodrick Rhodes

6'7"

F

Jersey City (N.J.) St. Anthony's

Kentucky

Corliss Williamson

6'7"

F

Russellville (Ark.)

Arkansas

GIRLS

Katie Smith

5'11"

G

Logan (Oh.)

Ohio State

Kristen Somogyi

5'4"

G

New Brunswick (N.J.) St. Peter's

Virginia

Yolanda Watkins

6'2"

C

Decatur (Ala.)

Alabama

Wendy Palmer

6'3"

F

Roxboro (N.C.) Person

Virginia

Michelle Johnson

6'0"

F

Shelbyville (Tenn.)

Tennessee

Early Warning

When we decided to take a break from the college scene to look in on some future collegians, we quickly learned that while this year's class of high school seniors has its share of eagerly awaited players, the group that really has recruiters sharpening their sales pitches is a year younger. The consensus among those who follow the recruiting scene is that the current crop of juniors may turn out to be one of the best classes in two decades, along with the classes of 1979 (Ralph Sampson, Isiah Thomas, Dominique Wilkins, James Worthy), '81 (Patrick Ewing, Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, Chris Mullin) and '88 (Christian Laettner, Alonzo Mourning, Billy Owens).

"Post players and point guards are the top barometers of the quality of a class, because those players are usually the hardest to find," says recruiting maven Bob Gibbons of Lenoir, N.C. "This class of juniors is especially deep in big men."

Among the best are 7-foot Rashard Griffith and 7'1" Thomas Hamilton, both of Martin Luther King High in Chicago; 6'10" Rasheed Wallace of Simon Gratz High in Philadelphia; 6'10" Robbie Eggers of Cuyahoga Falls (Ohio) High; and 6'11" Darnell Robinson of Emery High in Emeryville, Calif. Darnell's name started appearing near the top of an increasing number of recruiting rankings after his strong showing at last summer's Nike camp for top high schoolers, in Indianapolis. "Everyone had heard about Griffith, but Robinson went head-to-head with him at the camp and outplayed him," says Van Coleman, who publishes Futurestars magazine. Darnell's regular-season competition isn't very strong, which may account in part for his extraordinary stats through last weekend: 30.0 points, 25 rebounds and 8 blocks a game.

The most talented non-big man in the class of 1993 might be Jerry Stackhouse, a 6'6" forward from Kinston (N.C.) High. "I really believe he will be the best high school player to come out of North Carolina since Michael Jordan, a guy who will draw attention like Jordan, James Worthy and Dominique Wilkins did," says Gibbons. "He's one of the most exciting players in the country, equally capable of playing inside or out." At week's end Jerry was scoring 27.0 points a game.

Most listings of the elite of 1993 also include Randy Livingston, a 6'4" guard from Isidore Newman High in New Orleans; 6'6" forward Charles O'Bannon (the brother of UCLA forward Ed O'Bannon) of Artesia High in Lakewood, Calif.; 6'4" guard Ronnie Henderson of Murrah High in Jackson, Miss.; and Dontonio Wingfield, a 6'8" forward from Westover High in Albany, Ga. "I'm not sure this class can match the class of 1979, which was the best of all time," says Gibbons, "but it is definitely above average, with a chance to be really memorable."

Poetry in Motion

Never let it be said that Baltimore's Dunbar High, which has what's widely considered to be the best high school team in the nation, ducks the leading contenders. The Poets, who were 21-0 at week's end, have defeated a number of the country's top teams, including St. Anthony's of Jersey City, N.J. There's one team, however, that Dunbar will never beat and would probably be satisfied just to match—the 1982-83 edition of the Poets. That legendary squad, which went undefeated en route to winning the Division I state title, included three future first-round NBA draft choices, forward Reggie Williams and guards Reggie Lewis and Tyrone (Muggsy) Bogues.

The players on this season's team might be just as good. The top senior is forward Donta Bright, a 6'6" slasher with a quick first step who was voted the best player at last summer's Nike camp. Senior Michael Lloyd, a 6'2" leaper, is one of the premier point guards in the country. But many recruiters think forward Keith Booth, a powerful 6'7" junior and Bright's cousin, may turn out to be the best of the group.

If any of the current Poets (the nickname is derived from the school's namesake, poet Paul Laurence Dunbar) do reach the NBA, they won't have to adjust to the travel. Dunbar, which ran up a 14-0 record in five out-of-state tournaments, didn't play at home until mid-January and has had to move some of its home games to nearby Morgan State to accommodate its large following.

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