High Schools With More than One Player in the NBA
Undated (AP) _ Thousands of high schools would cover their basketball courts with four- leaf clovers if they thought it would bring them even one future NBA player.
But Camden High School in New Jersey; Flora High School in Columbia, S.C.; and Enloe High School in Raleigh, N.C., were twice blessed. All three had not one, but two future NBA players in their gymnasiums at the same time.
And Dunbar High School in Baltimore was a virtual cradle of NBA talent, carrying four players in 1981-82 who would eventually reach basketball’s highest pinnacle.
Three of them - Reggie Williams of the Los Angeles Clippers, Tyrone Bogues of Washington and Boston’s Reggie Lewis - were picked in the first round of the 1987 college draft. A statistical consultant calculated the odds of that happening at 4,037,639-1.
Dunbar’s fourth NBA player is Philadelphia’s David Wingate, who graduated a year before Williams, Lewis and Bogues.
″I’m not surprised because they were all outstanding student-athletes,″ says Bob Wade, Dunbar’s coach from 1975 to 1986 and now the head coach at Maryland. ″I thought they all went to outstanding college programs with great coaches, and they continued to blossom. So, what they have accomplished has not surprised me.″
Wade, whose teams won three prep national championships and went 119-1 from 1981 to 1985, said Wingate and Williams, who both went to college at Georgetown, stood out at an early age. Lewis and Bogues, however, did not seem destined for NBA careers.
″Reggie Lewis was the sixth man in our program,″ Wade said. ″He was a much better player coming off the bench. He did not shoot the perimeter shot very well. He was an adequate ballhandler. He worked on those two aspects of his game (in college at Northeastern) and he blossomed into a first-round NBA player.″
An even bigger surprise to Wade is the 5-foot-3 Bogues, not because of his talent but because of his size.
″I didn’t think anyone would have the foresight or the guts to draft a 5-3 guy in the first round,″ Wade said.
All four Dunbar stars grew up in the project area of East Baltimore, dreaming of basketball glory.
″We all talked about playing in the NBA when we used to shoot around in the streets,″ Bogues said. ″But everybody who plays ball as a kid has that dream. But three of use going in the first round - that’s more like Fantasy Island.″
″We came from an attitude where if you didn’t play ball, you weren’t considered a person,″ Wingate said. ″There wasn’t anything else to do except get in trouble.″
Xavier McDaniel of Seattle and Cleveland’s Tyrone Corbin, who graduated together from Columbia’s Flora High School, had different dreams.
″I didn’t think about the pros,″ Corbin said. ″I thought of high school ball as a way to get to college.″
″I always dreamed of playing pro basketball, football or baseball,″ McDaniel said. ″I played organized baseball for nine years and I was pretty good. I started to play in high school, but the coach wanted me to play right field and I wanted to pitch, so we parted ways.
″I didn’t play organized basketball until the seventh grade, but I was getting so big in high school I ended up just playing basketball.″
Flora had two players taller than the 6-7 McDaniel and the 6-5 Corbin when they were juniors, and McDaniel remembers that Corbin had to play point guard in the state tournament when the regular point guard got hurt.
″We had a lot of talent and I was second team as a junior,″ McDaniel said. ″The coach (Carl Williams) said I had too much playground ball in me. He was right. I would play to the crowd in those days.″
Corbin said the team’s semifinal appearance in the state tournament and his and McDaniel’s performance in summer camp attracted the recruiters for their senior year. The team started 1-4, then won their last 20 games and the state championship.
″Summer camp really improved our stock and we got hundreds of letters because we were able to play against really good players,″ McDaniel said.
″We were really close,″ Corbin said. ″We went to summer camp together, but we didn’t get offers from the same schools, so we decided to go our separate ways.″
While McDaniel went to Wichita State and Corbin to DePaul, Milt Wagner was able to convince younger Camden teammate Billy Thompson to follow him to Louisville, where they played on a national championship team together in 1986.
Today, Thompson and Wagner again are teammates on the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers, although Wagner was not on the team last season.
In 1980-81, Thompson and Wagner were chasing national titles at Camden.
″We were awesome,″ Wagner said. ″I played guard and he played center, but you could tell he would be a forward in college because he could handle the ball and shoot jumpers.″
Wagner said he averaged 33 points as a senior and Thompson 23 that season as a junior on a team that averaged 102 per game.
″We pressed full court and ran a lot. It was fun,″ Wagner said. ″We wanted to be ranked No. 1 in the nation. We tried to get Patrick Ewing’s team to play us, but we couldn’t do it. DeMatha in Washington, D.C., was the best we could do. We were fifth nationally and they were third. I scored 52 points and we beat them, but we lost to Atlantic City in the state tournament.″
After a year at Louisville, Wagner convinced Thompson to join him.
″I told him everything about Louisville and what to expect,″ Wagner said. ″He knew I wouldn’t tell him anything wrong, so he came on down and things turned out good for both of us.″
Nate McMillan and Danny Young now are teammates with Seattle after attending high school together in Raleigh. But they weren’t quite high school teammates when McMillan was a sophomore and Young the senior star on the varsity.
″We won five straight conference titles and at our high school you didn’t get to play on the varsity unless you were really good,″ McMillan said. ″We won 22 games on the junior varsity, but Danny was the star then as a senior on the varsity. I really looked up to him and the fans loved him.″
″I remember Nate was short and skinny then, but he had older brothers who were tall, so I knew he would be a good player,″ Young said.
Last year, McMillan joined the SuperSonics and had more assists than any rookie in NBA history besides Oscar Robertson.
Young, McMillan’s former hero, was McMillan’s backup.
End Adv Weekend Editions Dec. 19-20