High School Basketball Players You Must See Before They Get Famous

  • Malik Newman

    Just watch this video’s series of plays from 1:14 to 1:30 and then try to tell me Newman isn’t a stud. If this shooting guard was three inches taller, we’d be talking about the obvious No. 1 player in the nation. Still, he’s top five and on his way to stardom at the college level. He reminds me so much of Monta Ellis that it’s scary.

    1 of 10
  • Ben Simmons

    The next Jabari Parker? He certainly looks like it. Simmons is a 6-8 forward, widely considered the No. 1 prospect in this year’s class. An LSU commit, the smooth operator can do a little bit of everything and knows how to dish the rock. Did I mention he’s a lefty, too?

    2 of 10
  • Jaylen Brown

    Since we’re staying in the business of comparing these cats to current NBA studs, Brown reminds me a whole lot of James Harden. Similar size. Similar builds. Similar games. Brown is the No. 2 prospect in the ESPN 100 and has already visited both Kentucky and Kansas, and he specializes in putting defenders on posters.

    I can already see him rocking an NBA jersey, then going out there and making defenders look stupid with Euro steps and Statue of Liberty jams.

    3 of 10
  • Thon Maker

    This dude is basically the 2014 edition of Kevin Garnett. He can move and jump and dribble and shoot. I couldn’t imagine going up against a seven-footer like this in high school.

    Right now, he’s currently deciding on every school from¬†Arizona to Florida to¬†Duke to Kentucky to Louisville. Not a bad list of schools. I can’t wait to see what they try to do with him at the NBA level. Will he play inside or out? Right now, though, it doesn’t matter. He does whatever he wants.

    4 of 10
  • Dennis Smith Jr.

    The guy who originally came to fame by going head-to-head with Seventh Woods has now surpassed just about every guard in high school. The top point guard among the 2016 recruits, Smith is super long, super rangy, and super bouncy. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 6-2 high school point guard catch so many power players napping. He seems to do it with ease, too.

    5 of 10
  • Malik Monk

    Despite all the love other high school players get for their ridiculous hops — seriously, what are they feeding these dudes? — no one in high school is more athletic than the 6-3 Monk.

    The No. 4 overall prospect in 2016 has everyone from Florida to North Carolina to Baylor looking at him. He has that unique Shawn Marion ability to just rise up without any revving up whatsoever. Just catch, plant, and explode. He’s out here making people look stupid.

    6 of 10
  • Seventh Woods

    He’s still more than a year away from college and Woods is already a household name. Skill-wise, scouts say he still has some room to improve, especially as a point guard. But as an athlete? Seventh is on another level. The six-footer might be NBA Dunk Contest material already. I’d watch him play just to see the warmups.

    7 of 10
  • Terrance Ferguson

    Another top player in the class of 2016, Ferguson is a 6-6 high-riser who will most likely continue to climb the rankings as he grows into his body. Even as it is, this dude can fly. (And shoot, which is something you almost never see.)

    Ferguson still seems like he’s growing, too, which is a scary thought. He’s already bullying people on the break. Imagine what happens when he puts a little muscle on? It’ll be all over.

    8 of 10
  • Kwe Parker

    Parker is the lowest-ranked player on this list, but he’s also probably the single most exciting player in high school basketball since Shaquille Johnson.

    The 50th-ranked prospect in 2016 — this class has so many high-flying guards it’s almost unfair — Parker is a 6-2 swingman who has been offered scholarships from schools like Clemson, Boston College, and Wake Forest. Watch him play to have your mind blown.

    9 of 10
  • Josh Jackson

    Jackson is arguably the top player in 2016, a 6-6 wing player who does a little bit of everything. He makes it look easy, taking entire defenses off the dribble and either finishing with smooth finger rolls or finding his teammates under the rim.

    Most high school players don’t have this type of all-around game. Then again, most players aren’t Josh Jackson.

    10 of 10
  • Malik Newman
  • Ben Simmons
  • Jaylen Brown
  • Dennis Smith Jr.
  • Malik Monk
  • Seventh Woods
  • Terrance Ferguson
  • Josh Jackson

I’ve seen a lot of great high school basketball players who went on to do big things at the next level and beyond. I saw Carmelo Anthony even before he went to Oak Hill. I saw Keith Bogans and Joe Forte together. I saw Kevin Durant and O.J. Mayo in the same tournament. I saw DeMarcus Cousins and Derrick Favors in the same tournament. I even saw Steve Francis in community college half a dozen times.

But it’s always the what if players that get to me.

One of the greatest amateur talents I ever saw was Eddie Griffin from Philadelphia. He was 6-9, athletic and coordinated, with a jumper and handles and the best shot-blocking timing of anyone in high school. The dude was an obvious future NBA All-Star, spiking shots into the crowd, dunking four or five times with ease, and playing a style of game that couldn’t be replicated. Griffin was such an incredible talent that during the 2001 NBA Draft, he was traded for three players from the same class. Think about that.

Griffin’s story eventually turned into a tragedy and while Michael Beasley‘s journey is still ongoing, he has been a similar case in unfulfilled talent. I saw Beasley play during his final year in high school and in just two short hours, he went from nearly causing a mosh pit during pregame warmups (stupid dunks!) to scoring just nine points in the action that really mattered.

Luckily, for now, none of the following players look like they’ll be falling short of expectations. They all have undeniable talent that’s on the cusp of blowing up. To make sure you’re up on game before the rest of us overload the bandwagon, get to know these names beforehand.

Here are the High School Basketball Players You Must See Before They Get Famous.

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Follow Sean on Twitter at @seanesweeney

image via Kelly Kline