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ESPN ranks the best high school prospects since LeBron James


Emoni Bates is considered the next big thing in basketball, and if the one-and-done rule goes by the wayside as expected, he’ll go straight to the NBA in 2022. In a feature on the fifteen-year-old phenom, whom many are calling a generational talent, Jeff Borzello opened up a fun debate: who are the best high school prospects since LeBron?

Borzello polled more than a dozen recruiting experts ranging from college coaches to scouts and event operators, and, not surprisingly, some former Cats made the list. Anthony Davis was tied for third with Bates and another John Calipari pupil, Derrick Rose. John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins were among a handful of players (including Zion Williamson) that received votes. Here’s the top seven:

1. Kevin Durant
2. Greg Oden
3a. Derrick Rose
3b. Emoni Bates
3c. Anthony Davis
6. Ben Simmons
7. Dwight Howard

“AD got exponentially better every time you saw him,” one member of the panel said. “That, and his physical profile, made it easy to forecast his greatness.”

Agree? Disagree? Let’s hear it.

[ESPN Insider]

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

26 responses to “ESPN ranks the best high school prospects since LeBron James”

  1. BluegrassBoi

    Really quite amazing how well each of these prospects panned out. All but Greg Oden went on to be NBA studs–and you could argue Oden was on track had he not been riddled with injuries. He had a very solid college career.

    Emoni has gotta feel good seeing his name on that list. ESPECIALLY that high on the list.

    1. ukcamel

      But watch if he flames out all these scouts will claim they were never that high on him.

  2. runningunnin.454

    How many of the top 7 led their team to an NCAA Championship as a freshman?

    1. J-Dub421

      Just one.

    2. Ridge Runner

      Bingo. Case closed.

  3. ukcamel

    There is a lot of revisionist thinking here – which isn’t surprising because asking scouts this question feels like asking someone to grade their own paper.

    Consider that the consensus surrounding Howard was that he was the next Patrick Ewing or Shaq and AD out of high school was viewed as a one-way player with severely limited offensive skills (this was even the view going into the draft), and he was compared to much lesser players like Marcus Camby.

    Also where is Andrew Wiggins? He was broadly viewed as the next LeBron James when he was in high school.

    1. ukcamel

      Case in point Derrick Rose was ESPN’s #5 prospect out of HS in 2007.

    2. J-Dub421

      Not to mention Zion. Zion mania was real.

    3. Han

      ESPN also had Wall as #5 and Avery Bradley as #1. Derrick Favors and Xavier Henry were also both ranked above Cuz (#4) and Wall. ESPN’s full of crap in their rankings.

  4. J-Dub421

    1. Kevin Durant – lost in the second round at Texas.
    2. Greg Oden – NCAA Finalist at Ohio State.
    3a. Derrick Rose – NCAA Finalist at Memphis under Coach Cal.
    3b. Emoni Bates – He’s 15!! No one has any idea if he’s going to be really good or not!! His inclusion on this list is dumb!
    3c. Anthony Davis – NCAA Title at Kentucky under Coach Cal.
    6. Ben Simmons – didn’t even make the NCAA tournament.
    7. Dwight Howard – went straight from high school to the NBA.

    1. 4everUKblue

      Excellent job J-Dub, thank you for doing what the scouts were not objective or intelligent enough to do.

    2. J-Dub421

      Only two guys on that list (so far) were great in both high school and college, and they both played for Cal.

    3. J-Dub421

      *College and NBA, I mean. Is it Friday yet?

    4. 4everUKblue

      Where’s Thomas Robinson on this list? He thought he should have been the number one pick in the draft. Is he still alive?

    5. 4everUKblue
    6. 4everUKblue

      Yep still alive and tearing up the G league since 2017.

    7. MrPioneer

      “Only two guys on that list were great in college and the NBA, and they both played for Cal”… guessing you overlooked Durant on this list?

    8. 4everUKblue

      Yeah he was so great in college he lost in the second round.

    9. MrPioneer

      He averaged 26 and 11 in college and is widely regarded as one of the best college players of all time. But you’re right, not great!

    10. J-Dub421

      His Texas team crashed out in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The best players/teams may not always win the title, but they shouldn’t lose in the second round.

    11. Nickerbocker05

      One game dude that’s how u measure greatness? Durant lost in 2nd rd does not mean he wasn’t as good if not better then anyone on this list… Keith bogans lost in the second round of the tournament too does that make him worse of a player? Hell NO!?

    12. RAGE

      I don’t think Keith Bogans and Kevin Durant should ever be mentioned in the same sentence.. I mean Keith Bogans wasn’t a great player and not even in the same atmosphere with Kevin Durant

    13. 4everUKblue

      I never said Durant was not good, he was very good, just not great enough to lead his team past USC in the second round. He is a great NBA player. And I agree Bogans and Durant should never be mentioned in the same sentence.

  5. Bruce Dickinson

    Maybe it’s just me but it seems like every year they proclaim some high school player a “generational talent”.

    1. 4everUKblue

      It’s not just you Bruce.

  6. sincitycat

    Robinson just “ran out of time”. Rolling eyes!