Video: Ben Simmons high school highlights
Philadelphia 76ers star living up to No. 1 prospect billing.
From LeBron James to R.J. Barrett, the top player in the final 247Sports composite rankings
always moves on to the college and professional levels with widespread attention and pressure.
Injuries have prevented some of high school basketball's No. 1 prospects from living up to the hype. Some have simply been overrated.
But players like James, Dwight Howard, Anthony Davis and Ben Simmons have made the experts look good, fulfilling their potential and becoming stars in the NBA.
Read on for a look back at the hits and misses over the past 16 seasons, starting with the arrival of King James and carrying through high school basketball's latest batch of promising graduates.
2003 – LeBron James, St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio)
Luol Deng, Kendrick Perkins, Charlie Villanueva, Chris Paul, Trevor ArizaCollege:
Declared for NBA DraftDraft position:
No. 1 pick of 2003 draft to Cleveland CavaliersLiving up to the hype:
The 2003 contingent produced plenty of solid performers but James stands above as one of the greats to ever play the game with four MVP awards, three NBA titles and two gold medals.2004 – Dwight Howard, Southwest Atlanta Christian (Atlanta, Ga.)Notable classmates:
Al Jefferson, Josh Smith, Rudy Gay, J.R. Smith, LaMarcus Aldridge, Rajon Rondo, Kyle Lowry, Al HorfordCollege:
Declared for NBA DraftDraft position:
No. 1 pick of 2004 draft to Orlando MagicLiving up to the hype:
Players like Horford and Lowry have been more productive in recent seasons, but Howard made an early impact in the league and is an eight-time NBA All-Star. Tough to argue that Howard wasn't the best product out of the 2004 class in his prime.2005 – Gerald Green, Houston Christian (Houston, Texas)Notable classmates:
Monta Ellis, Louis Williams, Andrew BynumCollege:
Declared for NBA DraftDraft position:
No. 18 pick of 2005 draft to Boston CelticsLiving up to the hype:
The 2005 class lacks stars but it appears that the national rankings weren't far off. Ellis probably had the biggest impact on the NBA, playing 12 seasons and averaging 17.8 points per contest. Williams could be making a late surge after averaging a career-best 22.6 points per game last year for the Clippers.2006 – Greg Oden, Lawrence North (Indianapolis, Ind.)Notable classmates:
Kevin Durant, Mike Conley, Russell Westbrook, Stephen CurryCollege:
Ohio StateDraft position:
No. 1 pick of 2007 draft to Portland Trail BlazersLiving up to the hype:
Easily one of the more memorable recent classes, the 2006 group produced three MVPs in Durant, Westbrook and Curry. The latter two were ranked outside of the Top 100. One of most highly-touted 7-footers to come along in the last quarter-century, Oden's career was derailed by injuries.2007 – Eric Gordon, North Central (Indianapolis, Ind.)Notable classmates:
O.J. Mayo, Michael Beasley, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose, DeAndre Jordan, James Harden, Blake GriffinCollege:
No. 7 pick of 2008 draft to Los Angeles ClippersLiving up to the hype:
There were a number of big names in the 2007 class that stand out, but reigning MVP Harden has proven to be in a league of his own. Other big names like Love, Griffin, Jordan and Rose have had excellent NBA careers, but none have played on Harden's level in recent years. 2008 – Brandon Jennings, Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)Notable classmates:
Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans, DeMar DeRozan, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Paul GeorgeCollege:
Signed professional contract with Lottomatica Virtus Roma in ItalyDraft position:
No. 10 pick of 2009 draft to Milwaukee BucksLiving up to the hype:
While Jennings hasn't quite lived up to the No. 1 billing, the 2008 class is building quite a legacy in the league. DeRozan, George, Green and Thompson have combined for 16 NBA All-Star appearances.
John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Lance Stephenson, Kawhi LeonardCollege:
Georgia TechDraft position:
No. 3 pick of 2010 draft to New Jersey NetsLiving up to the hype:
Although Leonard checked in at No. 57 in the final 247Sports composite for 2009, he has emerged as the top dog in the class. The 2014 NBA Finals MVP and two-time Defensive Player of the Year has established himself as one of the elite players in the league. 2010 – Harrison Barnes, Ames (Iowa)Notable classmates:
Kyrie Irving, Victor OladipoCollege:
North CarolinaDraft position:
No. 7 pick of 2012 draft to Golden State WarriorsLiving up to the hype:
Irving has established himself as the top player in the 2010 class, playing a leading role alongside LeBron in the Cavaliers title run three seasons ago. The flashy guard will look for a huge comeback season after falling a victim to injury prior to the 2018 postseason. 2011 – Anthony Davis, Perspectives Charter (Chicago)Notable classmates:
Austin Rivers, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bradley BealCollege:
No. 1 pick of 2012 draft to New Orleans HornetsLiving up to the hype:
Davis is the most dominant big man in the NBA. An eight-inch growth spurt in high school helped create the mold for one of the most versatile big men to ever play the game.
2012 – Nerlens Noel, Tilton School (Tilton, N.H.)Notable classmates:
Steven Adams, Marcus SmartCollege:
No. 6 pick of 2013 draft to New Orleans PelicansLiving up to the hype:
Noel's potential to be a dominant defensive center has failed to materialize in the NBA. In fact, a star in the entire 2012 class has yet to emerge. Adams and Smart along with classmates like Kris Dunn, Gary Harris, Buddy Hield, Taurean Prince and T.J. Warren all look to be solid role players in the league at best.2013 – Andrew Wiggins, Huntington St. Joseph Prep (Huntington, W.Va.)Notable classmates:
Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon, Jabari Parker, Joel EmbiidCollege:
No. 1 pick of 2014 draft to Cleveland CavaliersLiving up to the hype:
The only thing keeping Embiid from being the top prospect in this class are injuries. The dominant big man has played in just 94 of a possible 328 regular season games in his young career. 2014 – Jahlil Okafor, Whitney Young (Chicago)Notable classmates:
Karl-Anthony Towns, D'Angelo Russell, Devin Booker, Kyle KuzmaCollege:
No. 3 pick of 2015 draft to Philadelphia 76ersLiving up to the hype:
Towns has surpassed Okafor and the rest of the 2014 class after averaging 21.6 points and 11.7 rebounds per game over his first three seasons in the league. Steadily-improving Booker, who produced a 70-point game in his second year in the NBA, could put the pressure on Towns.2015 – Ben Simmons, Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)Notable classmates:
Brandon Ingram, Jaylen Brown, Donovan MitchellCollege:
No. 1 pick of 2016 draft to Philadelphia 76ers
Living up to the hype: Simmons recorded 12 triple-doubles, won Rookie of the Year and guided the 76ers to the playoffs for the first time since 2012. Mitchell had an incredible rookie year as well, averaging 24.4 points per game in Utah's playoff run. 2016 – Josh Jackson, Prolific Prep Academy (Napa, Calif.)Notable classmates:
Harry Giles, Lonzo Ball, Jayson Tatum, Markelle FultzCollege:
No. 4 pick of 2017 draft to Phoenix SunsLiving up to the hype:
With many of the top prospects in the 2016 class finishing up their rookie seasons in the NBA, Tatum stands out after a stellar campaign. The Missouri native recorded seven consecutive 20-plus point games in Boston's playoff run and finished third in Rookie of the Year voting. 2017 – Marvin Bagley III, Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)Notable classmates:
Michael Porter Jr., Mohamed Bamba, DeAndre Ayton, Collin Sexton, Wendell Carter Jr., Jaren Jackson Jr., Trae YoungCollege:
No. 2 pick of 2018 draft to Sacramento Kings
Living up to the hype: Ayton holds a slight edge in a class filled with intriguing bigs. Porter Jr. will be one to watch if he can regain his high school form.
2018 – R.J. Barrett, Montverde AcademyNotable
Cameron Reddish, Nassir Little, Bol Bol, Zion
Williamson, Romeo LangfordCollege:
Eligible in 2019Living
up to the hype:
Barrett has a strong resume heading to Durham, leading Canada to a gold medal in
the U19 FIBA World Championships and guiding Montverde to an
undefeated 35-0 mark as a senior. The 2017-18 MaxPreps National Player of the Year is a heavy favorite at this point to go No. 1 in the 2019 draft.