Video: Lebron James Arena - St. Vincent-St. Mary
The Irish honored the future NBA Hall of Famer by naming his high school gym in his honor.
The world's greatest golfer, one of the greatest track athletes of all-time, the highest baseball Hall of Fame vote getter of all-time and a pair of all-time NBA greats all have one thing in common - they all graduated from Ohio high schools.
MaxPreps is selecting the five most dominant high school athletes from each state and presenting the lists on a weekly basis. Up first is the state of Ohio.Five most dominant high school athletes in Ohio history
Jesse Owens, East Tech (Cleveland)
Best known for his four gold medals in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Owens was one of the best sprinters in the nation in high school in Cleveland. Over the course of three seasons, Owens won nine events at the state meet and set seven state records in the process. After winning the broad jump as a sophomore in 1931, Owens won four events his junior year, including the 220-yard dash, the 100-yard dash (9.9 seconds), the long jump (22 feet, 11.75 inches) and the 880-yard relay (1:30.8). He set or tied state records in the latter three events. He also led East Tech to the state championship.
As a senior, Owens set state records in every event he entered, motoring the 100-yard dash in 9.6 seconds, the 220-yard dash in 20.8 seconds, the long jump with a leap of 24-3 ¾ and the 880-yard relay in 1:30.3. According to Ohio state historian Tim Hudak, Owens is the only Ohio athlete to ever set state records in four events in one meet. Also as a senior, Owens tied the world record in the 100-yard dash at 9.4 seconds and he set the national high school record in the long jump at 24-11 ¾.
Perhaps Owens' greatest achievement may have been his performance at the 1935 Big Ten championships when he tied one world record (100-yard dash, 9.4 seconds) and set three others: long jump (26-8 ¼), 220-yard low hurdles (22.6 seconds), and 220-yard dash (20.3 seconds). He accomplished it all in just 45 minutes.
The next year, he became the first athlete to ever win four gold medals at a single Olympic track and field competition.LeBron James, St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron)
While James has become one of the all-time greats in NBA history, he is also regarded as one of the greatest players in prep basketball history and certainly the top player ever from the Buckeye State. A second-team Division III All-State pick as a freshman (18.7 ppg), James was named Ohio Mr. Basketball as a sophomore, junior and senior (he was also All-State in football as a wide receiver during his sophomore season). He led St. Vincent-St. Mary to four consecutive state final appearances, winning Division III as a freshman and sophomore and Division II as a senior. James and the Irish were also ranked No. 1 in the nation during his 2002-03 senior season. He finished his career as the No. 3 all-time leading scorer in Ohio (currently fifth) with 2,646 points. He averaged 31.6 points per game with 9.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.4 steals as a senior.
James made Parade Magazine All-American first team as a junior and senior and was second team as a sophomore. He was also a two-time Mr. Basketball USA and was the McDonald's All-American Game MVP. In 2003, he was the No. 1 overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers. As a professional, he's appeared in the NBA finals nine times and won three championships. He is a 12-time first team All-Pro, four-time MVP and currently ranks No. 5 on the NBA's all-time scoring list.Jack Nicklaus, Upper Arlington (Columbus, Ohio)
The all-time leader in major golf championships at the professional level, Nicklaus got his start by twice winning the Ohio state golf individual championship. As a junior in 1956, Nicklaus shot a 144 to win the state individual title and beat the previous record by two strokes. He also led Upper Arlington to the state championship. The following season, Nicklaus shot a 148 to again win the state title. Nicklaus also excelled in basketball, earning honorable mention All-Ohio honors.
As an 18-year-old, Nicklaus made the cut at the U.S. Open, finishing 41st overall. He went on to win the U.S. Amateur twice (1959 and 1961) and also won the NCAA tournament (1961) while at Ohio State. He won his first professional tournament, and his first major, in 1962 when he beat Arnold Palmer for the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club. He finished his career with 18 major titles. No other professional golfer is within four.Jerry Lucas, Middletown
Nearly 50 years before LeBron James ruled the basketball court in Ohio, Jerry Lucas was doing the same. A scoring and rebounding whiz, Lucas led Middletown to a pair of state championships as a sophomore and junior and a career record of 76-1 with 76 straight wins. He was first team All-State three times, averaging 28 points per game as a sophomore, 36 as a junior and 32 as a senior. Three times the state Player of the Year in Ohio, he led Middletown to No. 1 national rankings in 1956 and 1957. He was also twice named the national player of the year. He finished his high school career with 2,460 points.
In college at Ohio State, Lucas was the Big Ten Player of the Year three times and the national Player of the Year twice while leading the Buckeyes to three national championship games and a national championship in 1960. In the NBA, Lucas was a seven-time NBA All-Star, a three-time first team All-NBA player and a member of the 50th Anniversary All-Time Team. He also earned an NBA title as a member of the 1973 New York Knicks. He is a member of the National High School Hall of Fame, the College Basketball Hall of Fame and the Professional Basketball Hall of Fame. He also won an Olympic Gold Medal (1960).Ken Griffey, Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati)
At a school known for football, baseball Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. is the greatest athlete ever to play at Archbishop Moeller. An All-State player as a junior when he hit 10 home runs and batted .478, Griffey had a tremendous senior season. He was the Cincinnati Enquirer Co-Player of the Year after batting .478 with 23 RBIs and seven home runs. He was also a Rawlings All-American and was the Ohio Gatorade State Player of the Year. Selected No. 1 overall in the 1987 Major League Baseball Draft by the Seattle Mariners, Griffey went on to hit 630 home runs, win 10 Gold Gloves and make 13 All-Star games en route to his 2016 induction into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame with the highest voting percentage ever at 99.3 percent.Also considered:
Cris Carter, Middletown, football; Paul Warfield, Warren G. Harding, football, track, basketball; John Havlicek, Bridgeport, football, basketball, baseball; Len Dawson, Alliance, football; Roger Staubach, Purcell, football; Robert Smith, Euclid, football; Barry Larkin, Archbishop Moeller, baseball; Mike Schmidt, Dayton Fairview, baseball; Pete Rose, Western Hills, baseball.