What if you were a general manager of an NBA team and you had the chance to draft Lew Alcindor or Wilt Chamberlain coming right out of high school? Who do you take? It's a tough choice.
Or what if you had the chance to choose between Earvin Johnson or LeBron James? Another tough one.
And what if you had the chance to choose between Sam Bowie or Michael Jordan? That seems like an easy one, or is it?
Imagine, if you will, an NBA Draft in which every high school All-American who ever played was all of a sudden eligible for selection. But in a Twilight Zone type of twist, you, as the general manager in charge of making the picks, had no knowledge of how that player performed as a college or NBA player. The pick is made solely on that player's high school performance.
With the NBA Draft set to begin today, MaxPreps uses the current draft order to make 30 picks of the all-time great high school basketball players. But be aware, many of the great NBA players will not be chosen in this draft. You won't see Bill Russell or Larry Bird or Charles Barkley or Karl Malone on this draft board. All were virtual unknowns coming out of high school.
Likewise, get ready for a mad scramble to grab some of the great high school players who never quite achieved stardom in the NBA, or even college for that matter. Names like Chris Washburn, Earl Jones, Albert King and yes, even Sam Bowie had college recruiters salivating when they made their mark on the high school stage. So, too, will they be in high demand when the MaxPreps Fantasy High School Basketball Draft gets underway.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have the No. 1 pick and they are now on the clock...The MAXPREPS FANTASY HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL DRAFT
1. Cleveland - Lew Alcindor, Power Memorial (New York City)
Outlook: The Cavaliers need a lot of help and what better place to start than in the middle with the most coveted big man in the country. Alcindor led Power Memorial to three straight city championships and he is a three-time Parade All-American. At 7-foot-2, Alcindor towers over nearly every opponent and his use of the unblockable sky hook makes him an unstoppable scoring force. He may change his name in the future, maybe to something like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but that's no reason to pass on Alcindor.
2. Minnesota - Wilt Chamberlain, Overbrook (Philadelphia)
Outlook: Chamberlain caught everyone's attention when he scored 90 points in one game at Overbrook. Very athletic, even at 7-1, Chamberlain has amazing strength and can rebound at will. The Timberwolves have plenty of big bodies in the frontcourt, but a player like Chamberlain only comes around once in a lifetime. Rumors that Chamberlain planned to play for the Globetrotters if chosen by the Cavaliers may have been the reason behind his drop to the No. 2 spot.3. Utah - Earvin Johnson, Everett (Lansing, Mich.)
Outlook: The Jazz need a replacement at point guard, but Earvin Johnson is not just any point guard. At 6-8, Johnson can rebound like a forward yet he can magically handle the ball like a point guard. He led Everett to a state championship in Michigan and perhaps he can bring a title to Utah — and some "Magic" along with it.4. Cleveland - LeBron James, St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio)
Outlook: It was a tough decision, but the Cavaliers couldn't pass up the hometown hero. One of the most-hyped high school players ever, James has twice been named Parade All-American MVP. He can score, rebound and he always seems to come up with the clutch plays down the stretch. The Cavaliers have an outstanding scoring 1-2 punch with Alcindor and James.5. Toronto - Alonzo Mourning, Indian River (Chesapeake, Va.)
Outlook: The Raptors had the worst defense in the NBA last year and need a defensive presence in the middle. Three-time Parade All-American Alonzo Mourning can provide just that as he averaged more than 12 blocks a game as a senior at Indian River.6. Washington - Oscar Robertson, Crispus Attucks (Indianapolis)
Outlook: The Wizards need a swing man to help out with the scoring and Robertson has the ability to fit the bill. He averaged double figures in points, rebounds and assists while leading Crispus Attucks to a state championship in Indiana. Can play the point or mix it up for a rebound when needed.7. Sacramento - Jason Kidd, St. Joseph Notre Dame (Alameda, Calif.)
Outlook: The Kings need a point guard and they got a good one in Jason Kidd. The St. Joseph Pilot put on a show at Arco Arena in the California state championships and he finished his career as the all-time assists king in the Golden State.
8. Detroit - Pat Ewing, Cambridge Rindge and Latin (Mass.)
Outlook: The Pistons are looking for a dominating presence in the middle and Ewing was all of that at Rindge and Latin. He is a three-time Parade All-American and he can intimidate as a shot blocker or rebounder.9. Charlotte - Greg Oden, Lawrence North (Indianapolis)
Outlook: Like the Pistons, the Bobcats need a big man to thwart the offense. Oden has been a force on defense at Lawrence North for three straight seasons, leading his team to three state titles. He doesn't have much of an offensive game yet, but he can provide the rebounding and defense the Bobcats need as long as he stays injury free.10. Milwaukee - Pete Maravich, Broughton (Raleigh, N.C.)
Outlook: The Bucks need some perimeter scoring and Maravich can do that better than any player in the draft. Known for his long set shots, tricky passes, fancy dribbling and creative layups, Maravich can put on a show. Maravich can turn the Bucks into a winner.11. Golden State - Bill Cartwright, Elk Grove (Calif.)
Outlook: The Warriors stay local, nabbing the big man from Elk Grove in Bill Cartwright, one of the most dominating centers in California history. With strong guard play, all the Warriors need is a defender and rebounder in the middle to lead the defense and ignite the offense.12. Utah - Kobe Bryant, Lower Merion (Ardmore, Pa.)
Outlook: With Earvin Johnson already in the fold, the Jazz need someone to finish the break and perhaps no high school player did that better than Kobe Bryant during his senior season at Lower Merion. Confident, highly skilled and competitive, Bryant doesn't shy away from taking the big shot.13. Phoenix - Kenny Anderson, Archbishop Molloy (Queens, N.Y.)
Outlook: The Suns need to find a replacement at point guard and Anderson has been one of the best in the country since his freshman year. A three-time Parade All-American, few have been better in New York City history in distributing the ball.14. Houston - Moses Malone, Petersburg (Va.)
Outlook: With the future of their current center uncertain, the Rockets need a rebounder in the middle. Moses Malone might be the best rebounding prospect in the draft, especially on the offensive glass.15. Indiana - George McGinnis, Washington (Indianapolis)
Outlook: The Pacers would like to go after a big man, but hometown star George McGinnis is too tough to pass up. A strong rebounder in his own right, McGinnis is a powerful player who can score at will.16. Philadelphia - Tom McMillen, Mansfield (Pa.)
Outlook: One of the all-time leading scorers in the state of Pennsylvania, McMillen stays close to home after being selected by the 76ers. The 6-11 center gives the 76ers a unique blend of scoring and rebounding in the middle.17. New York Knicks - Connie Hawkins, Boys School (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Outlook: The Knicks need a big man but they can't turn down the dynamic and electrifying Hawkins, who is not only a playground legend in New York but also a high school All-American as well.18. Washington - Earl Jones, Spingarn (Washington D.C.)
Outlook: With a swingman in place with the selection of Robertson, the Wizards can address their big man needs with hometown pick Earl Jones, a three-time Parade All-American first team pick from Springarn. Only Alcindor and Jones have earned first-team recognition three times.19. Charlotte - Ralph Sampson, Harrisonburg (Va.)
Outlook: The Bobcats are thinking of going big on the front line. With Oden set to take over at center, Sampson, at 7-4, can play the power forward spot and give Charlotte a pair of towering big men. Twin Towers, if you will. Sampson nearly averaged more than 30 points, 19 rebounds and seven blocked shots as a senior.20. Minnesota - Stephon Marbury, Lincoln (New York City)
Outlook: The Timberwolves are never shy about taking a point guard and with an outstanding one like Stephon Marbury still on the board, Minnesota couldn't let him slip by. The two-time Parade All-American is one of the best points guards to ever play in New York. He averaged 26.5 points during his career and had more than 800 assists.21. Portland - Sam Bowie, Lebanon (Pa.)
Outlook: The Trailblazers need a big man and they coveted Greg Oden, however they were delighted to see Sam Bowie still on the board at No. 21. Health is a concern for the "Legend from Lebanon" but the Trailblazers could make a return to the finals if Bowie lives up to expectations.22. Denver - Albert King, Fort Hamilton (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Outlook: The Nuggets need a scorer and the versatile King can play either guard or forward. A three-time Parade All-American, King is considered one of the greatest all-around players to ever come out of New York City.23. Houston - Kevin Garnett, Farragut (Chicago)
Outlook: The Rockets need an intimidator on defense to complement Malone in the frontcourt. Garnett is a two-time All-American known for his tough defense.24. Oklahoma City - Bill Walton, Helix (La Mesa, Calif.)
Outlook: The Thunder have plenty of offense, but they need a presence in the middle. Walton was a rebounding machine and rarely missed a shot, converting close to 80 percent of his field goals as a senior.25. Boston - Shaquille O'Neal, Cole (San Antonio)
Outlook: O'Neal came on strong his final two seasons, leading Cole to a 68-1 record and a state championship as a senior. His incredible skills don't seem to fit in a body of a 7-1 center. A tremendous rebounder, O'Neal set a state record in Texas with 791 boards. He could go down as the best center in Celtics history.26. Dallas - Danny Manning, Page (Greensboro, N.C.)
Outlook: With uncanny skills for a big man, Manning (6-10) can lead the fast break, make the no-look pass or take the long 3-point shot. 27. New Jersey - Chris Washburn, Laurinburg Prep (N.C.)
Outlook: The Nets need another big body in the frontcourt and Washburn has the talent to last in the NBA for a long time. A high-percentage shooter, Washburn made close to 80 percent of his shots in high school while winning All-American honors three years in a row.28. Chicago - James Worthy, Ashbrook (Gastonia, N.C.)
Outlook: The Bulls need some additional scoring in the frontcourt and Worthy has shown the ability to provide it. A two-time All-American, Worthy averaged 21.5 points and 12.5 rebounds for Ashbrook last year.29. San Antonio - Chris Webber, Detroit Country Day (Beverly Hills, Mich.)
Outlook: The Spurs need to get younger in the frontcourt. A two-time first team All-American, Webber is not only an outstanding scorer down low, but he also has outstanding passing skills for a big man.30. Chicago - Mike Jordan, Laney (Wilmington, N.C.)
Outlook: The Bulls need a shooting guard and Jordan appears to be the best of the remaining players on the board. Jordan put on a show in the McDonald's All-American Game, winning MVP honors; however, he was virtually unknown prior to the start of his senior season and he could be the sleeper in the draft.