Baseball, basketball, football and hockey are all represented among the Five most dominant high school athletes from the Ocean State.
MaxPreps is taking a cross-country trip highlighting the five athletes from each state who had the most impact during their prep playing days.
Five most dominant high school athletes from Rhode IslandDavey Lopes, La Salle Academy (Providence), 1963
An All-State basketball and baseball player in high school, Lopes earned NAIA All-American in those two sports while at Washburn University. Drafted in the second round by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1968, Lopes became a record-setting base stealer while also starting at second base. He finished his career with 557 stolen bases and he was a four-time All-Star.Mark Van Eeghen, Cranston West (Cranston), 1970
An All-State running back at Cranston West, Van Eeghen went to Colgate and set the school's single season rushing record. He played for the Oakland Raiders for eight seasons and played in a pair of Super Bowls.Ernie DiGregorio, North Providence, 1968
Considered one of the top college point guards of the early 1970s, DiGregorio was a consensus All-American while leading Providence to a Final Four in 1973. He was the NBA Rookie of the Year with the Buffalo Braves in 1974. He was one of the top free throw shooters in the NBA during the mid-1970s and led the league in assists as a rookie. He was out of the league by 1978. He got his start at North Providence, which he led to a Class B state championship.Mathieu Schneider, Mount St. Charles Academy (Woonsocket), 1987
Schneider was a part of the Mount St. Charles ice hockey dynasty in Rhode Island that won 26 straight state championships. Schneider played on three of those teams before being drafted into the NHL by the Montreal Canadiens. He played on one Stanley Cup champion team with the Canadiens (1993) and was named to a pair of NHL All-Star games. He is a member of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame and the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.Gerry Philbin, Tolman (Pawtucket), 1960
One of the top defensive linemen in the American Football League, Philbin won a Super Bowl with the Jets and was named to the All-Time AFL team. He was a two-time first team All-AFL and also made first team All-WFL while playing for the World Football League in 1974. A small school college All-American at Buffalo, Philbin played high school football at Tolman where he was an all-state selection.Also considered:
Rocco Baldelli, Bishop Hendricken, baseball; Ernie Calverly, Pawtucket, basketball; Steve Furness, Bishop Hendricken, football; Wilma Briggs, East Greenwich, baseball.Note:
Nap Lajoie of Woonsocket is not considered because he did not play high school baseball.