High School / Sep 1, 2011 / 11:00 am

Who Is The Most Exciting High School Player Ever?

Dime #65

Aquille Carr, Dime #65

Anyone remember School Sports? Back in high school, right outside the principal’s office, I could find a stack of that magazine once every few months. I’d grab three or four copies, spend the next few classes sifting through the pages, keep one copy on ice and then cut apart the others, taping every picture up onto my wall. They had national stories and local stuff too, which was always weird (seeing names you know in a magazine). Coming up the stairs from gym class, I always snuck a glance to my left to see if they were sitting there on a ledge, right outside of the main office.

It was in those pages I first found out about O.J. Mayo. As I’ve said before, some names scream stardom. Mayo was high school stardom. He sold out arenas everywhere he went. He was the star of national news stories, and hype long before his senior year. He was LeBron after LeBron, right down to the controversies.

Before him there was LeBron, otherworldly even at 17. Kobe was a celebrity, taking Brandy to the prom and destroying pros in personal workouts. Way before their time, Wilt Chamberlain was doing things with a basketball that had literally never been done before. Even players like Dajuan Wagner, so good in high school that he once dropped 100 in a game, and so exhilarating that he often dominated the basketball mixtapes DVDs that were a staple of the early 21st Century, could make the claim they were the most exciting teenager ever. Players of every generation, all over the country, have left legacies.

I’ve always loved handles. But ironically, the most exciting high school player I ever saw hardly handled the ball at all. Eddie Griffin (R.I.P.) of Philadelphia was a monster in high school. He could do it all: hit jumpers, run the floor and pass the rock, and he could do it all effortlessly. But what made him different was the way he blocked shots. I remember one game in particular where he finished with 11 blocks, and had about half of those during one four-to-five minute stretch.

Griffin never reached the vast potential he showed in high school. But he still left memories. That was over a decade ago. But there’s another cat in high school right now who’s effect on YouTube won’t soon be forgotten.

There’s something special about watching Aquille Carr play. He’s not the biggest cat in the world, but he’s still magnetizing. Most of the game’s best little guys can drop buckets or have nights where they pile up numbers. But the Crime Stopper is different. He can impose his will on a game despite being the smallest player on the court, make others cower in fear. That quality stands out. You can’t take your eyes off him, forget there are other players on the court, sometimes even forget about the game going on. It’s just Carr and the poor soul who’s trying to guard him.

We know hype when we see it. Carr has always had hype. But the difference is he backs it up. Over and over. He’s done it enough that we put him on the cover of Dime #65 and declared him the nation’s most exciting high school player. We think that’s a given. But what about all-time? Who is the most exciting high school player ever?

Who is the most exciting high school player ever? Think it through because the best answers will be printed in the next issue of Dime.

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  • http://www.dimemag.com Aron Phillips

    In my high school era, it probably has to be LeBron. When else can you remember people going out of their way to nationally televise high school basketball games? I always loved watching LBJ with the big white patches on his arms to cover up his tattoos and that green adidas headband.

  • Ltron 3000


  • Lee

    Ronnie Fields… dunks and blocks before high school hoops became mainstream and a young KG was only the second highlight show on te Farragut team

  • Ali

    any new yorker who was around the scene in the ’80s will tell you that, from the perspective of someone who understood nuanced point guard play, no one could come close to touching kenny anderson and pearl washington in high school.

    they weren’t jumping out the gym and dunking on everybody, but the wow factor came from the smoove sizzle and advanced IQ.

    and if LTron is suggesting that aquille has no left, that would lead me to believe that he’s never seen him play a full game in person.

  • UncheckedAggression

    Darius Miles was pretty huge back in the day. The hype surrounding him was as extreme as anyone else I can think of.

  • heckler

    i dunno about the most exciting, but one of the most hyped ever was …..Felipe Lopez!

    @ Aron
    it’s because of guys/players like Felipe Lopez that things grew and expanded to the point where years later, there would be a nationally televised regular season high school game.
    that game was all about lebron….but getting to that point was all about guys like Felipe Lopez

  • IP

    6’5″ Schea Cotton beasting against 6’1 players.

  • that dude

    Stephon Marbury or Telfair in high school was crazy.

  • Promoman

    @ heckler

    I’d have to agree about Felipe Lopez. He’s the most hyped HS player ever. He was being tagged as a future Hall of Famer before even playing in college.

  • http://www.BasketballElite.com Marcus Shockley

    Kenny Anderson. The question was about excitement, not hype. Anderson was amazing.

  • http://frankieandthefonz.com Franco

    FELIPE LOPEZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Bryant

    Tim Thomas 6-10 handle like a guard post up could knock down 3’s if he had the drive could’ve been best player in the NBA as his bucks teammates used to say ask those high schools in NYC and around the country how good Tim was best player to ever come out of jersey

  • Dapro

    My man mentioned earlier, it’s Ronnie Fields! Partly because that’s all I have to go on is “what if” but his athleticism was Vince or better in his prime. He wasn’t the best player but by far the most exciting!

  • http://www.doinitinthepark.com Bobbito Garcia

    This question is impossible to ask someone who is only 30, 40, even 50 years old or younger, there is no way you could ever answer correctly, or you’d simply be speaking out your ***, haha. The Public School Athletic League in New York City was the first association in the country for high school, dates back over 100 years. So think of all the undocumented players, in any city or state, that we’ve never seen video of, never read about, never seen. Basically, saying “ever?” is purely a waste of time, because none of us can answer that correctly. More worthwhile is to ask “that you’ve seen?” cuz then it allows for personal opinion. If that’s the case, I’d say “Pearl” Washington at Boys High in Brooklyn back in the ’80s. Tim Hardaway bit his crossover in the ’90s, popularized it, then influenced every single guard’s handle since, bar none. unequivocal fact. None of you saw Wilt, Manigualt, Rick Mount, Kenny Anderson (maybe some of you did), Lew Alcindor, on and on in high school. If you did, you’re lying! haha. You probably haven’t even seen photos. So just talk about what you know, please, and let’s not disrespect our elders by bestowing some honor on a player that we truly have no idea if he was the most exciting or not.

    Just a humble opinion and shared with mucho respect . . .

  • http://www.geturweightup.com Chicagorilla


    Nuff said.

  • Ike

    poor soul* and definitely lebron. without a doubt. he was just THAT dude. Sebastian Telfair was also mad hyped up

  • 2cents

    #14 Bobbito beat me to it, but I saw a doco that the original goat, Earl Manigualt, was just unstoppable and entertaining as all hell in high school. Apparently he even had Lew Alcindor riding him.

  • Ali

    word up bob, should be the best, most exciting high school player YOU ever saw live and in person. you cannot get a true sense of how nice, gifted and exciting a player is just by youtube and espn highlights.

    like i said earlier, and i’ve seen many gifted high school cats, pearl and kenny stand out.

    and as crazy as it sounds, watching aquille get bizmark here in B-more is a similar experience. and i need to tell people straight up, do not comment on his game if you’ve just seen internet highlights. get to baltimore and if you’re lucky enough to get into a patterson game, you will experience emotions during the game that will baffle you. the kid is that gifted as a high school player.

  • K Dizzle

    The tape I seen of Kenny Anderson was pretty unreal. Dude was an ALPHA point n did it with flash

  • http://www.glidehoyas.blogspot.com Kent

    Wow no one ever said the late Chicagoan Ben Wilson! #1 player in the country when I was in high school got killed by a senseless punk!

  • Russ M

    As for most hyped, the hype surrounding Albert King rivaled anyone’s.

  • jdizzle

    I’ve never seen Ronie or KG live but my bro would tell me how they used to wreck shop at Farragut. As far as over-hyped (in Chicago at least) I would go with Eddy Curry, Sean Dockery and Leon Smith. Damn shame Smith turned out to be a fuckin nut-job

  • bresaniel

    Poor Soul .. Not “pour soul”.. i didn’t bother to say this..but now Dime has grammar and spelling errors almost every other day. Y’all goin’ backwards if you intend to make this publication a professional read.

    Onto your point about Eddie Griffin… he’s an absolute superstar in highschool… “Effortless” is the suitable terms to describe him. I saw him play in a tournament. Dude took off 1 step inside the free-throw line and threw it down..And this was not on a fast break. This was a half court set. Dude caught the ball, triple threat on the right side 3 point arc and then pulled a first-step on the defender to the left. 1 stride and took off. The whole crowd was shocked.

  • qbjjr

    IP, said it earlier, Schea Cotton was killing fools back in the day. He was mos def a MAN CHILD. He was on every magazine,sports show and news paper giving fools that 2 pc combo. special shout out to EK (Earnest Killum) RIP,you were a legend on and off the court