Before getting to compete on the world’s most competitive basketball stage, aspiring hoopers hope to make a name for themselves in the high school ranks first. Even the great ones had humble beginnings where they started out as lanky high school ballers before becoming the bonafide NBA stars that they are today.
In hindsight, some high schools already consider themselves lucky to help send a lone talent to play in the NBA like Emsley A. Laney High School with Michael Jordan and Robert G. Cole High School with Shaquille O’Neal. However, a handful of prominent basketball programs were also able to successfully develop several of their players well enough to give them an opportunity to make noise in the big leagues.
Here are the top 10 high schools that produce the most NBA players:
10. Thomas Jefferson High School (10 players)
Thomas Jefferson High School was known for producing individuals who made it far in various fields including Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actor Jimmy Smits, Goldman Sachs chairperson Lloyd Blankfein, and former boxing heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe.
Roaming the same halls were a handful of successful NBA basketball players including Leroy Ellis, Sidney Green, Max Zaslofsky, and Jim McMillian. Unfortunately, the school was shut down back in 2007 after eighty-five successful of operation due to regressing graduation performances.
9. Proviso East High School (12 players)
Proviso East stands out for bannering the Chicago brand of basketball as one of the most successful high school basketball programs in Illinois over the years. The high school has produced NBA player Michael Finley, who successfully brought home a 1991 state championship and would later play for another Proviso alumnus in Doc Rivers for the Boston Celtics.
Jim Brewer, Steven Hunter, Shannon Brown, Sterling Brown, Dee Brown, round out the prominent names of players who made it to the NBA.
8. Overbrook High School (12 players)
One name comes to mind when mentioning Overbrook High School: the great Wilt Chamberlain. He won a couple of city championships and went on to raise the standard of how the game is being played especially in his home state of Pennsylvania. Chamberlain went on to spend the majority of his NBA career in the area after being selected by the then-Philadelphia Warriors followed by a stint with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Apart from him, Overbrook also developed several players who would go on and be tenured NBA veterans, namely Mike Gale, Walt Hazzard, Wayne Hightower, Wali Jones, and Malik Rose who all spent at least a decade playing in the league.
7. Henderson International School (12 players)
The Henderson International basketball program is more commonly known as Findlay Prep today, however, many regard it as its AAU program, rather than the academic institution itself. Findlay never came short of producing NBA-caliber players with their list being headlined by Tristan Thompson, Avery Bradley, Dillon Brooks, Kelly Oubre, Christian Wood, Cory Joseph, and Allonzo Trier.
6. Laurinburg Institute (13 players)
Located in Laurinburg, North Carolina, Laurinburg Institute allows post-graduates to play for its basketball program, the lone athletic program being provided by the school for its students. No current player came from the institution but its program has successfully molded two Hall of Famers in Sam Jones, who had 10 championship rings under his belt as well as Charlie Scott, a three-time All-Star in the NBA.
5. Hargrave Military Academy (14 players)
Similar to Laurinburg, Hargrave Military Academy produced a respectable coup of NBA players who all stemmed from the school’s post-graduate program. Familiar names include Montrezl Harrell, Terry Rozier, David West, Josh Howard and Marreese Speights.
4. Brewster Academy (14 players)
Brewster Academy is one of the most expensive high schools in America, with a bevy of facilities and prominent alumni to show for. Donovan Mitchell leads the list followed by Will Barton, Devonte’ Graham, T.J. Warren, and Thomas Robinson, among others.
3. DeMatha Catholic High School (18 players)
DeMatha Catholic High School not only boasts its basketball program but also showcases a renowned football program. The school remains to be one of the go-to institutions for aspiring athletes today. It produced Hall of Famer Adrian Dantley, Victor Oladipo, Markelle Fultz, along with Jerami and Jerian Grant who all successfully made noise in the NBA.
2. DeWitt Clinton High School (18 players)
DeWitt Clinton located within Bronx, New York was formerly the biggest high school in the world in the 1930s, with its student body exceeding 12,000 kids. Its modern student body numbers at around 14,000 with the slow progression in student population curbing its potential NBA graduates. Hall of Famers Tiny Archibald and Dolph Schayes headline the school’s list of alumni who made it to the big leagues.
1. Oak Hill Academy (33 players)
Still sitting atop the pinnacle of the high school ranks is Oak Hill Academy located in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia. The school has become the breeding ground for well-known players like Rajon Rondo, Quinn Cook, Brandon Jennings, Josh Smith, Jerry Stackhouse, and Ty Lawson. Another alumnus who hopes to make it to the NBA soon is Cole Anthony, son of former NBA veteran Greg Anthony.
However, among those names, perhaps the biggest success story that came from Oak Hill was 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony who once shared the court against LeBron James’ St.Vincent-St.Mary High School back in December 12, 2002 before they jumped to the pros and became the NBA icons that are recognized by many today.