The 25 Most Hyped High School Basketball Recruits Of All Time

Kobe Bryant (photo. McDonald’s All-American Games)

We all remember the players from high school that were the hyped uncontrollably, right? You know, the ones that were given notoriety few players at any level can match. From nationally televised games to documentaries, some were given the red carpet treatment even before they attended their senior prom. There are the ones who lived up to it and, well, the ones that fall short.

We’ve had plenty more busts than LeBrons. For every Wilt or Kobe, there’s been at least one Telfair or Kwame. Here are 25 of the most hyped high school basketball prospects we’ve ever seen.

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The “Jewish Jordan” is what Sports Illustrated dubbed him as back when he was a global phenom. Averaging 35 points per game, Tamir Goodman was on his way to stardom… or at least that’s what we thought. After being offered a scholarship by Maryland, he had to turn it down due to scheduling and religious conflicts. He later attended Towson, where he didn’t really pan out and later left to play overseas. While Tamir was overseas, he was derailed by numerous injuries.

For 20 years, McMillen held the record for the most high school points scored in the state of Pennsylvania with 3,608 points. While at Mansfield High, he averaged over 35 points a game for his entire high school career, including 47 a game as a senior. That earned him a cover story in Sports Illustrated and a scholarship to Maryland where he would leave as the all-time scoring average leader. McMillen went on to play 12 seasons in the NBA until 1986 but never averaged double-figures.

How can anybody forget the imaginary horns that D-Miles uses to throw up back in the day? Straight out of East St. Louis High School, the 6-9 high school prodigy was an athletic specimen ready to make noise in the league. Drafted in the 2000 NBA Draft after putting on a show in numerous high school all-star games — he was so spectacular that Michael Jordan endorsed the Clippers taking him near the top of the draft — he made the All-Rookie team and slowly made a name for himself before injuries caught up with him. After numerous trades and injuries, Darius never delivered what we were hoping he would as a potential star. Bummer.

Renardo Sidney was once the No. 1 player in his class by far. He had the skills to really take his game to another level and flourish but his erratic behavior got the best of him. In high school, he coasted and didn’t improve the way a kid of his size and skill should’ve. Then once he got to college, Sidney was ruled ineligible for the 2009-2010 seasons due to the NCAA questioning his family’s income. Once Renardo was ruled eligible, he was suspended for a game for an outburst in practice. Then Renardo managed to get nationwide publicity, not for his stats but his brawl with fellow teammate Elgin Bailey in Maui. It seemed everywhere Sidney went trouble followed. There was no telling what could have been if he got his mind right.

New Jersey-bred Derrick Character was definitely a player that had all the potential in the world but couldn’t connect the dots. Character was considered a big deal ever since he stepped foot on the court as a freshman. In fact, he was getting pub in middle school. Unlike most phenonms that don’t live up to the hype, Derrick’s situation was different. It was his attitude and a lack of effort that played a big part in him never reaching full potential, and the seeds of that were planted in high school where by the end of his career he was getting dominated by many of the country’s best power players. Once he got to college, he always seemed to find himself in the doghouse with Rick Pitino, which resulted in him transferring to UTEP. After a career at UTEP, he then decided to head for the NBA but his old ways caught up with him. After that he had stints with the NBDL and overseas but never panned out.

More than a decade ago, many people were predicting that Lenny Cooke would be the biggest thing to come out of high school. Possessing a physique and skill level that few people can dream of, Lenny Cooke was on his way to stardom, becoming the most hyped and herald recruit in his class. Although that was true, Lenny Cooke’s ego destroyed his chances of ever fulfilling that prophecy. The inflated ego he inherited from numerous publications tabbing him as the next “Big Thing” was vital in his downfall. Living the life of an NBA All-Star eventually caught up with him, and his improvement plateaued. From there, problems with eligibility plagued his opportunities. Once mentioned with the likes of LeBron, you can only imagine what he could have been.