Rivals.com Basketball Recruiting Recruiting Analyst
Already the mass media is looking to grab on to the next "LeBron James." What the mass media really doesn't know is that James was the exception rather than the normal high school player who was considering a jump from the prep level to the NBA.
But most of you college basketball recruiting fans already know the deal regarding James, who is a terrific physical talent at his age. A player like James comes around every couple of decades.
But because of the hype surrounding James, it's likely a few more high school players will place their names into the June 2004 draft. Here is a look at some of the players who could take the plunge at the pot of gold:
Dwight Howard Power Forward 6-10, 225 Atlanta, GA Southwest Atlanta Christian HS
If he takes visits to college campuses, it's for a nice weekend out. Howard has said all the right things. He has stated he would like to go to college but won't rule out a jump if taken high in the 2004 draft. If he does jump, he will go among the top five picks.
Howard is physically capable and skilled enough to make the jump to the NBA. He would likely be the first player picked from the high school ranks. Howard completely dominated the ABCD adidas camp last July. He is humble too. Dwight works hard every day and would be a coaches' dream. So Howard has a lot of positives in his favor both on and off the court.
He is supposed to play for North Carolina next season. Don't bet on it just yet. Williams has impressed several NBA scouts with his physical skills and his relentless on the boards. The inside word from NBA scouts is Williams is highly valued because he possesses a big man's mentality too. His skills from the perimeter are also improving. If he jumps, he could go right after Howard or perhaps even above Howard.
Josh Smith Power Foward 6-8, 200 Powder Springs, GA McEachern HS
An outstanding athlete who will someday play the small forward position in the NBA. Smith, a lefty, plays like he is a seven-footer with his jumping jack skills. He is also much improved from the perimeter and has three-point range on his jumper. An exciting player who can hammer you with dunks and also soften up a zone with his jumpers. Smith has already committed to Indiana. Hoosier fans will be very nervous this spring when Smith starts thinking about his decision.
In our next article, we will take a look at some more candidates who are likely to take a look placing their names into the June 2004 NBA draft.