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High School Dream Teams

The US Olympic team played its first exhibition game on Thursday night.

Carmelo Anthony

F

New York Knicks / Syracuse

Kobe Bryant

G

Los Angeles Lakers / Lower Merion H.S. (PA)

Tyson Chandler

C

New York Knicks / Dominguez H.S. (CA)

Anthony Davis

G

New Orleans Hornets / Kentucky

Kevin Durant

G

Oklahoma City Thunder / Texas

James Harden

G

Oklahoma City Thunder / Arizona State

Andre Iguodala

G/F

Philadelphia 76ers / Arizona

LeBron James

F

Miami Heat / St. Vincent-St. Mary H.S. (OH)

Kevin Love

F

Minnesota Timberwolves / UCLA

Chris Paul

G

Los Angeles Clippers / Wake Forest

Russell Westbrook

G

Oklahoma City Thunder / UCLA

Deron Williams

G

Brooklyn Nets / Illinois

There has been a lot of discussion about how this Dream Team would have compared to the original Dream Team. And I love constructing all-star rosters and arguing about the merits of those rosters as much as the next basketball fan.

One of my favorite time-wasters is to compile all-college teams based on current NBA rosters. For example, I love to ask whether Kentucky’s NBA stars are better than the Kansas NBA stars. I love to ask whether Duke has finally eclipsed North Carolina with more NBA-caliber players.

But RealGM.com also has a fabulous database of high schools. And today I decided to see if I could construct an elite team based on any of the high schools the current Olympians have attended.

Let’s start with players who attended Kevin Durant’s Montrose Christian School. Here would be my starting five based on players who played in college (or would have been eligible to play in college) in the last decade.

All-Montrose Team

College

Kevin Durant

Texas

Greivis Vasquez

Maryland

Linas Kleiza

Missouri

Marvin Lewis

Georgia Tech

Mouphtaou Yarou

Villanova

Notes: Grevis Vasquez was a sensational passer in college and would be quite capable of running the show. Marvin Lewis wasn’t quite NBA material, but he was a solid three point shooter at Georgia Tech. Yarou has been a bit of a disappointment in college, but he would be a solid anchor in the middle.

Key Bench Sub: Nick George had a couple of fabulous years at VCU and probably deserves to start, but his dominance came before VCU became an NCAA power. While his team made the NCAA tournament in 2004 and took Wake Forest to the wire, his success mostly came under the radar. Florida St.’s Uche Echefu and Maryland’s Adrian Bowie also deserve recognition.

College fans keep an eye on: Isaiah Armwood is transferring from Villanova to George Washington and still has a chance to be a dominant college player in the A10. Paul Hewitt has shown an ability to feature star players and Armwood could be the next player featured in his system. Josh Hairston was a highly ranked recruit for Duke out of high school but has struggled to make a name for himself in two seasons as a backup forward.

I can’t quite put together a high school all-star team for LeBron James because St. Vincent – St. Mary’s is more of a traditional high school than a prep-to-pro factory. But even playing alongside Dayton’s Marcus Johnson and Akron’s Romeo Travis, I’m sure LeBron could hold his own in any pick-up game. The same could be said for Chris Paul’s West Forsyth High School, Anthony Davis’ Perspectives Charter School and Kobe Bryant’s Lower Merion High School Team (although Temple’s Ryan Brooks had a nice college career for a graduate of Kobe’s alma mater.)

Picking an all-star team for Carmelo Anthony’s is difficult for another reason. As I discussed a couple of weeks ago, no one churns out star college players like Oak Hill Academy. Of course the difficulty is that while there have been many college stars, there have been fewer NBA players to come out of the school.

All-Oak Hill Team

College

Carmelo Anthony

Syracuse

Rajon Rondo

Kentucky

Ty Lawson

North Carolina

Josh Smith

N/A

Nolan Smith

Duke

Notes: Let the criticism begin. My first dilemma with the All-Oak Hill squad was that the team lacks size beyond Josh Smith. While Oak Hill has been great at generating elite guards, the school hasn’t developed nearly as many dominant forwards. I gave serious consideration to former Mississippi St. guard Jamont Gordon because his college stat-line was so unbelievable. Gordon's 17 PPG, 5 APG, and 6 RPG showed why he had the athleticism to dominate at the college level. A 6’4” rebounding guard could be good enough in a pick-up game.

But Gordon’s poor decision to declare for the draft left a terrible taste in my mouth and I couldn’t put him in the starting lineup. Also, if you’d rather go back a few more years and take Tennessee’s Ron Slay, I wouldn’t argue with that either. If you want DeSagana Diop on the team, I think you just hate basketball. How has he played 11 years in the NBA?

The guard situation on the other hand is an embarrassment of riches. Do you prefer Kentucky’s Doron Lamb, Syracuse’s Eric Devendorf, or Connecticut’s Marcus Williams to the players I have listed? If you do, I won’t argue with you. But I gave the final slot to Nolan Smith because his senior season at Duke was historically prolific. He averaged 21 PPG and 5 APG. He had a 31% usage rate combined with a 114 ORtg. Even at Duke, that was historically special.

I don’t think North Carolina fans really appreciated how special Ty Lawson was until he was gone. Poor play and injuries at the point guard slot have hurt the team for the last three seasons. And while Rondo’s college stats were mediocre, his NBA career easily earns him a spot on this team.

Key Bench Sub: I haven’t mentioned Maryland’s Steve Blake yet. This team would have a plethora of options for the bench.

College fans keep an eye on: Scott Machado’s partner in the back-court LaMont Jones is back for his senior year at Iona. Duke’s Quinn Cook struggled with injuries last season, but many expect him to have a Nolan Smith-like career path for the Blue Devils.

Some schools tend to be known for only a pair of elite players. Deron Williams came out of the Colony Texas along with Indiana’s Bracey Wright, but if you remember the third best player to come out of that school in recent history, Baylor’s Matt Sayman, you deserve a gold star.

The same could be said of Kevin Love of Lake Oswego High School. Arizona’s Salim Stoudamire is the second big name to graduate from his high school, but the third name is less well known. Portland’s Ben Sullivan was a great college player, but only west coast fans got to see him tear it up in the WCC.

The same could be said of Andre Iguodala of Lanphier High School. Lanphier produced Illinois guard Rich McBride, but the third best player to come out of that high school in recent memory was Tennessee Tech’s Alfred Jones, Jr.

Finally, Russell Westbrook rounds out the schools that would depend on two big names. Leuzinger High School produced Westbrook and put Dorell Wright in the NBA out of high school. But Leuzinger has seen other players like Connecticut’s Donnell Beverly fail to deliver at the college level.

Tyson Chandler’s Dominquez High School hasn’t produced a huge number of elite players, but they could at least put together a dangerous looking starting lineup:

All Dominguez Team

College

Tyson Chandler

N/A

Tayshaun Prince

Kentucky

Patrick Christopher

California

Jordan Hamilton

Texas

Ellis Myles

Louisville

Notes:  Technically, Tayshaun Prince wouldn’t have been in college in the last decade, but I’m breaking that rule to keep this team relevant.

The biggest issue with this team is finding a point guard. Iowa’s Bryce Cartwright might be your choice, but he was never an efficient player in college. Washington St.’s Marcus Moore did rack up some assists from the wing, but his efficiency stats were even worse. So maybe you want to stick Austin Peay’s Derek Wright on the team and call it good, but he would clearly be the weak link. Louisville’s Ellis Myles was a pretty nice passer, one of Rick Pitino’s many point forwards who could set up at the free throw line and distribute, so I’m going to assume this team runs an unorthodox offense in order to keep its best players on the floor.

Key Bench Sub: Arizona St.’s Steve Moore would be the first guard off the bench.

Finally, James Harden’s high school has produced some solid players, but not enough to build a team competitive with those listed above. Artesia High School produced his college teammate at Arizona St. Derek Glasser and Nevada’s Malik Story. But Artesia was more well known for producing UCLA’s O’Bannon’s brothers in the 1990s and Jason Kapono.

 

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