There have been plenty of arguments over the past twenty years as to whether or not high school graduates should be able to leap right into the man's world of the NBA. While some like LeBron James and Dwight Howard were ready right out of the gates, others like Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady needed some time to become accustomed to the demands of the pro game before growing into Hall Of Fame talent.
Players such as Shawn Kemp, Brandon Jennings, Emmanuel Mudiay and most recently Thon Maker, found themselves either skipping the college game but still set foot on campus or made their way into the professional world via the overseas option straight out of their high school proms.
Many fans and critics are torn as to whether allowing high school stars into the play for pay world is in the best interest of the game or if there should be an increased requirement for young players to spend at least two years in the college or overseas leagues before signing their first NBA contract. Whether it's right or wrong, the era of prep to pro during the late 90s through the early 2000s was a part of NBA history.
44 Kevin Garnett - Host Of NBA Show Area 21
Drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1995 with the fifth pick, Garnett bid his time on the Wolves bench for the first half of the season before being entered into the starting lineup and from there the rest is history. If you needed a bucket, KG could get it in a variety of ways. Need someone to bring up the ball and set up the offense, KG had handles. Need a big stop, how about a nine time member of the NBA All-Defensive squad.
After a dozen years in Minnesota, Garnett would be traded to the Boston Celtics where in his first season he would capture his first and only NBA Championship. Following an uneventful two year stint in Brooklyn, "The Big Ticket" would return home to finish his career in a Timberwolves jersey. Currently the host of Area 21 as part of the TNT NBA broadcast, Garnett has also been seen mentoring various current NBA stars.
43 Kobe Bryant - Kobe Inc./Mentor
One record that Michael Jordan or probably any other future NBA player won't touch that belongs completely to Bryant is his 20 years in the same jersey. Drafted by the Charlotte Hornets in 1996 and immediately traded to the LA Lakers for Vlade Divac, Bryant would become arguably one of the top three greatest Laker players in team history. One of the most loved to hate and hated to love players to ever play in the NBA, Bryant helped the Lakers to five titles, including a three-peat and a back to back.
After hanging up his "Kobe Brand" kicks at the end of the 2015-16 season following a 60 point effort in his final game, Bryant has juggled his free time between Kobe Inc., mentoring incoming rookies and welcoming his third child into the family.
42 Jermaine O'Neal - Big 3 League
For four years many wondered if O'Neal would ever get off the Blazers bench and while he did average double digit minutes with Portland, most of them were meaningless. During the offseason of 2000-01, O'Neal was moved to Indiana and a star was born. Instantly O'Neal turned from being a bench player into a starter with meaningful stats and for six straight years played at an All-Star level. While still posting elite numbers, injuries began to limit appearances and O'Neal's value to the Pacers, who eventually traded their power forward to Toronto.
O'Neal would put on four more different jerseys during the course of his 18 year career in the NBA before retiring in 2014. O'Neal hasn't completely walked away from the game as he's currently suiting up for the Tri-State team in the Big3 League.
41 Tracy McGrady - Retired
After playing sparingly for his first two seasons, it wasn't until his third year that McGrady would receive enough minutes to show his talents. By then it was too late as the Florida native returned back home to play for the Orlando Magic and play under the spotlight. Tagged by many of the greatest to play the game as one of the most explosive and toughest to guard, McGrady was never able to lead a team past the first round of the NBA playoffs, raising many to question his leadership abilities.
While he was fortunate enough to sign with the San Antonio Spurs for their playoff run to the 2013 NBA Finals, McGrady only played in six games during that span and hardly got off the bench.
40 Shaun Livingston - NBA Player With Golden State Warriors
After suffering one of the most gruesome injuries in sports history, Livingston turned tragedy into triumph as he currently sports two NBA Championship rings and is primed to capture his third as a member of the Golden State Warriors.
After the Clippers selected Livingston to be their version of Magic Johnson, the 6'7" point guard fell short of lofty expectations during his first two seasons with the team, but started to pick up his game during his third year. Then came February 26, 2007, a night that changed Livingston's life for ever. As a free agent, Livingston would start making the rounds, signing with the Miami Heat and then OKC, Washington, Charlotte, Milwaukee, Washington, Cleveland, Brooklyn and eventually what seems to be his perfect fit with the Warriors. While his injury stole some of his athleticism, Livingston has found his way with the Warriors bench rotation.
38 Rashard Lewis - Big 3 League
Currently a member of the 3 Headed Monsters of the Big3 League, Lewis at one point in his NBA career was one of the league's most exciting scorers despite being selected in the second round of the 1998 Draft by the Seattle Sonics. After playing his first nine years in Seattle, Lewis left the team as a free agent in the summer of 2007 to sign as a free agent with the Orlando Magic. Teaming up with Dwight Howard, another prep to pro star, Lewis helped lead the Magic to their second ever trip to the NBA Finals, but fell short to the LA Lakers.
After a stop in Washington and one in New Orleans, Lewis would sign a free agent deal with the Miami Heat and while he didn't do much damage offensively, it was his efforts on the other end of the court that earned praise. Lewis would walk away from the game in the summer of 2014 as nagging injuries had taken their toll.
37 Korleone Young - Mentoring Youth/Book
Three games, 15 minutes and 13 points. That was the extent of the former Detroit Pistons forward NBA career. While the Pistons didn't really have much to lose in selecting the Hargrave Military Academy grad with the 40th pick in the second round of the 1998 Draft, Young still managed to sign his name to a NBA contract.
After being let go by the Pistons, Young had one more crack at the league with the 76'ers Summer League squad before finding himself floating through the minor leagues and overseas. Young is currently working with young basketball hopefuls back in his hometown of Wichita, Kansas and in the process of writing a book outlining life as a "One and Done" prospect.
36 Jonathan Bender - Creator Of The JB Intensive Trainer
As the fifth pick in the 1999 Draft, the Toronto Raptors fans had hoped that they were adding a hybrid of Kevin Garnett and Tracy McGrady to their roster. However, before Bender even put on a Raptors jersey he was traded to the Indiana Pacers, where he would play for seven of his eight years in the league. Unfortunately for Bender, the hype never really matched the output as he really only found his way during his junior season in the league before injuries started to take their toll and even with one final effort during the 2009-2010 season in New York, Bender needed to start preparing for life after basketball.
With $30 million in his pocket, life could have been easy street for the once hoped high school star. However, instead of sitting back and watching the world pass him by, Bender put in time, money and effort into developing the JB Intensive Trainer, a device that assists with knee and leg rehabilitation.
35 Leon Smith - Retired
Standing 6'10", Smith was a man among boys during his time at Martin Luther King High School, leading the Chicago native to believe that he was ready for the world of professional basketball. Selected by the San Antonio Spurs with the 29th pick in the 1999 Draft, one would have thought that with all the patience that organization shows for it's overseas draftees that Smith may have had a chance.
That patience was short-lived as Smith was traded to the Dallas Mavericks, a team in which he never played a game for due to mental medial issues. Fortunately for Smith his NBA dreams weren't completely squashed as both the Atlanta Hawks and Seattle Sonics both gave him a chance between 2002-2004, sandwiching various minor league stops. Last word on Smith was he was under contract to play in Argentina with Estudiantes de Bahia Blanca in 2007.
34 Darius Miles - Bankruptcy
At the time Miles was drafted third overall in 2000, the LA Clippers had made the lanky forward in the mold of Kevin Garnett, the highest draft pick ever for a high schooler. While Miles helped make the Clippers an entertaining group, alongside Corey Maggette, Lamar Odom and Quentin Richardson, Lob City lite did not amount to any playoff success. After leaving LA, life took a turn for the worse for Miles as conflict with coaches, injuries and suspensions turned all of his potential into red flags for any team wanting to acquire him.
34 games in 2008-09 with the Memphis Grizzlies would be the last time fans saw the St. Louis native on the court, but with recent legal issues and bankruptcy claims, Miles would find himself in a different court for all the wrong reasons.
33 DeShawn Stevenson - Big 3 League
Of the few prep to pro players on this list who have claimed an NBA Championship, Stevenson may be the least well known. Selected by the Utah Jazz with the 23rd pick in the 2000 Draft, the former Kansas Jayhawks recruit played over a dozen years in the league, suiting up for six different teams. After learning the ropes during his first three seasons in Utah, Stevenson started to find his niche during his fourth year with the Jazz and then during his time as a part of the starting unit with the Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards.
Although is offensive game would fall off, Stevenson became known for his defensive talents later in his career. After retiring following the 2016 season, Stevenson would return to the game as part of the Big3 league.
31 Monta Ellis - Free Agent
A five star recruit out of Jackson, Mississippi, Ellis had to wait until the second round of the 2005 Draft before being picked up by the Golden State Warriors. Like many young rookies, Ellis had to earn his time during his first season, coming off the bench and playing just over half a season. However for the next ten years, Ellis would not only be part of the starting five, but at the same time also averaged more than 17 PPG during that streak. As one of the best pure scorers in the league, Ellis has played a key role on each of the four teams he has suited up for over the past dozen years.
While his scoring has slipped during the past two seasons in Indiana, Ellis still remains a threat with the rock, averaging 45% FG and 31% 3-PT over the course of his career. Although Indiana recently just waived him, you know a team like Golden State or Cleveland would just love to add another gunner.
30 Tyson Chandler - NBA Player With The Suns
Originally drafted by the LA Clippers as the second pick in the 2001 Draft, Chandler was quickly traded to Chicago for their young power forward Elton Brand. With two high school forwards on their roster, many were wondering what the Bulls management were thinking, but at the same time worried about how to deal with the young twin towers when they matured.
Unfortunately such wasn't the case, at least until Chandler ended up being traded to New Orleans, where he finally became the player everyone expected. More of a threat defensively than with the ball, Chandler helped the 2010-11 Dallas Mavericks to their first NBA Championship. Currently under contract with the Phoenix Suns for two more seasons, Chandler is now used more as a mentor for the Suns young roster.
29 Eddy Curry - Champions Basketball League
Teaming with Chandler as part of the "Baby Bulls" when he first came into the league, Curry despite all his talents and tenure, failed to live up to expectations regardless of where he played. Drafted by Chicago with the fourth pick in the 2001 Draft, Curry took his expected lumps during his rookie season with the Bulls, but then started to come into his own during his sophomore year and for the next five years split between Chicago and New York.
However, a series of off-court troubles combined with on-court laziness led to Curry's quick fall from potential stardom as he struggled to maintain his level of success. Although he has an NBA ring to his credit, his limited time off of the Miami Heat bench didn't really scream "contributor". After retiring from the game in 2013, Curry is now preparing to take part in the Champions Basketball League set to tip off this fall.
28 DeSagana Diop - Coaching Staff For Utah Jazz
One of the more offensively challenged high school draftees, Diop still managed to carve out a dozen years in the league based on his defensive abilities. As part of the 2001 Draft that saw four other high school players enter the pay to play, Diop was picked up by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the eighth pick. In an era that saw big men who clog the paint being still a thing, Diop convinced four different teams that he was worthy of a roster spot, even though he only averaged two points per game and less than four RPG coming off of the bench in limited minutes.
After finishing his career in Charlotte, Diop turned to the sidelines as part of the coaching staff, both in the Development League and most recently as part of the Utah Jazz organization.
27 Ousmane Cisse - Retired
Unless you're a basketball diehard, not many know who Cisse is or was during his stint in the big league. Drafted by the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the 2001 Draft, Cisse never stepped foot on an NBA floor for a regular season game.
Known more for his defensive presence than offensively, Cisse struggled to grasp the NBA concepts. Despite being given an opportunity by the Orlando Magic and the Toronto Raptors to make their roster, Cisse made his basketball living as part of the Harlem Globetrotters, the USBL and various teams overseas. In 2010, Cisse was last seen playing with the Etendard De Brest in France. Credit the NBA bust for getting his career going away from the league, even that meant going overseas to pursue the dream.
26 Amar'e Stoudemire - Israeli League
He made the rounds as a high school prodigy, playing at five different high schools before graduating from Cypress Creek in Orlando and then declaring for the 2002 NBA Draft. Listed at 6'10", 245lbs, Stoudemire was a man-child when he entered the league and from the time he stepped on the floor as a rookie for the Phoenix Suns, he played like he physically belonged with grown men.
As the first ever high school player to be honored with the NBA Rookie Of The Year award, Stoudemire was best known as part of the seven seconds or less Suns team that captivated the NBA during the early part the 2000s. After leaving Phoenix for the Big Apple, Stoudemire was under the spotlight by Knicks fans during his four and a half seasons with the team, failing to take them to a championship level.
After finishing his NBA career in Miami, Stoudemire headed overseas to play in the Israeli League where he recently helped his team to the 2017 championship.
25 LeBron James - NBA Superstar For The Cavaliers
At only 32 years old, James gives the impression that he physically could easily play another decade of ball. Coming out of St. Vincent-St. Mary in 2003, the hometown Cavaliers grabbed young games with the first pick overall and unless you have been living under a rock, you pretty much know all there is about the Akron native.
Championships, MVPs, All-NBA teams, All-Star teams, Olympic gold medalist, the list of accomplishments is endless. Unfortunately for James, all of what he has done and potentially will do gets compared to that other #23 guy and forever will he live in the shadow. With rumors flying that James is potentially eyeing a move to Hollywood, the 2017-18 season for the Cavaliers appears to be a must win if they hope to keep their hero at home.
24 Travis Outlaw - Elite 25 Basketball Camp
When Outlaw entered the NBA as the 23rd pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, the Portland Trail Blazers had just parted with a former prep to pro pick, Jermaine O'Neal a couple of years prior. Over the course of six and a half years in Portland, Outlaw turned himself into a solid option off of the bench, despite a rocky start to his NBA career.
After a mid-season trade to the Clippers (at a time with the Clippers still stunk), Outlaw's production started to hit the downward slope. Four years and three teams later and the Mississippi combo forward would find himself on the outside of the league looking in. Although Outlaw has had a couple of reported minor altercations with the law, he still holds his annual Elite 25 Basketball Camp in his hometown during the summer.
23 Ndudi Ebi - Iranian Basketball League
Currently playing with Shahrdari Tabriz in the Iranian Basketball League, Ebi was the Minnesota Timberwolves second prep to pro draft selection. Unfortunately, unlike Kevin Garnett, Ebi's run with the Wolves and the NBA lasted only two seasons and 19 games. Selected 26th overall in the 2003 Draft, Ebi struggled to gain a grasp on the NBA playbook and lifestyle at such a young age.
After being let go by Minnesota in 2005, the Dallas Mavericks gave the young forward a shot during the preseason of 2006, before waiving him before the start of the regular season. Since leaving the NBA, Ebi has continued to follow his pro dreams, suiting up for 19 different teams in various leagues and countries since leaving the US in 2006.
22 Kendrick Perkins - Free Agent
He may have had the meanest mug in the modern day history of the NBA, but teammates have gone on record regarding how well liked Perkins was in each of the four locker rooms he was part of during his 13 years in the league. While there were very few offensive game plans run with Perkins in mind, the Texas native was the defensive presence in the paint that teams hated to play against, but loved to have.
Some Celtics fans swear that their team would have won two rings in 2008 and 2010 had their big man not gone down to a knee injury. Currently without a team, Perkins was hoping to continue his NBA career this season, with mention of a number of teams interested in his defensive abilities and presence in the locker room.
21 James Lang - Career Ending Injury
Drafted by the New Orleans Hornets (Pelicans) with the 48th pick in the 2003 Draft, Lang never actually stepped foot onto an NBA court for a league game until the 2006-07 season when he was under contract by the Washington Wizards. Prior to signing with the Wizards, Lang had attempted to crack the roster of the Hornets, Utah Jazz and Toronto Raptors, but failed with each stop.
Although he can lay claim to suiting up for the Wizards, his court time was limited to 11 games and 55 minutes, before once again being waived. After bouncing through the minor league circuit for a couple more years, Lang would unfortunately end up suffering an injury that would leave him partially paralyzed.
20 Dwight Howard - NBA Superstar For The Charlotte Hornets
He has had countless opportunities to be the face of four different franchises (and now on to his fifth) during his thirteen years in the league and should have taken the torch as the most dominant big man in the league, but even with a resume filled with accolades, it seems as though D12 has fallen short of where fans expected him to be with his career.
With career averages of 17.5 PPG and nearly 13 RPG, Howard has all the natural athletic gifts, but has come up short of being able to carry a franchise on his broad shoulders to a championship. Recently traded by his hometown Atlanta Hawks to the Charlotte Hornets, it seems as though Howard will be one of the NBA greats to finish his career without a ring.
19 Al Harrington - Big 3 League
"Baby Al" made a 16 year career for himself in the NBA after jumping to the pro game right out of St. Patrick High School as the Indiana Pacers 25th pick in the 1998 Draft. While he was never honored with it, there was a period in which Harrington was playing at an All-Star level for the Atlanta Hawks, and New York Knicks. As one of the best scoring forwards in the league during the early 2000s, Harrington finished his NBA career with seven NBA jerseys in his closet.
In 2014, Harrington took his talents overseas for two years before officially retiring from the game. Currently playing in the Big3 league with Trilogy, it still appears that Baby Al knows how to put the ball in the bucket.
17 Robert Swift - Return To Basketball
There was optimism in Seattle when the Sonics drafted the 7'1" California native with the 12th pick in the 2004 Draft. While his rookie season was near non-existent, his second year showed some potential as an increase in minutes and games resulted in slightly more meaningful contribution. However from that point in his life, everything went downhill. A series of knee injuries limited his NBA career to only four seasons, which was the least of his problems.
Numerous issues with alcohol, drugs, weapons and police have seen Swift arrested for various different offenses, including a very disturbing matter in 2013 and 2014 when Swift was found to be living a less than ideal home life. After hitting rock bottom, Swift has attempted to regain some order in his life, most recently seen trying out for the Santa Cruz Warriors.
16 Sebastian Telfair - Court Battles/CBA League
The New York point guard prodigy entered the NBA as the Portland Trail Blazers 13th overall pick in the 2004 Draft and their second straight high school to pro selection. Instead of taking his talents to Louisville where he had originally committed to play his post secondary ball, Telfair entered the pay to play circuit. With a lengthy list of individual high school accolades, the Brooklyn product spent ten years in the NBA, suiting up for eight different teams, apparently never really finding a way to wow management enough to keep him, but playing just well enough for other management to be willing to trade or sign him.
After his final season in the NBA, which amounted to sixteen games with the OKC Thunder in 2014-15, Telfair would head overseas to play in the Chinese Basketball Association, but has failed to mirror the same success in the CBA that his cousin Stephon Marbury has reached. Recently, Telfair has once again found himself in trouble with the police as he faces multiple charges for weapons possession.
15 Al Jefferson - NBA Player With The Indiana Pacers
Once ranked the top big man coming out of high school, Jefferson was set to be a member of the Arkansas Razorbacks roster before declaring for the 2004 Draft. It wasn't until his third season in Boston that Jefferson's talents started to really shine as he took advantage of injuries to gain additional playing time.
For the next eight years split between Boston, Minnesota, Utah and Charlotte, Jefferson was a nightly double double threat. Currently entering the second year of a three year contract with the Indiana Pacers, Jefferson anchors the second unit while playing mentor to young Myles Turner.
14 Josh Smith - CBA League
"J-Smoove" was last seen playing for the Sichuan Blue Whales in the CBA during the 2016-17 season. After playing high school ball for the legendary Oak Hill Academy and with one of the most dominant AAU teams in history, the Atlanta Celtics, Smith was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks with the 17th pick in the 2004 Draft.
Considering the Hawks were horrible during Smith's rookie season, he received a generous amount of minutes and played 74 games in his first year. Becoming a full-time starter in his second season, Smith became a focal point of the Hawks offense for the next eight years. Before heading overseas, Smith would wind up playing for three different teams (including two stops in Houston) during his final three years in the league.
13 J.R. Smith - NBA Players With The Cleveland Cavaliers
Earl Joseph Smith III has never met a shot that he didn't like and chances are if he did, he would still try to jack it up anyways. After lighting up the McDonald's All-American Game, Smith declared for the NBA and was nabbed up by the New Orleans Hornets with the 18th pick in the 2004 Draft. Although the team was coached by tough as nails Byron Scott, Smith still managed to produce a reasonable stat line for his first two years in the league.
However, when he was traded to the Denver Nuggets in 2006, Smith found the green light to be even brighter and when he relocated to New York in 2011, it was like a spotlight! Often a fan favorite because of his ability to shoot a team into a game, Smith has also been known to shoot his squad out of one just as quickly. Currently playing out a four year deal, which he signed in the fall of 2016 with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Smith is coming off his worst shooting season since his rookie year.
12 Dorell Wright - Failed NBA Tryout
With his younger brother Delon a member of the Toronto Raptors, Dorell still has NBA ties, but after being out of the league for the past two years, chances of a return are minimal. Although he had intended to attend DePaul, the California small forward decided to declare for the 2004 Draft in which he was selected by the Miami Heat with the 19th pick.
After six years in South Beach, it wasn't until Wright signed a free agent contract with the Golden State Warriors that his talents were really on display as it was the 2010-11 season that showed his first and only playing and starting every game of the season and averaging 16 PPG, 5 RPG and 3 APG. Wright would play one more years in the Bay Area before finishing his career out with a season in Philadelphia and two years in Portland. Before the start of the 2016-17 season, Wright took one last crack at an NBA contract, falling short of making the LA Clippers roster.
11 Martell Webster - Rap Album
How cool would it be to play pro basketball just down the road from where you graduated high school? Okay, maybe not down the road, but friends and family of Webster just had to jump on the highway for three hours for a chance to watch the Seattle native run with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Drafted with the sixth pick in the 2005 Draft, Webster turned from being a McDonald's All-American into an NBA dream in the matter of months. While he would come off the bench for most of his career, leading the second unit, Webster's time in the league was cut short as injuries riddled his time in Portland, Minnesota and Washington. After retiring from the game, Webster turned to another passion, rap music, releasing his EP album Emerald District.
10 Andrew Bynum - Retired
It's amazing how a back-to-back NBA Champion on the verge of stardom can fall so far, so quickly. Drafted by the Lakers with the tenth pick in the 2005 Draft, Bynum was pegged to be the next great big man in "La La land". Although he would only play a full season once in his career, the big man from New Jersey started to become a focal point for the Lakers in his third year in the league and for the next four seasons despite missing a minimum of twenty games a year, was on the verge of fulfilling expectations.
Although he had become an All-Star, the Lakers decided to part with Bynum as part of the three team trade that brought Dwight Howard to Hollywood and Andre Igudala to Denver. Unfortunately for all three teams, that trade failed on a number of accounts. After never actually playing for the 76ers, Bynum, as a result of injury and stupidity found himself moving to three different teams during his final season in the league. Proclaiming that he didn't really care much about basketball, Bynum hasn't been seen near a court since leaving the Indiana Pacers organization.
9 Gerald Green - NBA Player For Boston Celtics
While most fans know Green for his highlight-worthy dunks, the 18th pick from the 2005 Draft has worked hard to be known for more than just his ability to jump and slam the ball through the hoop.
As with many rookies, especially those straight out of prom, Green had his struggles during his rookie season, finding himself riding the pine and playing in the D-League. Those same struggles continued for the next four years and three different teams as Green fought to keep up with expectations. After taking a leave from the NBA, Green returned and resumed his NBA career in 2011-12 with a new found maturity and understanding of the game. While he still put on highlight dunks, there was more polish to his offensive game. While he had to make four more stops before returning to the Celtics, it looks like Green has finally found a home.
8 C.J. Miles - NBA Player For Indiana Pacers
It's rare that second round picks receive guaranteed contracts out of the gate and even more rare when their for more than a single season, but the Utah Jazz felt that Miles was going to be worth the money when they signed the 34th pick from the 2005 Draft. Aside from one year with the Jazz in which Miles was part of the starting rotation, the hybrid guard/forward from Texas has been part of the second five and primarily a sixth man for the Jazz, Cavaliers and currently with the Indiana Pacers.
Entering the final year of his four year, $18 million deal, Miles has put together a string of three solid seasons with the Pacers and at only 30 years old, he still has enough gas left in the tank to warrant one final contract in the league after next season.
7 Ricky Sanchez - Mexico Pro League
The 6'11" forward from Puerto Rico was drafted out of IMG Academy with the 35th pick in the 2005 Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers. The same night that the Blazers gave Sanchez a draft cap, they quickly traded his rights to the Denver Nuggets.
Although he was still part of their franchise, Sanchez would never suit up for the Nuggets as he split his time between the D-League and the top league in his home town of Puerto Rico. The myth of Sanchez was then traded three more times over the span of 2007 to 2013. Currently playing with Fuerza Regia in Mexico's pro league, it appears the Sanchez will never see an NBA court, but his name still carries some fame.
6 Kwame Brown - Big 3 League
Fans of the first ever high school player to be selected as the top overall selection in the NBA Draft can still catch their favorite player in action as part of the 3 Headed Monsters in the Big3 League. Highly touted coming out of Glynn Academy in Georgia, Brown was given the horrific honor of being Michael Jordan's first ever draft pick during his stint as the Washington Wizards President. Through countless stories, the end result was both Brown and Jordan failed each other. While Jordan would go on to a life with the Charlotte Hornets, Brown would find himself playing for six more teams during his dozen years in the league.
Despite his lack of success equal to that of his projected potential, Brown can at least thank Anthony Bennett for taking over the mantel as the biggest bust for a number one draft pick in league history.
4 Louis Williams - NBA Player For Los Angeles Clippers
Some may know Lou Williams as one of the best sixth man in the league, others may tip their hat to him for his relationship with Blonde and Brown (formerly his two girlfriends).
After being drafted by the Philadelphia 76'ers with the 45th pick in the 2005 Draft, Williams had his predicted rookie season issues, playing in just 30 games and hardly seeing any floor time. His sophomore season found his stat line double across the board, but while there were improvements, the struggle to create an identity remained.
Something just clicked during the 2007-08 season and Williams has hardly looked back as he put together a string of ten straight seasons averaging double digit points and becoming an instant threat for buckets off the bench. After being traded by the Lakers to the Rockets last season, Williams has once again found himself back in Hollywood, but this time in a different locker room as part of the Clippers Chris Paul deal with Houston.
3 Andray Blatche - CBA League
For the past three years, Blatche has been dropping a 20 and ten stat line on opponents. Unfortunately, it has been in the CBA, not the NBA, where the New York native made his debut in 2005. Drafted by the Washington Wizards with the 49th pick, the South Kent School graduate had a rough start to his rookie season as a result of an unfortunate car jacking and shooting incident. As Blatche became more accustomed to the NBA ways, his game-set and contributions to the Wizards and what would be his final team in the NBA, the Brooklyn Nets would prove to be more valuable.
After taking a chance by opting out of his contract and entering free agency in the summer of 2014, Blatche struggled to find suitors in the NBA and headed overseas.
2 Amir Johnson - NBA Player For The Philadelphia 76ers
It wasn't until a series of off-season trades during the 2009-10 season that Johnson would end up in Toronto that his talents would be appreciated. As the last prep to pro draftee before the new NBA rule, Johnson was selected by the Detroit Pistons with the 56th pick in the 2005 Draft.
Not to be confused with an offensive threat, Johnson's calling has been his blue collar work ethic that made him a valuable member to the Raptors resurgence and a valued member of the Boston Celtics return to relevance. Entering the summer of '17 as a free agent, Johnson recently signed a one year, $11 million contract with the Philadelphia 76ers, another club looking for a handyman to help rebuild.
1 Darryl Dawkins/Bill Willoughby - Retired
The godfathers of the prep to pro route, "Chocolate Thunder" was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers with the fifth pick in the 1975 Draft. While Willoughby had to wait until the Atlanta Hawks picked him up with the 19th pick.
Both big men had relatively successful individual careers in the league at that time, considering they were drafted straight out of high school, however of the two, Dawkins was the more well known, especially for his dunking ability. While both lasted at least eight years in the league, neither would live up to their potential despite what took place in that they made the jump straight from high school.