15 NBA High School Drafts Who Busted
The NBA is filled with super star athletes. Some are better than others, but they all had to prove their worth on the big stage. Many high school players have dreams of being in the NBA and some of them may have the talent to achieve that goal, but not everyone can play at the professional level. There are a lot of guys who were expected to be a big names straight out of high school in the NBA and failed to perform at the level expected of them. The following players were expected to be great NBA players, but were complete bust.
Kwame Brown Kwame Brown was predicted to be one of the greats in when he was drafted to the NBA. He was consistently rated the “best high school player” in his class across the nation. He was drafted No. 1 overall straight out of Glenn Academy High School by the Washington Wizards in 2001. Brown showed immaturity on and off the court and averaged 4.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game his rookie year. He was traded to several teams before quitting basketball in 2013.
Jonathan Bender Jonathan Bender graduated from Picayune Memorial High School and went straight to the NBA, despite a verbal commitment to Mississippi State. He was selected as the 5th overall pick by the Toronto Raptors, but was immediately traded to the Indiana Pacers. Bender’s time as a Pacer seemed promising as he was the first straight out of high school player to score in the double digits on his NBA debut. However, a right knee injury caused him to sit out more games than he played. Bender ended his career with the Knicks after playing only 25 games with them in the 2009-2010 season.
Darryl Dawkins After an incredible high school basketball run at Maynard Evans High School and winning a state championship his senior year, Dawkins was drafted No. 5 overall by the Philadelphia 76ers. In the NBA he did not live up to expectations. He set a record for most personal fouls in a season (386 in 1983-1984), but he became more famous for his powerful dunks. Dawkins played for four teams in NBA before going overseas in 1989. Injuries and sub-par performance on the court puts him on this list for being a bust.
Robert Swift Robert Swift is a lesser known player, because he was such a big bust in the NBA. He caught the attention of NBA scouts while he was at Garces Memorial High School and later at Bakersfield High School. While in high school he was ranked in the top 25 high school players by USA Today. He was selected in the first round as the 12th pick by the Seattle Supersonics in 2004. In his first season with the Supersonics, Swift played 16 games, averaging 4.5 minutes with 0.9 points, 0.4 rebounds, and 0.4 blocks per game. Though he improved exponentially under Bob Hill in his second season, he was forced to leave the NBA due to injuries and was out of the league by 2009.
Eddy Curry Eddy Curry was one of the most hyped players in the NBA to come straight out of high school. He attended Thornwood High School in Illinois. In 2001 Curry was selected 4th overall by the Chicago Bulls. Curry’s medical and personal issues thwarted his growth and chances of having a prominent career in the NBA. He had heart problems, was accused of sexual harassment, and dealt with the murder of his ex-girlfriend and daughter. His ex-girlfriend’s attorney and possible boyfriend was convicted of the murders.
Ndudi Ebi Ndudi Ebi attended Westbury Christian High School, before being drafted into the NBA. He committed to the University of Arizona, but reneged after becoming eligible for the NBA draft. The Minnesota Timberwolves drafted him in 2003 with the 26th overall pick. Ebi played just 19 games over two seasons. The Timberwolves tried to send him to their development league team. But the NBA did not approve the transfer. Later the Timberwolves released Ebi. He never made it back to the NBA.
Bill Willoughby Bill Willoughby was the first player drafted in the second round of the 1975 draft by the Atlanta Hawks but ended up playing for six teams over eight years. Bill was drafted straight out of Dwight Morrow High School in New Jersey. He was the youngest player to play in the NBA. That may have been the reason why he didn’t last. He gained slight fame in a postseason game with the Houston Rockets for being one of a few to block Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s “skyhook.” Other than that, Bill Willoughby was a bust.
Korleone Young Korleaon Young was a basketball star at Wichita East High School. He was selected 40th overall by the Detroit Pistons in the 1998 draft. Sadly, Young appeared in only three games and scored 13 total points. He was waived after an injury and never made another NBA roster. He played overseas until 2005 when he stopped playing basketball all together.
James Lang James Lang was such a big bust that he was waived the same year he was drafted. Lang graduated from Central Park Christian High School and was selected as the 48th pick in the 2003 draft by the New Orleans Hornets. He was soon waived by the Hornets a months later. General Manager Bob Bass said Lang did not show “the potential to be put on the active roster.” Lang attended pre-season camp with the Utah Jazz in 2005 but did not make the team. The Toronto Raptors signed Lang to a 10-day contract on March 27, 2006 and he was waived after this contract.
Ricky Sanchez Ricky Sanchez was the fourth Puerto Rican basketball player to be drafted in the NBA. The Portland Trailblazers selected him in the second round as a 35th pick in 2005. Before the NBA Snachez played in other leagues including Continental Basketball Association (CBA). Although Sanchez never actually played in an NBA regular season game or the playoffs, he was still traded four times.
Leon Smith A graduate of Martin Luther King High School in Chicago, Leon Smith was drafted 29th overall in the 1999 NBA draft by the Antonia Spurs. Smith played in only fourteen games his rookie year where he averaged 2.2 points per game and 2.2 rebounds per game. Due to personal psychological problems Smith struggled off the court, which posed challenges for him to thrive on the court. After Smith’s first year in the league, he was already out of the NBA. Smith did try to make a comeback during his third year, but only played in one game where he only played four minutes.
Shaun Livingston Shaun Livingston was able to revitalized his career, unlike most on the list. When the 6’7” point guard was drafted out of high school he was labeled as the next Magic Johnson and Anfernee Hardaway, but in 2007 he suffered from a terrible knee injury that forced him out of the league for nearly two years. Even after he returned, Livingston only played in a handful of games. Still fighting to stay in the league, Livingston’s career averages are 6.8 points per game and 3.4 assists per game.
DeSagana Diop DeSagana Diop attended the prestigious Oak Hill Academy in Virginia where he played high school ball. Some of the biggest stars in the NBA, like Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo, and Stephen Jackson attended Oak Hill. Diop was thought to be a prominent NBA player considering he was seven feet tall. Diop was never an offensive player only averaging 2 points per game his entire career. He was able to carve out a defensive niche in the NBA, but he still was not as good as everyone hoped he would be.
Sebastian Telfair Sebastian Telfair is the cousin of former NBA stat Stephon Marbury. Telfair was drafted in to the NBA after his senior year at Abraham Lincoln High School. He was the 13th overall pick in the 2004 NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers. There was a lot of hype behind Telfair. Adidas even offered Telfair a contract right out of high school on a six-year deal which was worth more than $15 million. He was hardly the player that everyone foresaw him being when he was in high school. Telfair has never cemented himself as the starting point guard on any team in the NBA and has largely been regulated as a second or third string point guard. Telfair’s career averages are 7.4 points per game, 3.5 assists per game, and 1.6 rebounds per game. He currently plays in China.
Darius Miles Darius Miles was labeled the second coming of Kevin Garnett. At 6’9” he was a little shorter than KG, but he possessed all of the raw talent that KG had during his rookie year. Miles was drafted straight out of high school just like KG. In 2000, the LA Clippers drafted Miles as a 3rd overall pick. Things seemed promising as he was a First Team NBA All-Rookie. His career took a swan dive after he spent two years away from playing due to a knee injury and being released by Portland.