High School Hierarchy: 26-30
SLAMonline ranks the top pro-producing high schools of all time.
30. McKinley High School, Canton, OH
NBA Players Produced: Gary Grant, Michael Hawkins, Phil Hubbard, Keith McLeod, Eric Snow, Nick Weatherspoon
Combined Experience: 51 seasons
NBA/ABA Championships Won: 0
All-Star Appearances: 0
Hall of Famers: 0
Total Points: 51
Yes, it has the same name as the Ohio-based McKinley High School on the show Glee. No, even though the real McKinley, located in Canton, OH, has a musical claim to fame with legendary Motown group the O’Jays among its alums, this is not the same McKinley High School as the one portrayed on the show.
The real McKinley is one of the best high school sports schools in the country. The football team plays in a 22,500-seat stadium that also hosts the NFL’s yearly Hall of Fame game. The basketball program has more wins in its history than any program in Ohio. Both the football and basketball teams have produced a large number of professional players.
You’ve probably heard of: McKinley’s greatest export to the professional ranks? Steady point guards. Gary Grant (nicknamed ‘The General’ in high school and college) had a long career in the NBA as a backup PG and Michael Hawkins and Keith McLeod made it to the NBA despite going undrafted, but the best NBA player of the bunch was Eric Snow.
Snow was a perfect compliment to backcourt mate Allen Iverson. Big enough to defend shooting guards so that the smaller Iverson could slide over and guard opposing PGs on defense, Snow’s unselfishness and ability to steadily run an offense without needing any shots himself helped turn the Sixers into a yearly Playoff team under Brown, culminating with an appearance in the NBA Finals in 2001.
Snow finished his career in Cleveland, playing next to another superstar, LeBron James. Snow made the NBA All-Defensive Second-Team once, finished in the top 10 in the League in assists three times and top 10 in steals once.
Don’t forget about: Until former Michigan State standout Raymar Morgan broke his record in 2006, Nick Weatherspoon held McKinley’s all-time leading scorer record for 37 years.
After a standout career at McKinely, he went on to the University of Illinois, and left that school as the all-time leading scorer as well, although several players have since surpassed his record.
Weatherspoon was the 13th pick in the 1973 NBA Draft, and although he didn’t become the star many predicted he would be in high school and college, Weatherspoon did average 9 points per game for his seven-year NBA career.
Weatherspoon struggled after basketball with a degenerative disease that affected his back and spine. He died in 2008.
Random fact: It’s hard to believe that with all of the multi-talented players who have played at the University of Michigan, the school only had one triple double in its history until Manny Harris got one early last season.
The man who picked up the first was McKinley product Gary Grant. Grant scored 24 points with 10 rebounds and 10 assists in an NCAA Tournament loss to North Carolina in 1987.
Unfortunately for Grant, who lives in California, he’s frequently reminded of the outcome of that game by TNT’s Kenny Smith, a UNC alum: “I try to block it out because we lost to North Carolina,” Grant said. “But I see Kenny Smith out here all the time and he always rubs it in, so I ain’t ever going to forget it for real.”