High School Hierarchy: 11-15
SLAMonline ranks the top pro-producing high schools of all time.
This is the fourth installment of a six-part series featuring the best high school basketball programs in America. For more of SLAMonline’s High School Hierarchy, check out the archive.
by Patrick Hayes / @patrick_hayes
15. Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, Baltimore, MD
NBA Players Produced: Muggsy Bogues, Keith Booth, Sam Cassell, Terry Dozier, Kurk Lee, Reggie Lewis, Reggie Williams, David Wingate, Skip Wise
Combined Experience: 65 seasons
NBA/ABA Championships Won: 3
All-Star Appearances: 2
Hall of Famers: 0
Total Points: 77
* Cassell graduated from Dunbar, but also attended Maine Central Institute, a prep school.
With a school that gave us a co-star of Space Jam and the Big Balls dance, it’s tragedy that unfortunately overshadows Dunbar’s more fun contributions to the NBA. With his former high school teammates Muggsy Bogues and David Wingate on the opposing Charlotte Hornets, the last time basketball fans saw Reggie Lewis play was when he collapsed in Game 1 of the opening round of the 1993 NBA Playoffs as Boston hosted the Hornets. Lewis didn’t play the rest of the series, and just weeks later during an off-season workout, Lewis, who had an undiagnosed heart condition, collapsed again and died.
Lewis was one of the most exciting young stars in the League, a player who was going to keep Boston relevant as stars of the 1980s Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parrish, saw their careers wind down. Lewis, just 27 when he died, averaged 20 points per game for two straight years, he had a great mid-range game and was a good finisher and slasher. In high school, he was part of great Dunbar teams that included Bogues, Wingate and Georgetown great Reggie Williams, and as a pro, he was destined to become a perennial All-Star as his game continued to evolve.
You’ve probably heard of: Sam Cassell was an intelligent, winning player the second he stepped on an NBA court. As a rookie with the Houston Rockets, Cassell filled a “closer” role for the team, often playing fourth quarters for the team during its first NBA title run, an odd position that many coaches wouldn’t trust a rookie point guard to be in. Cassell had an expanded role the following season and helped the Rockets win another title, and then began a nomadic career where he produced and won at virtually every stop he made. Yet, he didn’t stay in one place for long. His list of teams: Houston, Dallas, New Jersey, Phoenix, Milwaukee, Minnesota, L.A. Clippers and Boston. He won a third NBA title on Boston’s bench in 2008 and is now an assistant coach tutoring John Wall in Washington.
Don’t forget about: Reggie Williams was one of the top high school and college players in the country in the 1980s. He was a McDonald’s All-American at Dunbar, was a big-time scorer for a national title team at Georgetown and was the fourth pick in the NBA Draft in 1987. Unfortunately, he played for some pretty bad teams most of his NBA career, only making the Playoffs three times in 10 seasons. But he was a key component on one of the most memorable playoff teams in NBA history. He scored 14 points per game for Denver in the 1994 Playoffs when the Nuggets became the first ever No. 8 seed to beat a No. 1 seed, beating Seattle in five games. Williams is currently coaching high school basketball at Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington DC, a legendary school in its own right that produced Williams’ coach at Georgetown, John Thompson, among others.
Random fact: Bogues’ acting in Space Jam may have been top notch, but even better? Him showing off his knowledge of bathroom etiquette on Curb Your Enthusiasm: