High School Hierarchy: 11-15
SLAMonline ranks the top pro-producing high schools of all time.
12. Proviso East High School, Maywood, IL
NBA Players Produced: Doc Rivers, Michael Finley, Shannon Brown, Steven Hunter, Reggie Jordan, Sherrell Ford, Dee Brown, Jim Brewer, Donnie Boyce
Combined Experience: 62 seasons
NBA/ABA Championships Won: 5
All-Star Appearances: 3
Hall of Famers: 0
Total Points: 81
Of all the claims to fame Proviso East has when it comes to basketball, this might be its top one: for the last four years, a Proviso East grad has won a NBA championship, starting with Michael Finley on the 2007 Spurs, followed by Doc Rivers coaching the 2008 Celtics and then Shannon Brown on the 2009 and 2010 Lakers. And Proviso East’s other NBA champion, Jim Brewer, who won with the Lakers in 1982, has a familial tie to the current run — he’s Rivers’ uncle.
You’ve probably heard of: All of the high schools on this list take great pride in their basketball legacy, but the close-knit nature of Proviso East alums is really admirable. Finley signed with Boston last year, and one of the draws was getting the chance to play for fellow Proviso East alum Doc Rivers:
“My sister was a cheerleader and he was the star basketball player at the high school,” Finley told the Herald. “I used to sit under the basket and watch him play. That’s how far the relationship goes back. He’s always been a mentor for me of how to be a professional and how to be a man.”
As for on-court accomplishments, Finley and Rivers both had successful NBA careers, and it’s very hard to distinguish who was the superior player. Finley was an All-Star twice, Rivers once. Finley was a key player on some fantastic Mavs teams that didn’t quite break through and win a title, Rivers was a key on some really good Knicks teams that just fell short of winning a title. Both guys also re-invented themselves as role players and good locker room guys late in their careers.
Don’t forget about: Finley was a breakout star from Proviso East, but his high school team had two other players on it who would go on to play in the NBA: Sherrell Ford and Donnie Boyce. Nicknamed ‘The Three Amigos,’ all three would go on to become huge scorers in college. Finley was Wisconsin’s all-time leading scorer until Alando Tucker broke his record, Ford averaged 26 a game at Illinois-Chicago and Boyce averaged 18.6 points per game for his career at Colorado and was the school’s all-time leading scorer until 2008. While Finley became an All-Star, the other two amigos faded. Ford was a first round pick of the Sonics and only played in 28 games in his career. Boyce was a second round pick who played parts of two seasons with Atlanta.
Shannon Brown on Proviso East: “We take a lot of pride in it [the school]. It’s where we’re from, where we grew up and learned the values of life so we take a lot of pride in it.
“The city that we grew up in is not an easy place to grow up in. You face a lot of different challenges and basketball is one of the getaways that we use as a positive. When we step out on to the basketball court we can let our mind go free.
“I want to make a name for myself, my school and my city in each level of basketball. There’s a lot of guys trying to make it to the highest level. It’s definitely not easy.
“It’s (playing at Proviso East) all memorable.”