High School Hierarchy: 16-20
SLAMonline ranks the top pro-producing high schools of all time.
17. Dominguez High School, Compton, CA
NBA Players Produced: Tayshaun Prince, Cedric Ceballos, Tyson Chandler, Dennis Johnson
Combined Experience: 44 seasons
NBA/ABA Championships Won: 4
All-Star Appearances: 6
Hall of Famers: 1
Total Points: 74
Not only has Dominguez produced four pretty good NBA players, but they’ve also accounted for three signature moments: Dennis Johnson converting a driving layup after Larry Bird’s famous steal of Isiah Thomas’ inbounds pass in the Playoffs against Detroit; Cedric Ceballos and his blindfolded dunk in the Slam Dunk Contest that temporarily (and foolishly) caused the NBA to ban players from using “props” in the contest; and Tayshaun Prince’s out-of-nowhere block of a Reggie Miller layup in the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals.
You’ve probably heard of: Dennis Johnson’s contribution to the NBA was simple. He just won. Johnson was a star player for the Seattle Sonics and led them to a Finals appearance and then a title in the late 1970s. He was a star in Phoenix. Then, when he went to a loaded Boston team where he was asked to become a role player despite still being near the prime of his career. There was a simple reason he didn’t complain about his role: “I hate to lose,” Johnson once said. “I accept it when it comes, but I still hate it. That’s the way I am.”
Johnson played 14 seasons in the NBA, and the only season a team he was on didn’t make the Playoffs was his rookie year in Seattle. His numbers declined in Boston, hurting his Hall of Fame chances, but Johnson, who died of a heart attack while coaching the NBA Developmental League’s Austin Toros in 2007, was finally inducted into the Hall in 2010, thanks in large part to long-time lobbying of legendary teammates Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Bill Walton, among others, who all described Johnson as a great teammate and one of the best defensive guards of his era.
Don’t forget about: Cedric Ceballos was perennially underrated in his early NBA career (and in his hip hop career for that matter). An 11-year vet, Ceballos shot 50 percent for his career and just had a knack for scoring the ball even if he wasn’t a primary option on offense. Here’s how former Lakers teammate Shaquille O’Neal described Ceballos while trying to implore JJ Hickson to be more like Ced: “I played with Cedric Ceballos, who never got any plays called for him but he averaged 20 (points) and 10 (rebounds) and I think you can do the same thing.”
Now, in the brief time Shaq played with Ceballos, Ced wasn’t averaging 20 and 10. He actually never averaged 10 boards in a season (that’s about as accurate as Shaq gets though, so be happy with it), but he did have a 21 and 8 season that landed him in the All-Star Game. Ceballos averaged more than 20 a game twice in his career with the Lakers, then bounced around the League a bit, heading back to Phoenix, then Dallas, Detroit and Miami before playing overseas and in the ABA briefly. He’s now a DJ and works for the Suns.
Tyson Chandler on Dominguez: “Having a strong tradition and being good for a long time attracted a lot of generations to want to come there [to Dominguez]. I know what made me want to play there was when I went to a game at the Pauley Pavillion, Crenshaw vs Dominguez, and I had a chance to watch Kenny Brunner, Jason Thomas and Tayshaun Prince put on a show, and I wanted to go to Dominguez and follow in their footsteps.
“My freshman year, I was able to play with Tayshaun Prince. I was always, like, in awe of his knowledge of the game. Then my junior year, we won a national championship and that probably was the highlight of my high school career.
“The tradition is huge. When we won a national title, it brought a lot of attention to the community. They put on a parade for us, and just the locals there were so proud that when, at times, everyone looks at Compton for all the negatives, we were bringing something positive for the community.
“It’s great [to be from Dominguez], and it can always start arguments as far as what are the best schools or who has produced the best talent in California. I love representing Dominguez, we call it ‘The Dirty D.’ I think everyone who went there just like has a love and a passion and a pride for their school.”