High School Hierarchy: 6-10
SLAMonline ranks the top pro-producing high schools of all time.
9. DeMatha Catholic High School, Hyattsville, MD
NBA Players Produced: Adrian Dantley, Johnny Austin, Keith Bogans, Adrian Branch, Kenny Carr, Sid Catlett, Johnny Jones, Joe Kennedy, Sidney Lowe, Jerrod Mustaf, Hawkeye Whitney, Bernie Williams, Danny Ferry, Joe Forte
Combined Experience: 70 seasons
NBA/ABA Championships Won: 2
All-Star Appearances: 6
Hall of Famers: 2*
Total Points: 100
*Note: One of DeMatha’s Hall of Famers is legendary coach Morgan Wootten, who never played or coached in the NBA. He’s one of only three high school coaches to be in the Hall.
In seven years of playing high school and college basketball, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s teams lost eight total games. One of those losses came at the hands of DeMatha Catholic High School. Abdul-Jabbar’s (Alcindor at the time) Power Memorial Academy (NY) team had won 71 consecutive games heading into its match-up with DeMatha in 1965 when DeMatha pulled off the 46-43 upset. Legendary coach Morgan Wootten at one time had more wins than any coach in the history of American basketball, coaching DeMatha from 1956-2002, sending players to the NBA in many different eras.
You’ve probably heard of: At a basketball camp in Michigan, when I was 15 years old, one of the speakers was Adrian Dantley. He was introduced as one of the NBA’s greatest power forwards of all time, and when he walked on to the court, I remember being confused because he didn’t look an inch over 6-3, how could this guy possibly get the better of players who were much bigger? Then Dantley began to give his presentation, taking players through a series of jab-step and footwork drills more elaborate than anything I’d ever seen. Dantley, as an undersized power forward without much athletic ability, became a two-time scoring champion and Hall of Famer simply by understanding how to position his body and use his feet. Dantley was supremely elusive, and his quick, compact movements made him an expert at creating contact. His 28 free-throw attempts in a game tie him with several players for second all time, and despite rarely leaving the ground or finishing above the rim, Dantley shot 54 percent for his career and averaged more than 20 points per game for 11 of the first 12 seasons he played in the NBA.
Don’t forget about: Joe Forte was destined to be the next great North Carolina shooting guard. The DeMatha product was ACC Freshman of the Year, and the ACC Co-Player of the Year (with Duke’s Shane Battier) as a sophomore. He left early for the NBA Draft and was one of three first round picks by the Celtics (along with Kedrick Brown and Joe Johnson). He only played in eight games as a rookie as the team unsuccessfully tried to convert him from a shooting guard into a point guard, and this is how many remember his Boston tenure:
Forte was better known for his sideline attire (a Scooby-Doo shirt in the Playoffs; Cosby-like sweaters; and anything in Carolina blue) than for any of his on-court accomplishments (6 total points in eight games with Boston during his rookie season).
Forte was traded to Seattle, where he only played in just 17 games in his lone season there and was out of the League for good after that, partially due to off-court problems. He played in the D-League and overseas. He’s currently averaging 14 points per game for Tuscanny Pistoia in Italy.
Random fact: Many star players have had careers derailed because of drug or alcohol problems. ‘Hawkeye’ Whitney is one of those guys, but the trouble his drug problems got him into was even more high profile than most:
The sentencing stems from the night of January 26, when Whitney and an accomplice abducted White House lawyer Mark D. Fabiani at gunpoint as he was walking from the King Street Metro stop in Alexandria. Fabiani was returning to his home after representing first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton at a grand jury investigation being conducted on Whitewater earlier that day.
Whitney and his accomplice drove Fabiani into the District and forced him to withdraw $1,600 from two automatic teller machines before releasing him unharmed.
Whitney was released with prison in 2000 and has since take steps to overcome his addictions and rebuild his life.