There have been 41 high school draftees in the NBA Draft who have gone to play in the Association. Three draftees were selected first overall; Kwame Brown in the 2001 NBA Draft, LeBron James in the 2003 and Dwight Howard in the 2004 NBA Draft. Two draftees went on to win the Rookie of the Year Award in their first season; LeBron James and 2002 draftee Amar’e Stoudemire. I decided to rank all 41 that are truly straight out of high school and it was actually very enjoyable.
Two notable players that typically seen as eligible for this category technically did not come straight out of high school. For example… Shawn Kemp attended UK and Trinity Valley Community College for a very brief amount of time before declaring for the draft, and Connie Hawkins attended the University of Iowa as well (There are a number of players who got drafted like this but not directly out high school so they are disqualified… don’t worry, you probably don’t know any of them anyway with the exception of Brandon Jennings and Stephen Jackson). Those players will not be listed. Enjoy, there are some really impressive names… but at first… not so much.
41. Korleone Young
He had a lot of hype coming into the draft, or so it seemed as he slid to the Detroit Pistons with their second-round pick (40th overall), but Young’s tenure with the team was very brief. He appeared in only three games at the end of the lockout-shortened 1999 season and scored 13 total points. Yes… 13 points. The Pistons cut ties with Young soon afterwards because of an injury which limited his effectiveness, and despite summer-league stints with the Philadelphia 76ers, he never made another NBA roster. Because of his failed NBA career, Young’s name was cited by many people who supported David Stern’s eventual raising of the NBA’s minimum draft age. Additionally, Young’s coaches questioned his work ethic and maturity. It’s really quite a sad story, too bad.
40. Ndudi Ebi
The Minnesota Timberwolves selected Ebi with the 26th overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. After Ebi appeared in 19 games over the course of two seasons, Minnesota attempted to get an exception from the NBA so they could send him to the NBA Development League. Ebi was technically ineligible as the 2005–06 NBA season was his third year, and the D-League only accepted players who had been in the NBA for less than two years. The league rejected Minnesota’s request regarding Ebi, which lead to Minnesota releasing Ebi on the following week. He signed a free agent contract over the summer of 2006 with the Dallas Mavericks. But after playing just five pre-season games averaging 5.2 PPG, Ebi was waived by the Mavericks on 26 October 2006. He never played in the NBA again.