Best High School Hoopers
We have all seen some great talents as both kids and adults, but here are the five best high school hoopers I have seen play. (Photo by Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports)

The Five Best High School Hoopers I Have Seen Play

My dreams of playing collegiate basketball have long faded, but in my time at the amateur ranks of high school hoops, I did come up against and see some really talented players. Here are the five best high school hoopers I faced or saw play in my short career in the hoop state – North Carolina, for all of you wondering.

Best High School Hoopers No. 1: Coby White

Then: Greenfield School
Now: Chicago Bulls

My time watching Coby White was brief, but in the few moments I saw, I can say he is the best 18U hooper I have ever seen play live. I remember his school was playing Cox Mill in the championship of the East Coast Invitational – an NC school summer tournament. Cox Mill gave multiple players the assignment of guarding White, including another player on this list, and the former Tar Heel handled all of it. He could score at will. His first step was, and is, insane. His handle and elevation on his jumper were so hard to guard in prep ball – at least from what I can tell. He could shoot, so you had to respect that. If you closed out too fast, he’d blow by you and finish at the rim or with a floater. White was so tough to guard, and I believe they still lost the game. Nevertheless, his legend in my mind lives on. If he is healthy this upcoming season, he could help the Chicago Bulls do great things.

Best High School Hoopers No. 2: Wendell Moore Jr.

Wendell Moore Jr.
(Photo by Ben McKeown/Associated Press)
Then: Cox Mill High School
Now: Duke University

Wendell Moore Jr. may be one of my favorite players ever. I’m just a year younger than him and can remember rushing through class assignments to watch his mixtapes on YouTube for the 112th time. He led the Chargers to back-to-back 3A state championships as a sophomore and junior – he was a Finals MVP on both occasions. He averaged 25.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game as a senior. I remember watching him star at his school’s summer invitational. He was an elite two-way player in NC high school hoops. He could get a bucket at all three levels, beat you off the bounce and then lock you up on the defensive end. While he has had a rocky two seasons with Duke, I think he will make a lot of Duke fans happy this season.

Best High School Hoopers No. 3: Hunter Tyson

Hunter Tyson
(Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Then: Piedmont High School
Now: Clemson University

You may not know who this is, but if you’re from Union County, NC, you know the name. Tyson averaged a solid 7.5 points and 4.2 rebounds per game last season and is entering his senior year at Clemson. But let me tell you something, he was an absolute bucket in high school, and I was fortunate enough to watch him practice and play every day for the better part of two years.

Tyson was a lights-out shooter and is the greatest player in my high school’s history. This could be a very long explanation because I have a ton of stories I could tell, but I’ll only speak on a few things. I watched him drop a career-high 44 points (I thought it was 46) in a three-point state playoff loss to the No. 1 seed in our region. That is the single best offensive game I have ever seen live. He averaged 27.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game his senior season and was Conference Player of the Year his junior and senior season – he shared the honor his junior year. He scored 2,131 points in his H.S. career. And I even went to the depths of my Twitter page to find this gem from 2018:

Best High School Hoopers No. 4: Stephanie Watts

Stephanie Watts UNC
(Gerry Broome / Associated Press)
Then: Weddington High School
Now: Chicago Sky (waived)

Stephanie Watts could pour it in the basket. She is the best female basketball player – and could be the best player in general – to come out of my county. She was a four-time Union County and SCC (Southern Carolina Conference) Player of the Year. Watts averaged 29.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 4.7 steals, and 2.4 blocks per game her senior season. She won the 2015 NC Gatorade Player of the Year. She was a McDonald’s All-American and owns three of the four recorded quadruple-doubles in NC girl’s basketball history, per UNC women’s basketball. I remember showing up to Carolina Courts – the basketball mecca in my hometown – and seeing her train. I have never seen someone get so mad over a missed three pointer, and it felt like she hadn’t missed since I walked in the gym. She was a walking bucket, and I’m just happy I got to watch her play on multiple occasions.

Best High School Hoopers No. 5: Day’Ron Sharpe

Day'Ron Sharpe
(Photo by Keith Srakocic/AP)
Then: South Central High School
Now: Brooklyn Nets

Sharpe was only 15 or 16 years old at the time, but he killed my high school team at a summer tournament. While his skill was still raw, his sheer size was incredible. He did everything you would expect a then 6-foot-9 mammoth of a teenager to do at a prep tournament. He pounded the glass, sprinted to the rim, seemingly swallowed the paint, and finished through a lot of contact. His game has obviously since expanded, and the Nets got a great rebounder and rim protector in the 2021 NBA Draft.

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