Posts tagged ‘camden’

January 13, 2011

High School BBall Stars: Where Are They Now?

Once heralded (#1 ranked) high school star Korleone Young out of Hargrave Military Academy was sought after by every NCAA school in the nation, only to skip college and go straight to the NBA. To get to the point, he was drafted in the second-round with the 40th pick by the Pistons. He only played in three games in one season and was waived by the Pistons in 1999. Young was last playing for Israeli club Bnei HaSharon, but left the team before the season started in 2006.

Lenny Cooke was supposed to be LeBron James’ kryptonite, but things obviously didn’t turn out that way. I’ve had the pleasure to watch him play a few times and I even marveled at his talents, he was long, athletic, and had a nice handle. One would think after giving King James the business at the ABCD Camp he should be a first-round lock? Unfortunately, he turned 19 his senior year in high school and was ruled ineligible for using all of his athletic eligibility. What’s one to do after that? Go pro! So he entered his name into the draft and the rest is history, since that’s all he did because not a single team drafted him. After bouncing around from subpar leagues (USBL & NBDL) to playing in the Philippines & China he was most recently found playing in the CBA.

He was once the pride of New Jersey. Gyms got so packed that his games were played in college stadiums. Camden, NJ was home to not only the most violence in the nation, it also housed the best individual basketball talent in the nation. Double Whammy! DaJuan Wagner was the hottest ticket in the Tri-State area in 2000-2001. He was so big that when I was college my teammates wanted tapes of him just to see what the hype was about, mind you he’s a year younger than me. All this attention was warranted when his average was 42.5 points and he broke the state’s all-time scoring record with 3,462 points and let’s not forget he’s the only player in New Jersey to score 100 points in a single game. You can understand the hype.

Once the dust settled, it became clear that his deft scoring would be neutralized when playing against top-flight competition. The Cleveland Cavaliers picked him at 6th overall in 2002 and although averaging 13.4 points his health and injuries seemed to slow him down significantly. By the 2004-05 season Wagner was hospitalized with ulcerative colitis, and was later released. After successful surgery Wagner attempted for a comeback for the 2006 season and was signed by the Golden State Warriors for two years. Two months later he was released. In 2007 he played in Poland for club Prokom Trefl Sopot.

Honestly, Wagner’s story pisses me off because like everyone else we had such high hopes for the kid and things didn’t work which often seems to be the case with superstar high school athletes. There’s a huge list of other players I can think of but I’ll be here all night so maybe I’ll post another one at a later date.