When it comes to high school basketball, the vast majority of teams are lucky if they have one player who plans to play in college. It is estimated that only 3.5% of high school basketball players go on to play in college. Despite these facts, there have been some talented high school teams over the years that included multiple college and even NBA players. The remainder of this piece will discuss three of the best high school teams in history.
1981-82 Dunbar Poets (MD)
One of the greatest high school basketball teams of all-time, the Dunbar Poets of 1981-82 had several stars. The team, located in Baltimore, Maryland, included future NBA players Muggsy Bouges, Reggie Lewis, Reggie Williams, and David Wingate. Additionally, Gary Grahm (UNLV), Tim Dawson (Miami), Keith James (UNLV), and Darryl Woods (Virginia Union) all went on to play college basketball. Thus, an incredible eight players from this team went on to play basketball at a higher level. The team was head coached by Bob Wade.
As for notable statistics and accomplishments of the team, there are plenty of them to mention. The team won all 29 games they played and defeated several talented teams, including local challengers DeMatha (MD), John Carrol (MD), and Cardinal Gibbons (MD), as well as some from out of state in Camden (NJ) and Flint Hill (VA). The Camden matchup was particularly impressive, as Dunbar ended Camden’s 17-year home winning streak in an 84-59 rout. Blowouts were common for this Dunbar team, as they won all of their games by an average of 29 points.
Despite their success, Coach Wade did not take it easy on his team. In fact, it was quite the opposite. The players said his practices were harder than games, and sometimes, they would practice from 4:00 PM until 10:30-11:00 at night. Clearly, this Dunbar team went to great lengths to be one of the best high school teams of all-time.
1992-93 Oak Hill Warriors (VA)
Another incredibly talented high school basketball team, the 1992-93 Oak Hill Warriors had several NBA and college basketball players as well. NBA players Jerry Stackhouse, Jeff McGinnis, Mark Blount, and Makhtar N’Diaye were a part of the team from Virginia. Additionally, college players Alex Sanders (Louisville), Curtis Staples (Virginia), Jermaine Smith (UNLV), Mike Brittan (Memphis), and Tavares Johnson (Xavier) were not exactly slouches on the court. Legendary Oak Hill coach Steve Smith led this team to an undefeated 36-0 record and a National Championship.
Notable wins for this talented bunch outside of the state of Virginia included Rice (NY), Charlotte Christian (NC), Artesia (CA), and Crenshaw (CA). Only two of their 36 wins were really close at all, and their biggest blowout included a 96-8 drubbing of John Battle High School.
Jerry Stackhouse was likely the best player on this team, and he averaged 28 points and 12 rebounds per game. Stackhouse went on to play at North Carolina before going to the NBA, along with teammate John McGinnis, who averaged 14 points and eight assists per game that year. The team was the talk of the town, and really the nation, and their 400-capacity gym was routinely packed to the brim with close to 900 fans who just wanted to catch a glimpse of this outstanding team and its future stars.
1988-89 St. Anthony’s Friars (NJ)
The final team on this list is the 1988-89 St. Anthony’s Friars of New Jersey. The team was led by three future NBA stars in Bobby Hurley, Terry Dehere, and Rodrick Rhodes, as well as six college players. Those six college players were Jerry Walker and Dan Hurley (Seton Hall), Sean Rooney (Duquesne), Felix Ortiz (Radford), Woodrow Williams (Buffalo), and Lamont Street (Wagner). Their head coach was Bobby and Dan Hurley’s father, Bob Hurley, a legendary high school basketball coach. Bobby Hurley went on to play in the NBA and become a college coach, while his brother Dan went on to become a college coach as well, heading up successful teams such as the Rhode Island Rams and the UConn Huskies.
St. Anthony’s did not lose a game that they played and went 32-0. Their average margin of victory was 28 points, and only two of their wins were by single digits. They defeated teams from all over the country, including Miami Senior (FL), Flint Hill (VA), Elizabeth (NJ), Artesia (CA), Archbishop Molloy (NY), Tolentine (NY), Cardinal Hayes (NY), and Christian Brothers Academy (NY). In all, they defeated teams from 10 different states and won three national tournaments while defeating those teams.
Incredibly, this team did not have a home gym, as their school was too small to have a gymnasium. Thus, they played every game either on the road or at a neutral site. This further added to the legend of St. Anthony’s and the media attention they received.