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The Decade in HS Hoops: Best Talent-Producing High Schools

With the 2010s coming to an end, it’s time to look back at what the high school level of basketball have given us during the past ten years. Antonio takes a look at the best players, institutions, teams, etc... in this end-of-the-decade series of articles.

Oak Hill Academy v La Lumiere Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

We’re mere days away—hours, if you push me!—from waving goodbye to our beloved 2010s. The decade is almost over—and will most probably be by the time you catch this—so I thought it’d be interesting to take a look at some of the most important and interesting facts the grassroots and high school level of hoops have yielded during the past ten years. I will be taking a look at individual players, full classes, high schools, cities, states, etc... during this series in order to provide a broad view of what the decade we’re leaving was up to and who the agents involved in it were. Let’s get to it!

It’s time to focus on high and prep schools and what they’ve been up to during the past ten years. While some institutions have been powerhouses and household names for a long time now, others have found their place in the talent-pumping circuit much later in the decade. No matter what was the case, I’m here to bring those names to the table.

Again, I’ll use my own data set, which is mostly based on 247Sports Composite rankings and includes other additional notes. To make this list I’ll focus only on the top-25 players of each class, so we can take a proper look at the schools able to produce the most top-tier level players during the past ten years. To not make things a tad longer than we would like, I’m limiting the list of featured schools to those which have produced at least five top-25 players during the past ten years.

Here we go!

Oak Hill Academy, Mouth of Wilson (VA)

You can’t go wrong with Oak Hill, as the linage is way more than a decade long. Carmelo Anthony, Josh Smith, Ty Lawson, Brandon Jennings... Names of the past—at least for our purposes—those are. More recently, though, the level has stayed as high if not even reached higher peaks.

Up to six players have been pumped from Oak Hill in the last ten years that were ranked inside the top-25 prospects of their respective classes. That is the lowest amount among the four schools featured here, but still more than enough to make the Virginia institution a staple of the decade. Here is the list:

  • 2010 No. 24 (SG) Doron Lamb
  • 2015 No. 17 (SG) Dwayne Bacon
  • 2016 No. 2 (PF) Harry Giles
  • 2017 No. 20 (PF) Billy Preston
  • 2019 No. 4 (CG) Cole Anthony

That’s correct. Oak Hill pulled off the back-to-back-to-back trifecta of producing top-20 prospects between 2015 and 2017 and although there was a little bump in the road from the start of the decade to 2015, they came strong from the middle of it all the way up to this last season’s class with future NBA top-draftee Cole Anthony.

Montverde Academy, Montverde (FL)

While Oak Hill has his roots way back in time, Montverde became a staple during the 2010s and snatched more than one and two national chips down the road. No wonder, considering the names they have been able to put on the court during the past ten years.

Seven of them make up the list of top-25 players to ball as seniors in the Florida prep. And to those of you a little younger than the average fan most of them might ring a bell easily in your brains as they’re the new blood pumping through the NBA circulatory system nowadays. Here is the list:

  • 2013 No. 8 (PG) Kasey Hill
  • 2013 No. 10 (C) Dakari Johnson
  • 2014 No. 16 (SG) D’Angelo Russell
  • 2015 No. 1 (SF) Ben Simmons
  • 2018 No. 1 (SG) RJ Barrett
  • 2018 No. 23 (PG) Andrew Nembhard
  • 2019 No. 14 (SF) Precious Achiuwa

D’Lo, Simmons, and Barrett are as recent as they come, and while Russell was “only” the 16th-best kid in his class he ended being picked as a No. 2 in the NBA draft. No slouch. Montverde was able to feature back-to-back No. 1 players in Simmons and Barrett, and both of them just transitioned through college to a better life in the pros. One has already stolen the hearts of Philadelphia while the other is playing under the flashy lights of New York. Some serious talk we’re having here.

IMG Academy, Bradenton (FL)

No reason to leave the state of Florida. IMG opened its doors as early as in 2002 and it never truly was a basketball powerhouse until, well, it became one. This boarding school had never had a prospect ranked inside the top-25 until DeAndre Daniels popped up and opened the path for those who will come after him. And as it turned out there was no shortage of talent just around the corner.

Six more players join Daniels on the decade-list of IMG players ranked in the first quarter of the hundredth-best players of their respective classes. As you will see, the process was slow first, but once IMG got up to speed it’s been a non-stop barrage of talent production. Here is the list:

  • 2011 No. 11 (SF) DeAndre Daniels
  • 2014 No. 12 (PF) Chris McCullough
  • 2016 No. 15 (SF) Jonathan Isaac
  • 2017 No. 25 (PG) Trevon Duval
  • 2018 No. 6 (CG) Anfernee Simons
  • 2019 No. 18 (SF) Josh Green
  • 2019 No. 7 (PF) Jeremiah Robinson-Earl

Jonathan Isaac is already thriving as one of the best youngins of the whole Association. Anfernee Simons is one of Portland’s best prospects already playing heavy minutes. Green and Robinson-Earl are this close to joinning the top-tier of pro hoops. Almost no big deal...

Findlay Prep, Henderson (NV)

Pretty much like IMG, Findlay Prep had it hard at first. Not really a surprise, considering the school opened its operations in 2006, barely more than ten years ago. That’s why the only top-25 prospects prior to 2010 to be part of the high school history is Avery Bradley (2009). After that, though, a complete explosion.

Since the very year 2010, Findlay has produced no less than 11 (!) players ranked inside the top-25 of their classes, which simply put is insane. They were able to do so with two players in each of three consecutive years from 2010 to 2012, and in four of five years spanning from 2010 to 2014. Crazy production. They slowed down a bit from that point on but the names kept popping no matter what. Here is the list:

  • 2010 No. 11 (PG) Cory Joseph
  • 2010 No. 12 (PF) Tristan Thompson
  • 2011 No. 15 (PG) Myck Kabongo
  • 2011 No. 25 (SG) Nick Johnson
  • 2012 No. 6 (PF) Anthony Bennett
  • 2012 No. 18 (PF) Brandon Ashley
  • 2014 No. 7 (SG) Kelly Oubre
  • 2014 No. 10 (SG) Rashad Vaughn
  • 2015 No. 14 (PG) Derryck Thornton
  • 2017 No. 15 (PF) PJ Washington
  • 2018 No. 4 (C) Bol Bol

Cory Joseph won a ring last season. Tristan Thompson has been a go-to guy and solid contributor for the Cavs since he arrived in Cleveland. Anthony Bennett was a No. 1 and the first Canadian to hold that honor. Kelly Oubre is thriving in his new desert surroundings. PJ Washington already looks like the next big thing to come out of Findlay. And Bol Bol... well, he is still to reach the highest of levels and debut with Denver but once he does he will have it all to become the next step in basketball evolutionary path. Watch out.