From HS to the NBA Draft: Ranking the best ALL-USA basketball teams

Luke Kennard said Jahlil Okafor (right) is in for a big night in tonight's national title game. / USA Today Sports

Jahlil Okafor is one of 11 former American Family Insurance ALL-USA players expected to go in the first round of Thursday’s NBA Draft. / USA Today Sports

Looking at the most recent NBA Mock draft by Derek Bodner of USA TODAY Sports, 11 former American Family Insurance ALL-USA boys basketball players are likely to go in the first round of this year’s NBA draft on Thursday.

Of that group, nine were on the 2014 ALL-USA team, making it potentially the strongest class of former ALL-USA players. The key word is potentially, because we won’t know for several years how that group will fare in the NBA.

We have a little better vision while examining previous ALL-USA teams, however, with a caveat. The ALL-USA teams are chosen on the players’ performance in high school, not their pro potential. So, a player who might be a “tweener” because of his size in the NBA could still be very dominant in high school. With that said, here’s our updated ranking of the best ALL-USA classes in the NBA:

The Top Five

  1. 1995. All five first-teamers (Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Vince Carter, Kevin Garnett, Stephon Marbury and Ron Mercer), were taken in the first round of the NBA Draft and averaged double-digits in the NBA. All of them, with the exception of Mercer, were NBA All-Stars with Carter and Garnett likely headed to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
  2. 2002. The class has four NBA Draft first-round choices who averaged or are averaging double-digit scoring for their NBA careers, including three perennial All-Stars (LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire). Raymond Felton was a solid pro and Chris Bosh has also been to multiple All-Star Games. James and Anthony are likely Hall of Famers.
  3. 1988. Start with Hall of Famer Alonzo Mourning, then add in four quality NBA players who averaged double-digit points for their careers (Chris Jackson, Chris Mills, Billy Owens and Kenny Williams).
  4. 1991. Five first-rounders (Alan Henderson, Juwan Howard, Glenn Robinson, David Vaughn and Chris Webber) and three perennial All-Stars in Howard, Robinson and Webber.
  5. 1989. All five (Kenny Anderson, Doug Edwards, Allan Houston, Bobby Hurley and Jim Jackson) were drafted in the first round. Anderson and Houston were All-Stars and Hurley might have been if not for a car accident that shortened his career.

Four on the rise

  1. 2007. For now, this is the ‘what-if’ team. Rose has been a league MVP and an All-Star and Kevin Love is a three-time All-Star, but injuries have slowed both of their careers. However, all five first-teamers (Love, Rose, Eric Gordon,  O.J. Mayo and Kyle Singler) are playing in the league and all but Singler averaged double-figure scoring this season.
  2.  2009. The class includes four first-round picks (John Wall, Avery Bradley, Derrick Favors and DeMarcus Cousins). Of that group, Wall was an All-Star in 2014 and had a career-high average in assists this season. Favors and Cousins also had career years this season. Two second-teamers, Kawhi Leonard and Brandon Knight, also had career seasons.
  3. 2012. Begin with first-teamer Anthony Davis, who’s already an NBA All-Star and a future league MVP. Another first-teamer that year, Bradley Beal, had a breakout performance in the playoffs this season and is a likely future All-Star. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had a career season and looks to be a longtime pro. James McAdoo, a first-teamer who wasn’t even drafted, nevertheless managed to win a D League title and NBA title in his first pro season. Second-teamer Shabazz Muhammad had a career season despite injuries and was chosen for the league’s Rising Stars Challenge.
  4. 2013. Still too early to tell, especially with all the injuries to first-team players this season. However, 2013 ALL-USA Player of the Year Andrew Wiggins was the NBA’s Rookie of the Year. First-teamer Jabari Parker was playing well before he was hurt (12.3 points a game and 5.5 rebounds a game). Joel Embiid was drafted No. 3 overall but sat out the season with injuries and Julius Randle broke his leg the first game of the season after being drafted No. 7. Jahlil Okafor (who was a junior on the 2013 team) could be the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft and three other 2013 ALL-USA players are expected to go in the first two rounds this season: Bobby Portis; Dakari Johnson; and Andrew Harrison.




More Stories

2019-20 ALL-USA High School Football Defensive Player of the Year: Justin Flowe, Upland

Oregon football commit Justin Flowe of Upland High School has been named the 2019 ALL-USA Football Defensive Player of the Year.

Read the full article

2019-20 ALL-USA High School Football Coach of the Year: Reginald Samples, Duncanville

Duncanville football head coach Reginald Samples has been named the 2019 ALL-USA Football Coach of the Year.

Read the full article

2019-20 ALL-USA High School Football Offensive Player of the Year: Bryce Young, Mater Dei

The 2019 ALL-USA Football Offensive Player of the Year is Mater Dei quarterback and Alabama commit Bryce Young.

Read the full article