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There is a lot of players which is very popular in high school, college and amateur ranks who have brought their basketball skill to the professional level of plays mostly in the NBA, such players like Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and a lot more names to mention.
But there is also some guys who are a top prospect in high school that did not able to show their talent and star potential in the NBA because of some unexpected things that happen. And on this article of mine I will share to you the story of those popular names of players in their amateur days that had remained a big what if? if they have able to play and have a career in the NBA so let's get started.
If you have remebered Derrick Rose have used jersey number 25 when he played for the New York Knicks until now that he is playing for the Detroit Pistons. It is because of this player before that had become a top prospect in his high school team, it was weared by Ben Wilson. Wilson is well known before in Chicago because of his basketball skills and for being a good street baller. Where he was discovered by Simeon High School where Derrick Rose used to play High School Basketball. While Wilson was in his junior year, he lead the Simeon High School to the State Championship which even Magic Johnson at that time is excited to see him every times he play. He was considered the Number 1 overall High School player in all over the United States of America that time by ESPN. He is the biggest what if? if he does play in to the NBA. On his senior year Wilson was shoot to dead on November 21 1984.
Lenny Cooke was considered as one of the best high school players of his high school career days together with the likes of LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. That at that time he has a higher ranking compare to Melo and Bron, that has been a duel on who is the greatest between the 3 of them. First of that Lenny Cooke team beat Melo team in the semifinals of the ABCD Camp in 2001. That they faced Bron team in the finals on that game Lenny just managed to only score 9 points, while Bron scored the game winning shot of that game for the Championship of that year. According to the mother of Lenny why her son did not became an NBA Star just like Melo and Bron it because his son has been a victim of his own stardom. He had made a wrong basketball decision on his basketball career, one of those is when he transfer to another school on his senior that he only made just only by the advice of his friend. A lot of College team has offered him scholarship but choose to play direct to tga NBA. In the 2002 NBA draft he was very disappointed when he was never picked by any NBA teams in those draft class. Before that NBA Draft day had came he is expected to be selected in the first round, but in an unexplainable reason he was got undrafted and became a free agent and just played in the Rucker Park the well known place for street ballers. He still able to played in the Summer League in the NBA but he did not managed to land and get for him an NBA contract.
On 2004 he played as an import for the Philippines Basketball Association in the Philippines for Purefoods but had suffered a Rapture Achilles Injury while playing there.
Another player in my list is also a former import for the PBA which is Ronnie Fields that played for the Tanduay Rhum Masters in the PBA on 1999. He is the former team mate of Kevin Garnett in High School, that at that time he is considered the best dunker on his High school days. At his height of 6 foot 3 inches he has a vertical leap of 50 inches. When Garnett was drafted in the NBA on 1995 Fields became famous in the City of Chicago after he bring to the Public League the Farrago Academy and also get them a championships. He averaged 32 points, 12 rebounds, 4 blocks and 4 dunks per game. His name also got in the list of high school players that are entering in the NBA together with Kobe Bryant and Jermaine O'Neal. But unfortunately because of a car accident he suffered a fracture on his neck that needed to have 2 years recovery time. On 1998 he decided to joined the NBA Draft, but unlike Lenny Cooke he was not selected in the Draft and just played on the Continental Basketball Association. He played international in countries like Philippines, Puerto Rico and some European countries.
Another player Len Bias which was considered before to Michael Jordan if ever he played to the NBA that even the basketball analysts that time that he could be the Greatest Of All Time. His name became famous before in Maryland and became a 2x ACC Player of the Year on 1985 and 1986. There is a lot of fans who was amazed on his playing style and his leaping ability, physical appearance of 6 foot 9 inches and 200 pounds, that he also faced Michael Jordan while in College. At first Michael Jordan is ahead of him because he was still a freshmen that year and not yet disciplined his style of game. But entering on his sophomore year he had a chance again to face again Michael Jordan in College basketball where he scored 24 point while MJ only had 21 points but North Carolina of Jordan defeated his school of Maryland. The scout of Boston Celtics Ed Badger said that Len Bias is the closest potential on Jordan's game. So in the 1986 NBA Draft the Celtics selected Ben Lias as the 2nd overall pick after that selection Ben went home together with his family on Maryland. Only a few hours after he signed an endorsement deal he went back to his dormitory to get his things and that time he was found life less on his room saying he was overdose with cocaine.
So that is some players who is a high prospect in high school and college that never managed to play in the NBA due to some unexpected happenings in their life.