Greatest NBA Players Straight Out Of High School
9 – Jermaine O’Neal
Eau Claire High School of the Arts, 17th pick in 1996, Portland Trail Blazers
Jermaine O’Neal started out as a 6’4” guard in high school before a late growth spurt that allowed him to focus on honing his big man skills. O’Neal idolized Bill Russell so he worked on his defense and, during his senior year, he posted gaudy numbers of 22.4 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 5.2 blocks per outing. Portland took notice and they quickly nabbed him as their first round pick. Although O’Neal had a rocky start to his professional career, he made up for lost time when he got traded to Indiana. The move paved the way for 6 All Star selections and a Most Improved Player award to name a few of his accomplishments.
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