Superstars among decade's top players
Before turning the page to a new decade, ESPN RISE Magazine looks back on the most exciting and influential 10 years in the history of high school sports. A lot has happened over the past 10 years. A sophomore named LeBron James announced his arrival as the next big thing. Hoops stars headed to Europe after -- and even before -- receiving their diplomas. Some athletes spent their summer vacations winning gold medals. And one kid even sailed around the world.
So with the final issue of the decade upon us, we thought it would be fitting to look back on the 10 years that saw high school sports hit the big time by giving you our lists of Top 10 athletes, stories and more from the past decade. We'll also have 10 fearless predictions for the next decade, as well as the best in pop culture from the 2000s ... but that's Friday. Now, we celebrate the stars of the shows.
Top 10 High School Athetes1. LeBron James
St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio)
Class of 2003
Do we even need to explain? Before becoming King James, LeBron had a princely prep career, winning three state titles and two Gatorade National Player of the Year awards.
Over the past six weeks, ESPN RISE named its All-Decade All-America teams for the following high school sports:• Nov. 24: Baseball
• Nov. 25: Softball
• Dec. 1: Boys' basketball
• Dec. 2: Girls' basketball
• Dec. 8: Boys' soccer
• Dec. 9: Girls' soccer
• Dec. 15: Boys' cross country
• Dec. 16: Girls' cross country
• Dec. 22: Boys' track & field
• Dec. 23: Girls' track & field
• Dec. 28: Football: Offense | Defense
Cretin-Derham Hall (St. Paul, Minn.)
Class of 2001
As a senior in high school, the All-Star catcher and two-sport phenom was the Gatorade National Football Player of the Year and the No. 1 overall pick in the MLB draft.
3. Allyson Felix
Los Angeles Baptist (North Hills, Calif.)
Class of 2003
A five-time state champ, Felix broke Marion Jones' national prep record in the 200 meters by running a 22.51 in 2003. She's gone on to win three Olympic medals, including a gold in 2008.
4. Morgan Pressel
St. Andrew's (Boca Raton, Fla.)
Class of 2006
Michelle Wie got the hype. Pressel got it done. A three-time state champion golfer, Pressel was on her game in 2005, finishing as runner-up at the U.S. Open and winning the U.S. Amateur.
5. Adrian Peterson
Palestine (Palestine, Texas)
Class of 2004
A.D. has dominated all day, every day since toting the rock at Palestine, where he established himself as one of the all-time best high school football recruits.
6. Alan Webb
South Lakes (Reston, Va.)
Class of 2001
As a senior, Webb set the national high school record in the mile, breaking a 36-year-old mark. He still holds national prep bests in the indoor and outdoor mile.
Naperville Central (Naperville, Ill.)
Class of 2004
A two-time Gatorade National Player of the Year, Parker was the first girl to win a major dunk contest (at the 2004 McDonald's game) and the first female to announce her college decision on national TV.
8. Jordan Hasay
Mission College Prep (San Luis Obispo, Calif.)
Class of 2009
Four state XC titles. Two national XC titles. Five USA Track & Field national championships. Hasay did it all in high school and will be America's next great distance runner.
9. Terrelle Pryor
Jeannette (Jeannette, Pa.)
Class of 2008
Pryor was a two-sport dynamo at Jeannette. The Ohio State quarterback started out as a hoops star and transformed into the most publicized gridiron recruit this decade.
10. Dwight Howard
Southwest Atlanta Christian (Atlanta, Ga.)
Class of 2004
Howard was the high school Man of Steel before becoming the NBA's Superman. He scored 2,146 career points and was the Gatorade National Athlete of the Year as a senior.
Top 10 Other Teen Athletes
1. Michael Phelps
A no-brainer for this list, the Towson (Towson, Md.) grad competed in the 2000 Olympics at age 15 and later won six gold medals at the 2004 Summer Games as a 19-year-old.
2. Shaun White
What Tony Hawk is to skateboarding, White is to snowboarding. At age 16, he won two golds at Winter X 2003 and earned the ESPY for Best Action Sports Athlete. Of course, White is also an X Games skateboarder, too.
3. Shawn Johnson
Johnson dazzled at the 2008 Olympics. The young gymnast won a gold and three silvers while her classmates were prepping for their junior years at Valley (West Des Moines, Iowa).
4. Sidney Crosby
Crosby spent one year at Shattuck-St. Mary's (Faribault, Minn.), where he tallied 162 points. Two years later, the 17-year-old was the No. 1 pick in the 2005 NHL draft.
5. Jozy Altidore
At age 17, Altidore graced the cover of FIFA 08. At 18, he became the first American to score in Spain's La Liga. Next summer, the U.S. National Team's World Cup hopes will rest largely on his shoulders.
Who's tougher than Sunderland? The 17-year-old brought adventure back in style this past year by circling the globe solo on a 36-foot boat in 13 months. Along the way, he snagged an ESPN The Magazine cover.
7. Hannah Teter
Arguably the most recognizable female in action sports, Teter took the snowboarding world by storm by snagging gold at the Olympics and Winter X, all before turning 20.
8. Ricky Rubio
The Timberwolves couldn't get Rubio, who last year at age 17 became the youngest Olympic basketball medalist, to leave Spain. (Nice job, guys.) So we can't watch the world's most exciting teenage baller this year.
9. Ryan Sheckler
Sheckler won just about every significant skateboarding event before he was through with high school and conquered MTV along the way. Not sure which is more impressive.
10. Chaz Ortiz
A Dew Cup victory and a string of major endorsement deals are just two of the reasons why this current Dundee-Crown (Carpentersville, Ill.) sophomore is perhaps the world's best young skater.
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