The LeBron hype might be unprecedented, but it's not because the major sports media have been ignoring high school stars.
Below are some prep phenoms who made the cover of Sports Illustrated, along with their cover promo -- and a short summary of their career exploits.
|LeBron James is the latest prep star to top SI.|
Feb. 14, 1966: "Brightest Star in High School Basketball -- Rick Mount of Lebanon, Indiana"
SI's first high school cover boy, Mount was a three-time All-America selection for Purdue, averaging 39.4 points his senior year. He went on to play for the Indiana Pacers, Kentucky Colonels, Memphis Sounds and Utah Stars in the ABA.
Feb. 16, 1970: "The Best High School Player in America -- Mansfield's Tom McMillen"
McMillen played for the U.S. Olympic basketball team at the 1972 Olympics, then went on to 11 NBA seasons (averaging 8.1 ppg) and three terms as a U.S. Congressman from Maryland.
Aug. 9, 1971: "Kansas Schoolboy Marvel Mike Peterson"
|Tom McMillen went on to the NBA and then to Congress.|
Peterson was a four-sport star at Yates Center High, and went on to play basketball and baseball at Kansas State Teachers College (now called Emporia State University).
April 29, 1974: "Best Schoolboy Athlete -- Utah's Bruce Hardy"
The Dolphins picked Hardy in the ninth round of the 1978 draft. In his 12-year career as a tight end, he caught 256 passes for 2,455 yards and 25 TDs. Hardy coached for six years in the Arena Football League and now coaches at Florida International University.
Feb. 23, 1981: "The Can't-Miss Kid -- Here's Bobby Carpenter. He's 17 and hails from Peabody, Mass. NHL scouts say he's the best U.S. prospect they've seen. Ever."
Carpenter became the first U.S. player to go right from high school to the NHL, and was the first U.S. player to score 50-plus goals in an NHL season, racking up 53 goals and 42 assists in 1984-85. He played 18 NHL seasons for the Capitals, Rangers, Kings, Bruins and Devils, compiling 728 points on 320 goals and 408 assists.
|Bruce Hardy became a solid NFL tight end.|
Sept. 1, 1986: "Kristie Phillips -- The New Mary Lou"
Phillips, a 14-year-old, 74-pounder when she appeared on SI's cover, was, like Retton, coached by Bela Kerolyi. She won the U.S. all-around title in June 1987, but only made the 1988 Olympic team as an alternate and didn't compete. Phillips got a cheerleading scholarship at LSU and has done some acting, appearing in the 1994 Lance Henriksen vehicle, "Spitfire," and as a gymnastics stunt double in the 1997 TV flick "Perfect Body."
May 8, 1989: "Superkid -- Texas high school pitching phenom Jon Peters runs his record to 51-0"
Peters was the first and only high school baseball player to make SI's cover. He pitched for Brenham H.S, finishing his prep career 54-1, a national record. He went to Texas A&M and planned to pitch for the Aggies, but never made it to the mound. Peters tore his rotator cuff and retired at the age of 21.
June 26, 1995: "Ready or Not Three weeks ago Kevin Garnett went to his high school prom. Next week he'll be a top pick in the NBA draft."
|There was no SI cover jinx for Kevin Garnett.|
In fact, KG was picked fifth by the T-Wolves, and through his first 7½ NBA seasons has averaged 19 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists per game. A perennial All-Star.
June 24, 1996: "Last year Richie Parker was convicted of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl. Last week he received a college basketball scholarship. A modern
The New York prep star played four years for Long Island University and graduated in May 2000. He played briefly for the Atlantic City Seagulls of the USBL. You've probably seen him on the court in two Brand Jordancommercials directed by Spike Lee. In one, he guards Ray Allen; in the other, he's up against Darius Miles and Quentin Richardson.
Feb. 18, 2002: "High school junior LeBron James would be an NBA lottery pick right now."
You can bet he'll be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft this June. Will he leave up to the hype after that? Stay tuned.