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BURLISON: Top prep stars of the '80s

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Frank Burlison

 
   
 
Prep sensations of the '80s
Player Ht. Class School
John Williams 6-8 '84 Crenshaw (Los Angeles, Calif.)
The most talented player ever (sorry, Marques Johnson!) out of a program that cranked a lot of them out. If he hadn¿t lost those 1-on-1 battles at the breakfast, lunch and dinner tables, he might have been the closest thing to Magic Johnson.
Elridge Hudson 6-6 '82 Carson (Carson, Calif.)
During his senior season he was about as dominant a player as I¿ve seen in Southern California. In hindsight, he was somewhat of a combination ¿Stacy Augmon¿ (he was a lefty) and ¿Larry Johnson¿ (just as strong and probably even springier). It¿s too bad knee injuries hampered his UNLV career and kept him out of the NBA.
Michael Jordan 6-4 1/2 '81 Laney (Wilmington, N.C.)
He scored 30 points in the McDonald¿s East-West game and my observation was ¿This guy can get any kind of shot anytime he wants.¿ I¿d say that was a pretty right-on analysis, wouldn¿t you?
Shaquille O¿Neal 7-0 '89 Cole (San Antonio, Texas)
During the July, 1988 BCI (Basketball Congress International) at Arizona State I watched the San Antonio team play and it had a 16-year-old, 260-pound center with almost no footwork, offensive skills or overall feel for the game. But he had boundless athletic ability, incredible enthusiasm and the kind of strength you don¿t see outside of a football uniform. Isn¿t it good to see he¿s polished his skills considerably since?
Larry Johnson 6-6 '87 Skyline (Dallas, Texas)
Let me tell you -- those BCI tournaments were something! They were also where I saw Albert King, Jeff Ruland and Gary Payton play for the first time. And this guy, too. LaBradford Smith (playing for a Houston team) was the ¿hot name¿ in the event in 1986. Smith was a heck of a dunker -- he later got a few of them at Louisville ¿ but Johnson, playing for Dallas, was obviously the better prospect. Like O¿Neal, he was just way too strong for skinny high school kids to cope with.

Tagged: Knicks, Magic, Thunder, Wizards, Gary Payton, Houston, Louisville, Arizona, Southern California, Arizona State, Long Beach State, Niagara, Navy, Alcorn State, UNLV, New Mexico

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