SCPrepNation.com takes a look at the players currently playing in the NBA that came out of South Carolina high school programs. The talent is so superb that a strong starting five consisting of South Carolinians could probably take out many NBA teams in the league.
Kevin Garnett 6'11 220 pounds Forward
First and foremost the premier player from South Carolina starring in the NBA right now would have to be former Mauldin High School star Kevin Garnett. Garnett started his career at Mauldin and left for Farragut Academy in Chicago late in his high school career.
Garnett has spent his entire career in the NBA playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves and the former Mauldin Maverick enjoyed his best season in 2003-04 when he was awarded the MVP award in not only the All-Star game but for the entire season as well. A 6-time All-NBA selection and eight-time All-Star selection Garnett averaged 21.8 points per game last year along with a league leading 12.7 rebounds per game.
Ray Allen 6'5 205 pounds Shooting Guard
Ray Allen continues to be one of the sweetest shooting guards currently in the league and it all started for him at Hillcrest Dalzell High School. Allen led his high school squad to a AAAA state championship in 1993. From there Ray took his talents to Connecticut where he showed the rest of the country that he indeed was one of the nation's very best players. In 1996 he was named the Big East Player of the Year and was a consensus First Team All-American selection by numerous writers and organizations.
Allen was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves but never played with them as he was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks for Stephon Marbury. There he showed the deft shooting touch that made him the #5 selection in the 1996 draft. Later in the 2002-03 season he was traded to the Seattle Supersonics as the primary player for Gary Payton and Desmond Mason. Over his career Allen has averaged 21.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game. Named to the All-Star teams five times Allen continues to shine as one of the league's best shooters. In 2001-02 he won the AT&T long distance shootout during the All-Star break. Last year Allen averaged a career high 25.1 points per game in Seattle.
Jermaine O'Neal 6'11 260 pounds Forward/Center
Like Garnett, O'Neal left for the NBA directly out of high school (Eau Claire High School) and after sitting on the bench of the Portland Trailblazers for four years Jermaine was traded to the Indiana Pacers. After the trade to Indiana From there his career has taken off as he's averaged over 20 points a game for the past four seasons. In 2002-2004 Jermaine obtained a feat that few in the NBA rarely are able to in averaging 20+ points and 10+ rebounds per game over an entire season. When O'Neal is on he's capable of lighting up the stat sheet as he did against Milwaukee in 2005 when he exploded for a career high 55 points.
The former Eau Claire star has appeared in four All-Star games starting three years in a row for the Eastern Conference. O'Neal has also earned All-NBA status for the past three years as well. Last season he averaged 20.1 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game.
Raymond Felton 6'1 198 pounds Point Guard
Raymond Felton took the nation by storm as a star point guard at Latta High School and the small town kid took his skills to North Carolina to play for the Tar Heels. During his career at Latta High Felton set the state scoring record of 2,992 career points. At North Carolina he became a household name amongst college basketball fans. The blazing fast point guard made All-ACC first team and won the Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard Award as the nation's top point guard in 2005. Those accolades however weren't the pinnacle for Felton in 05' as he helped lead the Tar Heels to the 2005 NCAA national championship.
Following the national championship Felton decided to take his talents to the NBA where he was drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats. After starting the season on the bench as a backup Felton was given some starts and extended minutes towards the end of his rookie season as he averaged 11.9 points and 5.6 assists per game. The Latta native is expected to be one of the NBA's top point guards after a year of experience under his belt along with a healthy team to distribute the ball to.
Shammond Williams 6'1 200 pounds Point Guard
Shammond Williams wasn't heavily recruited coming out of high school playing at Southside High School in Greenville but his hunger and competitive spirit lead him to Fork Union Military Academy (VA) where he worked on his game and earned a number of big time D1 scholarship offers but Williams decided to sign with the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Williams continued to develop while at North Carolina and he enjoyed a breakout season during his junior season. From there he kept up his work ethic and NBA scouts started to notice that he was one of the nation's best shooters and had gained the ability to run a team as well. A 42 point outburst against Georgia Tech is still talked about by many Tar Heel fans as one of the greatest individual performances ever by a North Carolina player. The 42 points still stands as a record for most points in a game every by a Carolina player even surpassing basketball legend Michael Jordan.
Drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the 1998 draft Williams struggled to make the team and was cut but quickly latched on with the Seattle Supersonics the following season. After three seasons backing up Gary Payton Williams was traded to Boston. From there he was traded to Denver where he averaged a career high 9.4 points per game. He was later traded to the Orlando Magic and then to the New Orleans Hornets.
Wanting more playing time Williams took his talents overseas to for the past two seasons where he played for FC Barcelona and UNICS Kazan. Williams won the Euroleague MVP award and his play didn't go unnoticed as the Los Angeles Lakers have recently signed Williams to a one year contract.
Mikki Moore 7'0 225 pounds Center
Mikki Moore at 7'0 tall was hard to fly under the radar but the Blacksburg High star did for a while. Moore went on to Nebraska where he had a solid career including the school record for blocked shots in a career with 236. Moore then moved on to play in the CBA for a year where he enjoyed All-Rookie First Team honors after averaging 11.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
Moore has spent time with quite a few teams in the NBA but his defense, rebounding, and athletic ability have allowed him to enjoy a long career as a role player for all of those teams. Moore is currently set to play for the New Jersey Nets this year.
Interesting Note: NBA execs apparently have a thing with South Carolina natives at the #5 spot because Garnett (1995), Allen (1996), and Felton (2005) were all taken with the fifth pick in their respective NBA draft classes.