Problem…Sports enthusiasts and self proclaimed experts suggest early comparisons of high school basketball players to pro players is a bit premature. Solution…Show them game film on Jayson Tatum, Trevon Duvall, and Harry Giles and then see if they retract these thoughts. Different styles, bright futures, and bonafide present-day all stars. These words are a short description of three of the most talked about stars in high school basketball. The comparisons of these young talents to former pro stars come easy to any true basketball fan. Watch Tatum for a game or two and its hard not to see shades of Tracy McGrady.
The similarities are uncanny. McGrady had the ability to take over games at the high school and pro level. A perennial all star who decided to skip college competition to enter the pros, McGrady was noted as possibly the best at using his length. A long guard that forced countless match up problems with the opponent, McGrady goes into the basketball history books as collectively one of the most electric scorers of all time. That said, watching class of 2016 Duke commit, Jayson Tatum moves fans of the game to seeing an obvious comparison to McGrady. Tatum too creates incredible miss matches as the best point forward on the present day high school basketball scene. If you haven’t heard the story on Tatum yet here’s a quick breakdown. He’s a 6’8 small forward from Chaminade High school in St. Louis, Missouri. As said earlier, the five star athlete is a Duke commit and will more than likely make a huge splash on the college scene that can only be compared to what Jabari Parker did only a short time ago. Tatum’s highlight reel explains a lot and while its a respect to the game not to place high schoolers in the category of future hall of famer, it is more than fair to say that Jayson Tatum has game and skill level comparable to a young McGrady. Meanwhile another class of 2016 commit, Harry Giles certainly brings up comparisons to another recognizable former pro in Shawn Kemp.
Most famous for his role with the former Seattle Supersonics who were relocated to Oklahoma City, Kemp was a big man who mastered his role of playing above the rim. He also became a legend with his lethal accuracy from the “top of the key.” Giles who is presently at Oak Hill Academy and also a Duke commit doesn’t necessarily try to imitate the ways of Kemp but has the default game of the latter because of an almost identical skill set. Very much the high flier and above the rim player, Giles will too knock down those mid to long range shots with a level of accuracy normally seen in the best guards. And let’s not forget the defensive similarities between the two. Supreme verticals usually begets supreme shot blocking ability and Giles has taken up an advanced course in rejecting the opponents’ attempts. Obviously Kemp is a historical figure in the terms of professional basketball success even more for those who watched the game during the 90’s era. This generation may indeed catch their version of the Kemp-like skill set in Giles. Finally Trevon Duval is the top guard of 2017 and has earned the right to be compared to a pro star. Duval’s humble but fierce approach to the game has garnered the respect of the high school basketball world. It’s hard not to see the resemblance between Trevon Duval and NBA legend Kevin Johnson.
Those who were fortunate enough to see Johnson in play saw one of basketball history’s greatest floor generals. He was also one of the best at spreading the floor and creating his shots during clutch moments. Although Duval is only a junior in high school the fanfare that he has experienced is understandable. He has been described as having an advanced knowledge of the floor and pro level skills. More than that is put a tape of Kevin Johnson and Trevon Duval next to each other and you see early legendary status connecting itself with the young man from Advanced Prep Academy. Pundits will of course dig in and place question marks next to these young prep stars and say action speaks louder than words. Fans of these three will cheer them on regardless. Their comparable mentors wouldn’t hesitate in saying stay tuned.