All-Decade: Most exciting players
Who were the most exciting high school players of this past decade? Nobody would argue against Zion Williamson leading the pack. After that, it's a fun debate. National Analyst Eric Bossi ranks the most entertaining players of the decade (2010-19).
1. ZION WILLIAMSON
Bossi's take: This one is a no-brainer. Zion Williamson is the single biggest freak of nature that I've ever seen when it comes to power, grace and raw athleticism. He captivated fans, racked up page views and played at an incredibly high level. Everybody is anxiously awaiting his return from injury and his debut with the New Orleans Pelicans.
2. ANDREW WIGGINS
Bossi's take: Now in his sixth season in the NBA, Andrew Wiggins has faced plenty of criticism for being an "underachiever," and much of that has to do with his crazy athleticism. I remember first seeing him as an eighth-grader at a prep school event and he was already as good an athlete as there was on the floor. By the time he left high school to head to Kansas, he was as explosive and entertaining an athlete as I have ever seen.
3. AQUILLE CARR
Bossi's take: The Crime Stopper. Need I say more? Who has had a better nickname than Aquille Carr, the diminutive point guard who was so entertaining that they said all the crime in Baltimore stopped when he took the floor? A commit to Seton Hall at one time, Carr bounced around late in his high school career and never achieved the level of success that his mixtapes did. But man, he was one of a kind.
4. SEVENTH WOODS
Bossi's take: I first saw Seventh Woods playing against rising seniors in the summer before his freshman year of high school and the things he was doing from an athletic standpoint were mind blowing. The mixtape covering his freshman season is one of the most iconic highlight reels of all time. His early exploits never translated to the college game, and he's currently redshirting at South Carolina after three quiet years at North Carolina.
5. THE BALL BROTHERS
Bossi's take: I don't know how I could make this list without including Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo. Love them or hate them, they packed gyms, played a fun style of basketball and they won a lot of games. That both Lonzo and Melo will be longtime NBA players is pretty impressive as well.
6. KYRIE IRVING
Bossi's take: Finding crazy mixtapes or highlight reels of Kyrie Irving is a little tougher because he came along early in the mixtape era. But take my word for it, he was incredibly fun to watch. What you see from him in the NBA today is the way he was in high school and no defenders had answers for his ball-handling or ability to finish around the rim.
7. MAC MCCLUNG
Bossi's take: One of the most explosive leapers that I've ever seen, Mac McClung is on his way to a really nice career at Georgetown. In high school he was a legend for his highlight reels, but I'll admit it, I kind of dismissed him as a real prospect because he never logged many minutes in the summer against top national competition and played small school basketball in Virginia.
8. SHAQUILLE JOHNSON
Bossi's take: The proof is in the highlights that you see below, Shaquille Johnson was one of the best-in game dunkers I have ever seen. He wasn't much of a jump shooter or ball handler, but my goodness he was one of the most disgusting high school dunkers to ever walk the face of the Earth. He was dismissed from Auburn after an arrest and finished up at Longwood.
9. AARON GORDON
Bossi's take: A few things stick out about Aaron Gordon. One, his summer team, the Oakland Soldiers, was ahead of the game in using videographers to promote their players. Also, the stuff that you saw in mixtapes, he did them each and every time he hit the floor. You didn't need several games to put together a reel for him because he was one highlight after another. He's still only 24 years old, had a memorable NBA Dunk contest against Zach LaVine and is in the sixth year of a successful NBA career.
10. DEMONTRAE JEFFERSON
Bossi's take: If you know me, then you know that pound for pound Demontrae Jefferson is one of my favorite players to watch of all time to watch. Talk about having an edge, the Milwaukee native lived on the edge at all times. He was flashy, he talked trash, he feared nobody and he scored over 1,000 points in just 49 games after taking a long and winding road to Texas Southern.
11. ANDRE DRUMMOND
Bossi's take: We've got to have some big guys in here and Andre Drummond was a force during his high school time. He's still athletic as an All-Star big man for the Detroit Pistons, but before he was such a hulking physical presence he was a raw and electrifying athlete. Oftentimes, I thought I was watching the next Shawn Kemp when I saw him play in his high school days.
12. DENNIS SMITH
Bossi's take: The Carolinas had one heck of a string of exciting athletes over the past decade and Smith is up near the very top of the list. The current New York Knick regularly embarrassed defenders who tried to stop him off the dribble and anybody who dared to challenge him at the rim ended up on highlight reels.
13. RYAN HARROW
Bossi's take: Harrow is another guy for whom there aren't as many slickly produced reels, but trust me, he was a human highlight reel. Skinny, quick and incredibly bouncy, what I remember most about Harrow was his incredible ball-handling. Even though he didn't put up huge numbers at either NC State or Kentucky, he was ahead of his time, and he finished his college career out strong at Georgia State.
14. J.P. TOKOTO
Bossi's take: Sometimes, I wonder how J.P. Tokoto wasn't able to harness his crazy athleticism into a longtime NBA career. Not only was he explosive, he was quick, had incredible body control and seemed to never get tired. His jumper was suspect and he was never the greatest ball handler, but it's still surprising to me he couldn't harness all of those athletic gifts to at least become an NBA player on the defensive end.
15. KWE PARKER
Bossi's take: Rounding out my list is Kwe Parker. He used to draw huge crowds for warm-ups because he was guaranteed to do some wild stuff just playing around for the crowd. In actual games he soared for towering jams and used his quickness and leaping ability to mask a skill level that was just so-so. After leaving Tennessee, Parker went to junior college and is now at North Carolina A&T.