Come Sunday night (8 p.m. ET) when 25 of the NBA’s brightest stars lace ‘em up in Chicago for the NBA All-Star Game at the United Center, elite high school players will join millions of spectators around the world marveling at the spectacular plays and even daydreaming about matching up with the best players on the planet.
The latter isn’t as far-fetched for a select group of top tier players across the country, who are already showing up on futuristic NBA Draft boards well before they’ve even committed to a college.
To that end, we take a look at 11 high school players who could, with a logical progression, potentially take the next step as pros and earn their way into All-Star status.
Chet Holmgren, Minnehaha Academy (Minneapolis, Minn.), 2021, F/C
Why he could be an All-Star: At 6-foot-11, Holmgren is a matchup nightmare with elite guard skills and exceptional footwork, which allows him to operate at all five positions on the court. Holmgren is also a gifted shot blocker and uses his 7-3 wingspan masterfully on both ends of the floor.
Paolo Banchero, O’Dea (Seattle), 2021, F
Why he could be an All-Star: Banchero impacts the game in multiple facets offensively, especially in the pick-and-pop and pick-and-slip. At 6-foot-11, he protects the rim, swallows rebounds and is versatile enough to lead the break. Banchero’s motor remains in overdrive.
Patrick Baldwin Jr., Hamilton (Sussex, Wis.), 2021, SF
Why he could be an All-Star: Baldwin is an elite scorer from all over the floor, which, coupled with his 6-foot-8 frame spells doom for the opposition. Baldwin competes defensively and is versatile enough to guard all five positions.
Terrence Clarke, Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.), 2020, SG
Why he could be an All-Star: Clarke is a big time three-level scorer with great size (6-foot-7) and feel on the court. Clarke is a stellar playmaker for himself and his teammates, has a high IQ and competes on the defensive end.
Emoni Bates, Lincoln (Ypsilanti, Mich.), 2022, SF
Why he could be an All-Star: Bates is a 6-foot-9 marksman who hits the target whether he’s set or creating off the dribble. His 6-9 wingspan allows him to maneuver around smaller players easier and finish efficiently in the lane. He’ll need to get stronger, but he makes up for his lack of strength with a tenacious approach every time he touches the floor.
Cade Cunningham, Montverde (Fla.) Academy, 2020, PG
College: Oklahoma State
Why he could be an All-Star: Cunningham is arguably the best point guard in the country, but he’s also a lockdown defender, hounding the ball all over the floor. At 6-foot-6, Cunningham has the size to excel in the NBA and is a proven three-level scorer with elite athleticism and a mentality that won’t be denied.
Evan Mobley, Rancho Christian (Temecula, Calif.), 2020, C
Why he could be an All-Star: Mobley isn’t one of those bigs that dreams of being a point guard, he’s content to do most of his damage in the paint and accepting that role has made him dominant. A gifted back-to-the-basket scorer, Mobley has also shown the ability to face-up and knock down perimeter jumps shots. Mobley’s 7-4 wingspan and motor enables him to be a gifted rebounder and rim protector.
Jalen Green, Prolific Prep (Napa, Calif.), 2020, CG
Why he could be an All-Star: Green is an exceptional athlete who has worked himself into being a marksman from the perimeter (46 percent on the season). Green is a hound of a defender and has the innate ability to make his teammates better.
Greg Brown III, Vandegfit (Austin, Texas), 2020, F
Why he could be an All-Star: Brown is a utility player who impacts the game in too many ways to box him in to one position. He uses his elite athleticism to finish plays with authority, has the ability to knock down jump shots and erases shots on the defensive end. Brown is also an exceptional rebounder and underrated passer.
Jonathan Kuminga, The Patrick School (Hillside, N.J.), 2021, SF
Why he could be an All-Star: There’s little that can be done to stop Kuminga when he decides he wants to get to the rim and score. Kuminga is 6-foot-8 with a 6-11 wingspan and excels as a slasher even through contact. Kuminga is a ferocious competitor whose high motor gives him the edge as a rebounder and defender.
B.J. Boston, Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.), 2020, SG
Why he could be an All-Star: Boston is a lanky, 6-foot-6 guard with elite shooting ability, playmaking ability on all three levels and overall great feel on the offensive end. Boston’s 6-11 wingspan allows him to lock up defensively, cover multiple areas and positions and excel as a rebounder.