December 12, 2002

Any room on the bandwagon?

Unless you've been living under a rock this year, you've probably heard of LeBron James, the high school basketball phenom from Ohio.

Last night on ESPN2, James' St. Vincent-St. Mary squad took on the #1 high school basketball team in the country, perennial powerhouse Oak Hill Academy.

Oak Hill has a long history of sending players to elite division one schools (including guys like Jerry Stackhouse and current college superstar Carmelo Anthony) and have no fewer than 5 future D-1 players on their current team.

St. Vincent-St. Mary basically just has LeBron James.

They have some other decent players, including a kid that is headed to Akron next year, but they are only going as far as LeBron is going to take them.

And, last night, he took them pretty far.

This isn't exactly an original thought, but LeBron James is the real deal.

In front of a National audience, the TV cameras and Dick Vitale, LeBron put on a hell of a show.

His team beat the #1 team in the country by 20 points (65-45).

LeBron had 31 all by himself and also added in 6 assists and 13 rebounds.

James' athleticism is absolutely off the charts.

He already has a pro body and is a prototype shooting guard/small forward at 6-8, 235 pounds.

James is fast and he has the best jumping ability I have ever seen.

Perhaps the most impressive part of his game last night was his magnificent passing ability.

Whenever he has the ball he draws a crowd of defenders and James has the unique ability to find open teammates for easy shots to take advantage of the defense having to focus so much of their attention on him.

The one area of his game that needs work is shot selection/jump shooting ability.

Right now James is a good shooter, capable of hitting 3s and keeping the defense honest, but he is far from a great shooter.

But, everything else is at an A+ level.

Good defender.

Good rebounder.

Great inside game.

Tremendous athleticism.

Point guard ball-handling skills to go along with a 6-8 frame.

And he passes like Magic Johnson and goes to the rack like Michael Jordan.

LeBron James seemed to sort of glide around the court like a guy that just knew exactly what he needed to do and exactly how he needed to do it.

I know this is a baseball website and I really do try to keep the subjects baseball-related, but I just couldn't help myself.

It isn't often that you get to see pure greatness for the very first time.

And I saw it last night in LeBron James.

At the very worst, he is going to be another Tracy McGrady/Kobe Bryant.

At the very best, who knows?

*****Comments? Questions? Email me!*****

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