In honor of LeBron James returning to Cleveland, we take a look back to a few years ago when we tabbed him the greatest Ohio High School athlete of the decade.
Originally published March 26, 2010….
It’s all come down to this…Today we conclude the countdown of JJHuddle’s “Top 50 Ohio High School Athletes of the Decade” for 1999-2009. Today we unveil the No. 1 athlete in our countdown. And it shouldn’t be a surprise!
Today’s entry is the most visible and prolific high school athlete in Ohio high school history. He’s also the King.
1. LeBron James, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, Basketball and Football, 1999-2003: James could potentially head a list of Ohio’s greatest athletes ever. The state’s only three-time Mr. Basketball winner, James is also the only Ohio native to ever win the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award. Skipping college to head straight to the NBA, where he was drafted No. 1 overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers, James had a mythical high school career.
The most visible Ohio prep athlete in history, James and his SVSM teams won three state titles and played in four finals. His senior year, James averaged 31.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.4 steals en route to leading the Irish to the national championship. That season James and SVSM played a stacked schedule that included several of the country’s best teams and multiple national TV appearances.
Individually, James ranks fourth all-time in Ohio in scoring with 2,646 points and is the all-time leading scorer at the state tournament where he averaged 26 points per game (206 points in eight career games). The single most-attended basketball game in state tournament history is the 2003 D-II state final in which James and SVSM defeated Kettering Alter 40-36 before a crowd of 18,541 at Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center.
The second most attended game ever (18,504) was SVSM’s 71-46 win over Canton South in the 2003 semifinals.
James also starred as a wide receiver on the football field. A first team Division IV All-Ohio selection as a sophomore, James helped lead SVSM to the state semifinals as a junior (had 52 receptions for more than 1,000 yards and 15 TDs that season). He did not play as a senior. Could James have played in the NFL? Renowned high school football recruiting analyst Tom Lemming has said James would have been the country’s No. 1 football recruit as a senior as well – had he pursued it.
Yeah, he’s the King.
50. Daequan Cook, Dayton Dunbar, Basketball, 2002-2006
49. Maurice Hall, Columbus Brookhaven, Football, 1997-2001
48. Erick Howard, North Canton Hoover, Football, 2006-2010
47. Jared Sullinger, Columbus Northland, Basketball, 2006-2010
46. Marc Sylvester, Cleveland St. Ignatius, Track, 1997-2001
45. Collin Palmer, Lakewood St. Edward, Wrestling, 2005-2009
44. Dustin Schlatter, Graham/Massillon Perry, Wrestling, 2001-2005
43. Cachet Murray, Girard, Track, 2002-2005
42. Jantel Lavender, Cleveland Central Catholic, Basketball, 2003-2007
41. Whitney Meyers, Cincinnati St. Ursula, Swimming, 1999-2003
40. Lance Palmer, Lakewood St. Edward, Wrestling, 2002-2006
39. Harry Lester, Cuy. Valley Shristian Academy, Wrestling, 1997-2001
38. O.J. Mayo, North College Hill, Basketball, 2003-2006
37. Michelle Munoz, Mason, Girls Basketball, 1997-2001
36. Maurice Clarett, Warren Harding, Football, 1997-2001
35. Chris Ash, Akron Firestone, Swimming, 2001-2005
34. Bridget Franek, Mantua Crestwood, Track & Field, 2002-2006
33. Ryan Pore, Mansfield Madison Comprehensive, Soccer,
32. Jessica Simpson, North Canton Hoover, Softball, 2004-2008
31. Tony Jameson, Austintown-Fitch, Wrestling, 2005-2009
30. Blaine Maag, Columbus Grove, Football & Track & Field, 2001-2005
29. Jeff Jaggers, Bedford St. Peter Chanel, Wrestling, 2000-2004
28. Kristin Daugherty, Warsaw River View, Volleyball and Basketball, 2003-2007
27. Nate Davis, Bellaire, Football and Basketball, 2003-2007
26. Lauren Prochaska, Plain City
Jonathan Alder, Basketball, 2003-2007
25. Sarah Dorenkott, Gates Mills Hawken, Swimming, 2003-2006
24. Margo Geer, Fairbanks, Swimming, 2006-2010
23. Erik Kynard, Toledo Rogers, Track & Field, 2005-2009
22. Todd Boeckman, St. Henry, Football, Basketball and Baseball,
21. Sam Borchers, Yellow Springs, Track & Field, 2003-2007
20. Nicole Fawcett, Ben Logan, Volleyball, 2001-2005
19. Sarah Schulze, Anna, Cross Country, Basketball and Track & Field,
18. Jimmie Pacifico, Vandalia-Butler, Track & Field, 2003-2007
17. Ryan Radcliff, Sherwood Fairview, Football & Baseball, 2004-2008
16. Barbara Turner, Cleveland East Tech, Basketball, 1999-2002
15. Logan Stieber, Monroeville, Wrestling, 2006-2010
14. Jason Bainum, Williamsburg, Football, 1998-2002
13. Matt Allare, Kings Mills Kings, Tennis, 2003-07
12. Kenneth “Kiki” Willis, Youngstown Mooney, Soccer, 2001-2005
11. Ted Ginn Jr., Glenville, Football & Track, 2000-2004
10. Tyrell Sutton, Akron Hoban, Football, 2001-2005
9. Brandon Saine, Piqua, Football & Track, 2003-07
8. Alyssa Kiel, Gates Mills Hawken, Swimming, 2001-2005
7. Jon Diebler, Upper Sandusky, Basketball, 2003-07
6. C.P. Schlatter, Columbus DeSales/Graham, Wrestling, 1999-2003
5. Emily Pendleton, Elmore Woodmore, Track & Field, 2003-2007
4. Sunni Olding, Minster, Cross Country, Basketball and Track,
3. David Taylor, Graham, Wrestling, 2005-2009
2. Ben Mauk, Kenton, Football, 1999-2003