Derrick Rose and Anthony Davis are just two of the 10 outstanding players on a list that highlights former Chicagoland prep basketball stars that graduated high school in 2005 or later.
Two players on this list were no. 1 picks overall in the NBA Draft. One was the no. 2 pick. Two others were drafted, and all five of them left college early.
Of the remaining five players, three of them became their college's all-time leading scorer. The other two were vital parts of their teams winning National Championships.
Everyone on this list is on this list for a reason and there were plenty of players that could have made it as well, had there not been all this talent already.
Everyone highlighted here is either playing in the NBA, NBA D-League, or in Europe. The common bond that they do share though is that they all started these illustrious careers in the same place: Chicago.
Wright attended Homewood-Flossmoor High School, where he won the Illinois Mr. Basketball award as a senior in 2005. The year before, Wright led the Vikings to the State Championship where they fell to Shaun Livingston and Peoria Central in the title game.
Wright attended Kansas, but only for two seasons before declaring for the NBA Draft in 2007. Wright's career-high scoring at KU came during his freshman year when he dropped 33 points on their rival Missouri Tigers.
Wright left for the NBA the season prior to Kansas' National Championship run, although that's not too surprising given Bill Self's ability to recruit and reload year in and year out. Still, Wright's decision to leave for the NBA at that point may not have been the right one.
Wright was drafted highly, 13th overall to New Orleans, where he played from 2007-10. Wright then played a season for the Toronto Raptors, but is now a part of the Austin Toros in the NBA D-League.
McNeal attended Hillcrest High School where he played with Maurice Acker, who later transferred to Marquette becoming college teammates with McNeal as well. McNeal played for MeanStreets AAU during his prep career.
At Marquette, McNeal became a jack of all trades player. As a sophomore, McNeal was selected as the Big East Defensive Player of the Year with a 2.6 steal per game average. McNeal served as the primary ballhandler, along with Dominic James, but was also a big-time scorer.
In fact, McNeal became Marquette's All-Time Leading Scorer in February 2009 and was selected as a Second Team All-American that same year. As a senior, McNeal averaged 20.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 2.2 steals.
McNeal is currently playing in the highest division of an Italian League with Sutor Basket Montegranaro. As a 6'3" shooting guard at this point, McNeal's NBA chances are nonexistent despite him being a pretty complete player overall.
Scheyer graduated from Glenbrook North High School in 2006, beating out Derrick Rose for the Illinois Mr. Basketball award that year. Scheyer's team won the Class AA State Championship during his junior season, but lost to Rose's Simeon squad as a senior.
Scheyer is an Illinois High School Basketball legend, thanks in large part to scoring 21 points in 75 seconds at the Proviso Holiday Tournament. As a high school senior, Scheyer averaged 32 points, six rebounds, five assists, and three steals.
After Scheyer's prep career came to a conclusion, he took his talents to play for Coach K at Duke. Scheyer's high school coach happened to be the brother of then Illinois head coach Bruce Weber, so losing Scheyer to Duke was heartbreaking for the Fighting Illini.
Scheyer was a four-year starter at Duke and set the ACC record for minutes played during a season as a senior. That also happened to be the same year that Duke won the NCAA Championship, defeating Butler in one of the best title games ever played.
Scheyer is currently signed to play for Gran Canaria in the Spanish league, although he played for the Houston Rockets D-League team in 2011. Scheyer's chances at making the NBA may be slim, but that cannot take anything away from his success as both a high school and college player.
Like Scheyer, Collins also graduated high school in 2006, but from Crane High School in Chicago. As a senior in high school, Collins averaged 33 points, eight rebounds, and six assists while being selected as a McDonald's All-American.
Collins never won a state title, although he helped the Cougars win two city championships during his time there. Collins' career game came against Whitney Young, another traditional powerhouse, when he scored 45 points.
After Crane, Collins took off for Lawrence, Kansas to play for coach Bill Self and the Jayhawks. Collins came off the bench during his first two seasons, although was often found on the court at the end of games replacing Russell Robinson.
Like Scheyer, Collins won a National Championship in college. He had the assist to Mario Chalmers' game-tying three-pointer against Memphis. Collins remained in school for his final two seasons after winning the title and was the lead anchor to Kansas' success in those years.
Collins' current professional playing status remains unclear, although it appears as though he will be playing in the NBA Developmental League in 2012. At only 5'11", it seems that Collins' chances at making it up to the NBA may be little to none at this point.
Pullen played his prep career as a member of the Proviso East Pirates, located in Maywood, Illinois. The 6'1" guard had a successful career there, but always struggled getting past St. Joseph's in the Sectional Championship game each year as they had both Demetri McCamey and Evan Turner at the time.
After graduating from Proviso, Pullen played at Kansas State and was part of the same recruiting class that featured Michael Beasley. Pullen was a mainstay at the point guard position, where he handled the rock for four consecutive seasons.
Pullen also had a knack for scoring and eventually became Kansas State's All-Time Leading Scorer during his final collegiate game. Pullen finished his career with 2,132 points after scoring 38 on Wisconsin in his last collegiate contest.
Pullen recently signed to play with Hapoel Jerusalem B.C. in Israel. He was also recently granted citizenship from Georgia and is a member of their national team. Pullen only stands 6'1", so at this point the NBA seems unlikely for him.
Turner attended St. Joseph's High School in Westchester, Illinois, the same high school that Isiah Thomas played at. There Turner was teammates with Demetri McCamey, who went on to play point guard for Illinois.
Turner finished third in the Illinois Mr. Basketball voting in 2007 and was eliminated by Derrick Rose and Simeon in the Supersectional that year. The graduating class of 2007 in Illinois truly was a special class that will be forever remembered for their talented players.
After graduating from the St. Joe's Chargers, Turner became a Buckeye and played for Thad Matta for three seasons before declaring for the NBA. During his time in Columbus, Turner played point guard, which was not a natural position for him.
Turner won the National Player of the Year that season over John Wall and had one of the greatest shots in Big Ten history, when he heaved this buzzer-beater over rival Michigan in a Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal matchup.
Turner was selected second in the NBA Draft in 2010, behind that same John Wall, to the Philadelphia 76er's. Turner averaged 9.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.8 assists during his second NBA season, while becoming a starter in the team's opening round playoff upset of the Chicago Bulls.
If anyone has something to say about the 76er's beating the Bulls in last year's playoffs, it's Rose. Rose went down with a torn ACL in Game 1, completely changing the outlook of the series.
Rose did not play varsity basketball as a freshman, but made the leap to varsity as a sophomore for coach Robert Smith. During Rose's junior year, the Wolverines won the Class AA title 31-29 over Peoria Richwoods.
Rose won the Illinois Mr. Basketball a year later, in 2007, after averaging 25.2 points, 9.1 assists, 8.8 rebounds, and 3.4 steals while helping lead Simeon to another championship. Rose's high school teams finished with a 120-12 record during his time there.
After rewriting the Illinois state record books, Rose decided to play for John Calipari as Memphis. Memphis finished the season with a 38-2 record, falling to Kansas in overtime in the National Championship. That Final Four run was later vacated for Memphis.
Rose has had the most successful professional career of any player on this list, including his 2011 MVP season. For his career, Rose averages 21.0 points, 6.8 assists, and 3.8 rebounds, and is heralded as one of the league's top players. Here's to a healthy and full recovery for Derrick.
Shurna was pulled up to Glenbard West's varsity team midway through his sophomore season, where he came off the bench for the remainder of that year. Shurna took big strides as a junior, leading the Hilltoppers to the Supersectional, where they fell to the Lockport Porters 53-50.
Although Shurna finished eighth in the Illinois Mr. Basketball voting in 2008, only Iman Shumpert has had even close to the same success since then. Shurna advanced to both the Three-Point and Slam Dunk championships at the state tournament that year, showing his ability to beat you in a variety of ways.
Shurna decided to play for Northwestern, where he became a starter immediately. Shurna finished second to Evan Turner in the Big Ten scoring race as a sophomore, but led the conference in that same category as a senior at 20.0 points per game.
Shurna finished his collegiate career with a remarkable 2,038 points, which is tops among Northwestern players all-time. Shurna once again proved his deadly shooting ability at season's end, when he won the State Farm Three-Point Shootout by knocking down 24 of 30 shots from behind the arc.
After playing with the Atlanta Hawks summer league team, this Glen Ellyn, Illinois native decided to sign a partially guaranteed contract with the New York Knicks just last week. The 6'9" Shurna's best strength as a player is his outside shooting, which could help him in his endeavor for an NBA roster spot.
Shumpert played in the same conference in high school as Shurna did, playing for Oak Park-River Forest. After losing to Shurna and Glenbard West in both matchups during their junior season, Shumpert and the Huskies beat GW twice as seniors.
Shumpert was selected to play in the McDonald's All-American game following his senior season, after helping OPRF win their third conference title with Shumpert. He was also selected as the conference's player of the year during both his upperclassmen years in high school.
Shumpert went to Georgia Tech for the next step in his career, where he and Shurna met again on multiple occasions although the Wildcats defeated the Yellow Jackets. Shumpert left school after three seasons for the NBA.
During his final year there, Shumpert led the Jackets in scoring, rebounding, and assists, which helped him become just the seventh ACC player to ever accomplish such a feat. Although not thought of as a great scorer at the next level, the 6'5" Shumpert was plenty qualified in the areas of defense and athletic ability.
Shumpert was selected 17th to the New York Knicks in the 2011 NBA Draft and averaged 9.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.7 steals as a rookie. Shumpert's season ended the same day as Rose's though, as he also tore his ACL.
Davis attended Perspectives Charter School in the city, which is far from the basketball powerhouse that many of the previously mentioned players attended. At the end of his freshman season, Davis stood only 6'0". Davis' growth spurt later in high school helped him become recognized on the national circuit.
As a senior, Davis averaged 32 points, 22 rebounds, and seven blocked shots per contest, despite his team only fielding a 6-19 record. Davis finished fourth in the Illinois Mr. Basketball voting and was selected as a McDonald's All-American.
Davis, like Rose, played for John Calipari during his one and only collegiate season. Unlike Rose though, Davis was able to close out the deal and lead Kentucky to a National Championship victory over the Kansas Jayhawks.
Davis averaged 15.2 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 4.6 blocks during the NCAA Tournament and was the Most Outstanding Player for the tournament. He also had the honor of taking home the National Player of the Year award.
Since winning the title last April, Davis was selected first in the NBA Draft to the New Orleans Hornets and won a gold medal for Team USA in the Olympic tournament in London. Davis has a bright future ahead of him, there's no doubt about it.