LeBron James changed the way we think and speak about young NBA prospects.
Looking back, we should start referring to high school basketball in terms of "BL" and "AL," as in Before LeBron and After LeBron.
There was actually demand for recruiting coverage After LeBron. He showed it was possible to be that big and hold that much star power, despite not being old enough to drive. And now fans and scouts alike all turned the lights on to their miner helmets in hopes of discovering the next LeBron James.
As a freshman at St. Mary-St. Vincent, he dropped 25 in the championship game to win the Division III state title. His team went back-to-back the next year, with James finishing the season as the only sophomore ever to be selected to the USA Today All-USA First Team.
Soon after, James became the first junior to win the National Player of the Year. So it shouldn't be a surprise he won it again the following year.
He averaged 31.6 points, 9.6 boards and 4.6 assists his final high school season, while his team finished the year with the top national ranking. By the time he was a senior, James' face had been on magazine covers, television screens and the top of every NBA team's draft board.
He set a bar that should stand strong for a while. And because it's there, we now have a reason to keep an eye on it—to see if anyone can reach it.
Never have so many eyes been on high school basketball, and we can credit that to the kid once dubbed "The Chosen One."