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The Most Prematurely Hyped Athletes Ever

David DanielsSenior Writer IJanuary 19, 2011

The Most Prematurely Hyped Athletes Ever

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    Who's the next _______?  You can fill in the blank with any athlete who's considered to be one of the best in their sport: Peyton Manning, Alexander Ovechkin, Cristiano Ronaldo, LeBron James, Tiger Woods.  

    In the world that we live in today, information can spread faster than the blink of an eye.  As a result of that, a player's hype can sky rocket faster than ever before.

    On that note, meet K.J. Farfan.  The five year old basketball "superstar" has already been featured on a countless number of major websites including on ESPN.

    K.J. is one of many young athletes who have been given this level of recognition.   Many of them haven't even read a book without pictures in it yet or learned to multiply and divide, but they're already being labeled "The Next Big Thing."

    Here are the most prematurely hyped jocks ever:

20. Maseo

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    This kid's real name is an unknown.  "Maseo" means "Lil Mamba" as he was discovered by Kobe Bryant at his basketball camp.

    Maseo was just eight years old at the time the video, or highlight reel, was recorded.

    He won the Best Passer award at the camp.  His basketball IQ is insane for how old he is.

    Hey, if Kobe singles you out for your skills that has to mean something. 

19. Hasan Ayari

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    Ayari should be about seven or eight right now, but he's just six years old in this video.

    Who makes a training video when they're six?

    As you can see, this kid's already been nicknamed "Little Messi."

    Here's a video of him playing at age seven.

18. Alex Hammonds

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    There's videos of Hammonds all over YouTube.

    I'm surprised the name "Tony Hawk" hasn't been brought up yet.

    He's probably 10 or 11 by now.  I couldn't find any information on if he's being sponsored yet, but it should happen sooner than later.

17. Gabrielle Douglas

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    Four year old Gabby's video received over nine million views on YouTube.  You would think this is just some random viral video, but it's not.

    Gabrielle Douglas is currently some hotshot "international elite" gymnast.  She's currently 15 and has qualified for the 2010-2011 junior national team.

16. Oliver Wahlstrom

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    This Oliver's amazing trick shot made him world famous, but apparently the shot wasn't just luck.

    He was named a First Team All-Star in a junior hockey league after defeating other kids in skill competitions all over northern US and Canada.

15. Sebastian Telfair

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    Yeah, that Sebastian Telfair.

    Coming out of high school, Telfair had more hype than John Wall, Derrick Rose, and Mike Conley combined.  He appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated after considering skipping college and making the jump to the NBA.

    He did go straight to the pros, but failed.  His street ball style of play, though flashy and fun to watch, just didn't translate to the NBA.

14. Bryce Harper

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    The video is of a show ESPN did on the young player.  Harper was also on the cover of Sports Illustrated at just 16 years old.

    As a batter, he hits with incredible power as the video explains.  He could probably pitch in the majors as well, but will most likely play in outfield.

    He was selected in 2010 by the Washington Nationals in the MLB Draft.

13. LeBron James

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    No one in sports history has been more hyped than LeBron James.  Why is he so low on the list?  His hype, though on another level, began in high school and the athletes featured ahead of him were younger.

    James' high school games began to be televised as his name began to spread.  By the time he was about to enter the draft, everyone heard of him who wasn't living under a rock.

    Despite it being almost impossible to match the sky high expectations, he has done exactly that, in the regular season at least.

12. Jaylin Fleming

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    Jaylin Fleming is being called the best 10 year old basketball player in the world.

    He may be NBA bound in the future, but he's already years ahead of many NBA players in maturity.

    Obviously, like the rest of the young basketball players on this list, how tall he ends up will be the deciding factor on how far he can really go. 

11. Chris Leak

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    In high school, Chris Leak was seen as "The Next Big Thing."  He was all over ESPN and was featured on the front page of USA Today.

    Wake Forest offered Leak a full ride in the eighth grade.

    He may not have lived up to his expectations statistically speaking, but he led the Gators to their first national championship after a 10 year drought.

10. Evan Berry

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    Does the name sound familiar to you?  Evan is the brother of Eric Berry, the Tennessee Volunteers star safety who's now with the Kansas City Chiefs.

    Berry already committed to Tennessee at the age of 13.

    The recruiter: Lane Kiffin.

9. David Sills

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    Sills is just 13, but he's already verbally committed to USC.

    His quarterback coach Steve Clarkson also coached Matt Barkley and highly praised the youngster Sills.  Clarkson told the media, "His skill set is off the chart.  I've never seen anyone at his age do what he's been able to do."

    The recruiter: Lane Kiffin

8. Andrew Wiggins

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    Yeah, about these young basketball players futures relying heavily on height, Andre Wiggins is already set in that department.

    He's 15 right now, but his name was making the rounds as a 6'6", 13 year old.  He was labeled the best 13 year old baller in the world.

    Wiggins has already been compared to Tyson Chandler.

7. Jordan McCabe

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    Jordan McCabe is just 12 years old, but he's already been featured at a Washington Huskies basketball half-time show for his handles.

    He's not nearly as physically gifted as Wiggins, but his skill is good enough to take him places.

6. Madin Mohammad

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    Madin has already been labeled the next Zinedine Zadane.

    I'm not seeing any head-butts, but the kid has a lot of skill.

    He's seven right now and only six in the video.  Can you say Freddy Adu v2?  

    That's not meant to be an insult by the way.

5. Jayshawn Augusto

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    The "Next Michael Jordan," the "Next LeBron James": two names that have come up in the same sentance as the twelve year old Jayshawn Augusto.

    There may actually be merit for those comparisons.  Just watch the video: he's literately a freak of nature.

4. O.J. Mayo

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    Another the "Next LeBron" who was the original "Next LeBron."

    Like the documentary says, Mayo played varsity basketball since the seventh grade.

    After an impressive rookie season for the Memphis Grizzlies, he's digressed a little and is now coming off the bench.

3. Freddy Adu

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    Freddy Adu is the perfect example of way too much hype way too soon.  

    He was all over every major sports station and website at such a young age.  He made his Major League Soccer debut at the incredible age of 14.

    Adu just hasn't lived up to the expectations.  He's actually only 21 right now so he still has time to improve.

2. K.J. Farfan

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    K.J. Farfan Video

    Remember the name: K.J. Farfan.

    You'll have to try hard because by it will take over a decade for this kid to even make it to the college level.

    K.J.'s just five years old, but he's playing in a league with kids twice his age and twice his size and still is dominating.

    He may be the first five year old to be compared to Michael Jordan with a straight face.

1. Tiger Woods

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    Who else but Tiger?

    This video is of Woods featured on TV at the age of two.  At the age of five he appeared in Golf Digest.  About 10 years later he was winning junior competition after competition.

    It's safe to say he's lived up to that unbelievable hype today.

     

    David Daniels is an NFL Featured Columnist and Writing Intern at Bleacher Report and a Syndicated Writer. Follow him on Twitter or at One Yard Short.com.

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