What do LeBron James, last year's National High School Player of the Year and Brooklyn's sensational senior point guard Sebastian Telfair have in common? Besides being Prep Baketball Royalty?
The answer is that both James and Telfair will have played in preseason exhibition basketball games against Northwestern High School of Prince George's County before their respective senior seasons in high school.
Northwestern Coach Tony Dickens recently told Md.Varsity.com that his Northwestern Wildcats will face Telfair and his Lincoln High School teammates in a preseason scrimmage/exhibition in November. Telfair is a cousin of former Lincoln High/Georgia Tech star,and current NBA star, Stephon Marbury. Telfair has been ranked among the Top 5-10 players in the Class of 2005 since crashing on the shoe camp summer season and earning prep All-American honors as a ninth grader.
"The rule is that you can travel up to 300 miles to play," said Dickens. "We'll be playing Lincoln on about November 15. Last year we played LeBron James and (Akron) St. Vincent's-St. Mary's, I believe we played that in Youngstown (Ohio)."
Dickens coached prep basketball in Ohio before moving East to Maryland.
In just his third year at the Hyattsville, Md., public school, Dickens has Northwestern poised to return to its glory days of the early 1980's. In 1982 and and 1983, the Wildcats produced prep All-Americans in consecutive years with the late Len Bias and Boyce Cherry.
Current Norhwestern star senior forward Jeff Green is, like Bias and Cherry, a strong, athletic, 6'8" combination forward. The versatile and talented 215 pounder "blew-up" this Summer when he was the MVP in both the Championship Game and the All Star Game at The Rock Summer League at High Point High School. Green, who is being recruited by schools such as Georgetown, Syracuse, George Washington, and Providence, may be Northwestern's best prospect since the former Maryland All-American and Boston Celtic lottery pick Bias. DCHoops.com. rates Green as the Number Two senior in the D.C. Area for the Class of 2004.
Since last season, Dickens has added two tall and talented "foreign imports" to the Wildcat roster: 6'8" 190 pound Jerry Follot, originally from Nigeria, enrolled at Northwestern late last year and has gained some valuable AAU and Summer League experience. Follot is a bit raw offensively, but a great athlete who showed an acumen for blocking shots and rebounding at The Rock this summer.
"He is an athlete, said Dickens. "Jerry runs a 5:30 mile, he can run all day. He has long arms and can really jump. He can get his elbows over the square on the backboard."
Follot has been classified as a senior.
6'9" German Jannick Freese arrived in Hyattsville over the Summer as part of a student foreign exchange program. He is classified as a junior and will be in the U.S. for one year.
"He is a big kid. He has a good understanding of the game. He'll help us. He gives us a 6'9 1/2" kid with a little muscle, too. He might be the best 6'9' three point shoter in the state of Maryland this year, " said Dickens.
Several rival area highschool players who have seen Freese play tis Summer and Fall at Northwestern and in P.G. rec centers have spoken very highly of his potential.
Northwestern ended the summer on a high note with consecutive wins in The Rock Playoffs over defending Maryland 4A Champon Oxon Hill HS and WCAC and D.C. Title Game Champion Gonzaga HS.
Dickens has been keeping his players very busy since last season ended and the Wildcats have been building chemistry through playing a LOT of basketball together.
"I put our kids together on an AAU team and got them in some AAU events last Spring and Summer, we also played in Summer Leagues and now I've got them in a Fall League at Friendly High School," said Dickens. "By the time this season starts, I would guess that we'll have 40-50 offseason games under our belts since last year."