Geico Nationals were among the many events that were canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic that has put the sports world on hold. It got us to thinking: Which high schools have the best women's basketball starting fives based on their alumnae?
Of course, there are many talented athletes who played in high school over the years. Some received All-America honors. Some went on to play in college. Some then played internationally. Some played in the WNBA -- and a select few became WNBA superstars.
Cy-Fair High School in Cypress, Texas, for example, was where Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike started out, and is also where former Florida standout Cassie Peoples won a state championship. Providence Day School in Charlotte, North Carolina, lists Indiana Fever guard Tiffany Mitchell and former South Carolina and Texas center Jatarie White as alumnae.
But those teams fall outside of the top five of which high schools could field the best starting five of all time.
5. Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, California)
Notable players: Katie Lou Samuelson, Karlie Samuelson, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Nirra Fields, Jordan Adams
Mater Dei has been one of the country's best teams in recent history, finishing the 2019-20 season ranked ninth in the espnW 25 Power Rankings. And the Monarchs also have one of the best all-time rosters as well.
Katie Lou Samuelson was the No. 1 overall player in the Class of 2015, Gatorade National Girls' Basketball Player of the Year, two-time American Athletic Conference Player of the Year with UConn and the No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 WNBA draft. Her résumé is almost as impressive as her skill set.
Her sister Karlie was also a McDonald's All American who made a living off the deep ball and the dribble-drive attack at Stanford from 2013 to 2017 and with the Dallas Wings.
Mosqueda-Lewis was a guard who used her size to put up numbers anywhere on the court. Clearly, that translated to the next level, as the former No. 1-ranked prospect won three national titles with UConn and was the No. 3 pick in the 2015 WNBA draft.
Fields was California's Gatorade Player of the Year in 2011, spending only two seasons at Mater Dei after transferring from Ohio. She ranks fifth on UCLA's all-time scoring list and spent one season in the WNBA after being a third-round pick in 2016.
Adams was among the nation's elite high school prospects as a senior at Mater Dei in 2012. She was ranked the No. 7 prospect in the class and was named a McDonald's All American. Adams landed at USC, but injuries derailed her career.
4. La Jolla Country Day (La Jolla, California)
Notable players: Candice Wiggins, Kelsey Plum, Maya Hood, Janae Fulcher, Te-Hina Paopao
La Jolla Country Day finished this past season second in the espnW 25 Power Rankings and won the Nike Tournament of Champions in December. The Torreys would also have one of the best backcourts in history.
Wiggins, who spent eight years in the WNBA and won the 2011 title with the Minnesota Lynx, was one of the greatest and most consistent guards in women's college basketball history. She was the Pac-12's all-time leading scorer when she finished her Stanford career in 2008, a record that has since been broken by Chiney Ogwumike and one of her other fellow former Torreys: Plum.
Plum was the No. 26 prospect in the Class of 2013, a playmaker who could easily take over a game. And take over she did. Plum became the NCAA's all-time leading scorer (3,527 career points), led 7-seed Washington to the 2016 Final Four, was named AP Player of the Year in 2017 and then drafted first overall by the San Antonio Stars (now the Las Vegas Aces).
Hood helped lead La Jolla Country Day to a state championship as a senior and finished her high school career with 1,761 points and 1,076 rebounds. She was almost a 1,000-point, 1,000-rebound player at San Diego as well, scoring 1,677 points and bringing down 991 rebounds.
In the frontcourt, Fulcher went from being a four-time high school letter winner to spending four years at Arizona State, playing 94 games as a Sun Devil.
The only Torrey who has yet to make her college debut is Paopao, the No. 11 prospect in the Class of 2020. Paopao, who signed with Oregon, rose up the player rankings as a senior, averaging 22.7 points and 4.3 assists per game and earning both Jordan Brand and McDonald's All American selections.
3. Duncanville High School (Duncanville, Texas)
Notable players: Tamika Catchings, Ariel Atkins, Tiffany Jackson, Ciera Johnson, Cinietra Henderson, Julie Lake
Catchings retired as the WNBA's all-time steals leader and in the top 10 in games, points, rebounds and assists. She's a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, WNBA MVP, WNBA champion, WNBA Finals MVP and an NCAA champion when she was at Tennessee. She might even be the greatest of all time. Don't forget: Catchings was the first player to tally a quintuple-double when she recorded 25 points, 18 rebounds, 11 assists, 10 steals and 10 blocks. She did that in 1997 with Duncanville.
Atkins burst onto the national scene as a senior with Duncanville when she was the No. 3 prospect in the Class of 2014. She was a McDonald's All American and was named Morgan Wootten Player of the Year, helping the Pantherettes win 105 games in a row over the course of three seasons. What has she done since? Scored 1,497 points at Texas, been drafted seventh overall in 2018 and helped the Washington Mystics win the 2019 WNBA title.
Jackson was a versatile power forward who averaged 17.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.2 steals as a senior in 2000. A three-time All-American at Texas, she ranks fifth on the Longhorns' scoring list (1,917 points). Jackson was drafted fifth overall in 2007 by the New York Liberty and spent nine years in the league.
Johnson was the No. 13 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, a McDonald's All American thanks to her dominance in the low post. After spending her true freshman season at Louisville, she transferred to Texas A&M, where she has averaged 12.0 points and 7.6 rebounds over the past two seasons.
If we're making a starting five of Duncanville alumnae, we could also include Julie Lake, a 5-foot-9 guard who scored 1,192 career points at Texas Tech, but the nod would likely go to Henderson, a 6-foot-4 center who totaled 1,983 points and 829 rebounds for the Longhorns from 1989 to '93.
2. Riverdale Baptist School (Upper Marlboro, Maryland)
Notable players: Jonquel Jones, Tianna Hawkins, Tiffany Stansbury, DeMauria Liles, Wanisha Smith, Chloe Jackson, Kaila Charles, Jennie Simms, Shakira Austin
Riverdale Baptist brings more depth than any other team in the top five. Jackson was named the 2019 Final Four's Most Outstanding Player when she helped Baylor win the title. Charles was a second-round pick in last month's WNBA draft. Austin averaged 12.0 points and 6.8 rebounds as a sophomore for Maryland last season. Yet they are among the Crusaders who would be left off of the program's all-time starting five.
Jones was the No. 17 prospect in the Class of 2012. She averaged 15.7 points and 15.6 rebounds as a senior, but it wasn't until after high school, when she grew an additional 2 inches, that she showed why she is one of the more dominant hybrid 4 players in today's game. Early on, her game resembled that of Kevin Durant, a tall player who could attack the rim, shoot from beyond the arc and defend on the inside. Now, she's a two-time All-Star who averaged 14.6 points and 9.7 boards for the Connecticut Sun last season.
Hawkins was Maryland's Gatorade Player of the Year in 2009 and went on to have a superb college career with the Terrapins, totaling 1,595 points and 1,086 rebounds in College Park. Hawkins, who can make a significant impact inside and has strong hands, has emerged as a solid frontcourt player since being drafted sixth overall in 2013. She averaged 9.5 points and 4.2 boards for the Mystics' championship squad in 2019.
Stansbury was a top-100 prospect who began her college career at Gulf Coast State before transferring to NC State. A 6-3 power forward, she was picked 29th overall in the 2006 WNBA draft by the Houston Comets. She played three seasons in the WNBA and 10 seasons overseas.
Liles, a 6-1 forward, averaged 17 points and 15 rebounds as a senior with the Crusaders. She also spent two seasons at Gulf Coast State, averaging 9.2 points and 6.2 rebounds, and was projected as the top-ranked junior college player in 2008. Liles averaged 10.6 points and 9.0 rebounds in her lone season as a Terrapin in 2008-09 before she moved on to a professional career in Europe.
Smith was a 5-8 guard who showed off her crafty skill set and scoring prowess to the tune of 19.8 points and 7.0 assists as a senior for Riverdale Baptist in 2003-04. She also helped pilot many great Duke teams, totaling 1,256 points as a Blue Devil. The New York Liberty drafted Smith 27th overall in 2008.
1. Christ the King High School (Middle Village, New York)
Notable players: Sue Bird, Chamique Holdsclaw, Tina Charles, Debbie Hemery, Darlene Saar, Nakia Hill, Clare Droesch, Lorin Dixon, Ariel Edwards, Kollyns Scarbrough, Dominique Toussaint, Shay Doron
Christ the King's all-time roster features three No. 1 overall WNBA draft picks who combined for seven Olympic gold medals, seven NCAA championships, three WNBA championships and 24 WNBA All-Star Game appearances. There's no question the Royals are No. 1 on this list.
Bird is perhaps the greatest point guard in women's basketball history. She was named New York State Player of the Year with Christ the King. From there, she went on to become a two-time NCAA champion with UConn, No. 1 overall pick in 2002, five-time EuroLeague champion, three-time WNBA champion and 11-time WNBA All-Star who has recorded more assists than anyone else in league history.
Holdsclaw is another Christ the King alumna who became a superstar in the college and professional ranks. She helped the Royals to four consecutive New York state championships, then won three NCAA titles and scored 3,025 points with Pat Summitt and the Lady Vols. She totaled 4,716 points, 2,126 rebounds and 699 assists in her 11-year WNBA career and was selected to the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame last month.
The third No. 1 draft pick to come out of Christ the King: Charles. She was named a McDonald's All American and Gatorade National Girls' Basketball Player of the Year in 2006, helping the Royals win 57 straight games and garner a No. 1 national ranking. She was a double-double machine who took her game to the next level at UConn, where she won two championships and was named Most Outstanding Player in the 2009 Final Four. Even at the professional level, Charles has been one of the fiercest competitors in the game. She was WNBA Rookie of the Year in 2010, WNBA MVP in 2012 and has been named to seven All-Star teams.
Hemery and Saar were teammates at both Christ the King and at George Washington. They both received All-America honors and helped the Colonials reach three NCAA tournaments. Hemery, a 5-9 point guard, scored 1,749 points, while Saar, a 6-1 small forward, totaled 1,809 career points.
Hill was one year younger than Hemery and Saar, but at 6-3, she was one of the best high school centers in the game. She was a WBCA All-American in 1992 and went onto play one season at Georgia, where she averaged 10.6 points and 5.7 rebounds.