Top prospect headed to NBA draft

Updated: April 14, 2004, 2:09 PM ET
By Bill Hodge |

The nation's top high school prospect, forward/center Dwight Howard of Atlanta-Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy, Ga., has announced that he will turn professional, but still enroll in college.

Howard is projected to be the first or second pick in the NBA draft. He also plans to apply to North Carolina and become a part-time student.

"I said I'm going to forgo playing in college, but not a college education," Howard stated at a press conference.

Howard, who averaged 25 points, 18 rebounds and eight blocked shots as a senior, was selected as the Naismith Prep Basketball Player of the Year.

Class 2004 guard Troy Mathis of Raleigh, NC/Laurenburg Charter, NC., has chosen Clemson. Mathis, who decommitted from Southern California, once scored 80 points in a game as a junior.

Oklahoma has a commitment from Class 2004 guard Terrell Everett of Charleston-Ashley Hall, SC/Southwest Missouri State CC, Mo., over interest from Minnesota, Mississippi and Tulsa.

Memphis has pledged Class 2004 guard Tanqueray (Tank) Beavers of Athens, Ala. The Tigers recently gained Class 2004 forward Waki Williams of Columbus-East, Ohio/Mt. San Jacinto CC, Cal., who averaged 16 points and eight rebounds last season.

Penn State gained forward Travis Parker of Greenville, NC/Southwest Missouri State CC, Mo.

Gonzaga has Class 2004 forward J.P. Batista of Brazil/Western Nebraska CC, Neb/Barton County CC, Kan., who averaged 20 points this past season.

Houston has forward Englebert Cherrington of Belize/Midland CC, Tex.

East Carolina gained Class 2004 forward Jonathan Hart of Roselle, NJ. He averaged 26 points as a senior.

South Florida added forward Maurice Mobley of Andress, Tex/Mt. San Antonio CC, Cal/Parkland CC, Ill., over New Mexico State.

Louisiana Tech gained forward Michael Wilds of Los Angeles-Dorsey, Cal/Chipola CC, Fla/Los Angeles CC, Cal. He picked Utah State in Class 2003.

Ball State has Class 2004 forward Anthony Newell of Chicago-Simeon, Ill., who averaged 18 points as a senior.

Akron has pledged guard Cedric Middleton of University Park-Marian Catholic, Ill/Wolfeboro-Brewster Academy, NH. Akron recently released guard Allan Hanson of Milwaukee-Wauwatosa East, Wis., from his signed letter.

Fordham gained guard Marcus Stout of Detroit-Renaissance, Mich.

Drake pledged guard Leonard Houston of Holland-West Ottawa, Mich.

UC-Irvine pledged Class 2004 center Andrew Bruckner of Valencia, Cal/College of the Canyons, Cal.

*Check Class 2004 lists for Prospects/Commitments/Signings/Schools and Conferences. Ninety-one prospects on the early Class 2004 Top 100 have made Commitmen ts or Signed. List of remaining Top 100 Prospects.

2004 NBA Draft
*(May 10-Early Entry Deadline; June 17-Early Entry Withdrawal Deadline; June 24-NBA Draft)
C Jackie Butler 6-11 Virginia Beach-Coastal Christian, Va. (Signed with Tennessee). Signed with agent for NBA Draft and will not attend college. Projected Draft: Second round, if selected.
F Ivan Chiriaev 7-1 Oakville, Ontario-St. Thomas Aquinas (Pledged to Iowa State). From Russia and has been playing for two years in Canada. Very good ball-handler with outside shot who played guard as a prep. Projected Draft: Top 10 to 15 in first round.
Will Not Enter Draft
F/C LaMarcus Aldridge 6-11 Seagoville, Tex., has announced he will sign with Texas. He was expected to be a possible late first round to second round selection.
Possible Entries (second round selections do not receive guaranteed contracts)
C/F Dwight Howard 6-10 Atlanta-SW Atlanta Christian, Ga (Uncommitted). The top prep prospect for NBA with the body, skills and upside that general managers love to draft. Predicted Draft: First or second pick in first round (Howard or forward Emeka Okafor of Conn).
F Josh Smith 6-8 Mouth of Wilson-Oak Hill Academy, Va (Signed with Indiana). Exceptional talent and future. Still claims to not made a decision on the NBA, but has played in three all-star games and lost his freshman year of college eligibility. Predicted Draft: Top five to ten in first round.
G Shaun Livingston 6-7 Peoria-Central, Ill (Signed with Duke). Expected to play for the Blue Devils, but may surprise by entering the draft. Great floor general with decision-making skills, but has very thin fame. Projected Draft: Top four to 10 in first round.
G Sebastian Telfair 6-0 Brooklyn-Abraham Lincoln, NY (Signed with Louisville). Is the East Coast hype bigger than the small player? No high school point guard has ever declared for the NBA draft, but Telfair may be the first. Many scouts say one or two years in college would help. Needs to work on outside shot. Projected Draft: Top 10 to 15 in first round.

F Al Jefferson 6-10 Prentiss, Miss (Signed with Arkansas). A dominator with a power game who probably needs a year at Arkansas to develop moves and get into the lottery for big money. Projected Draft: Late first round to second round.
C Randolph Morris 6-11 Fairburn-Landmark Christian School, Ga (Uncommitted). Has the size and power that could translate into the pro game but would be a project at this point. Georgia Tech or Kentucky are his college favorites. Very intelligent. Should wait. Draft: Late first to second round.
F Juan Palacios 6-8 Centereach-Our Savior New American, NY (Uncommitted). Great talent and size, but needs a year of college. Should wait. Draft Range: Late first to second round.
F Shawne Williams 6-8 Laurinburg Prep, NC (Signed with Memphis). Needs to play at least a year in college. Should wait. Projected Draft: Late first to second round.
C Robert Swift 7-0 Bakersfield, Cal (Signed with Southern California). Great upside with his size and footwork, but needs weight to handle the NBA. Should wait. Projected Draft: Late first to second round.
F Rudy Gay 6-8 Severn-Archbishop Spalding, Md (Signed with Connecticut). Should wait. Projected Draft: second round.
G Daniel Gibson 6-2 Houston-Jones, Tex (Signed with Texas). Should wait. Projected Draft: second round.
G/F J.R. Smith 6-6 Newark-St. Benedict's Prep School, NJ (Signed with North Carolina). Should wait. Projected Draft: Late first to second round.
F Marvin Williams 6-8 Bremerton, Wash (Signed with North Carolina). Should wait. Projected Draft: Late first to second round.
F Dorrell Wright 6-7 South Kent Prep, Conn (Signed with DePaul). Should wait. Projected Draft: second round.

2004 Capital Classic
*Apr. 17 at the University of Maryland Comcast Center, 7:30 p.m. EST. ESPN2.
White Team
Pos. Name Hgt Hometown High School College
G Rajon Rondo 6-1 155 Mouth of Wilson-Oak Hill Academy, Va (Kentucky)
G A.J. Price 6-2 Amityville, NY (Connecticut)
G Sebastian Telfair 6-0 160 Brooklyn-Abraham Lincoln, NY (Louisville)

G Jason Rich 6-2 Orlando-Dr. Phillips, Fla (FSU)
G Joe Crawford 6-4 205 Detroit-Renaissance, Mich (Kentucky)
F Rudy Gay 6-8 215 Severn-Archbishop Spalding, Md (Connecticut)
F Josh Smith 6-9 215 Mouth of Wilson-Oak Hill Academy, Va (Indiana)
F Corey Brewer 6-7 180 Portland, Tenn (Florida)
C LaMarcus Aldridge 6-11 215 Seagoville, Tex (Texas)

C Alexander Kaun 6-10 Melbourne-Florida Air Academy, Fla (Kansas)
C Al Jefferson 6-10 265 Prentiss, Miss (Arkansas)
Black Team
G Jordan Farmar 6-2 170 Woodland Hills-Taft, Cal (UCLA)

G Russell Robinson 6-1 New York-Rice, NY (Kansas)
G Daniel Gibson 6-2 190 Houston-Jones, Tex (Texas)

G Isaiah Swann 6-1 Hargrave Military Academy, Va (FSU)
F Malik Hairson 6-5 190 Detroit-Renaissance, Mich (Undecided)

F Robert Vaden 6-5 North Bridgton-Bridgton Academy, Maine (Indiana)
F D.J. White 6-9 230 Tuscaloosa-Hillcrest, Ala (Indiana)
F RaSean Dickey 6-9 Bennettsville-Marlboro County, SC (GT)
C Brian Johnson 6-8 Oak Hill Academy, Va (Louisville)
C Dwight Howard 6-10 225 Atlanta-SW Atlanta Christian, Ga (Undecided)

2004 McDonald's All American Game
J.R. Smith and Dwight Howard helped the East rout the West, 126-96, at the 27th McDonald's All American Basketball Boys Game in Oklahoma City, Okla. The John Wooden Award which is given to the most valuable player of the game was given to co-winners Smith and Howard. Smith led all scorers with 25 points, while Howard contributed 19 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots. Story, Rosters.

McDonald's Games/All-Star Games/NBA Drafts
Search for Stories/games/rosters.

2004 Nike Hoop Summit
The 2004 USA Basketball Men's Junior National Select team defeated World Select, 99-79, in the Hoops Summit game in San Antonio. Josh Smith led all scorers with 27 points, J.R. Smith added 17, while Rudy Gay and Al Jefferson had 14 and 13. Sebastian Telfair scored six. Luka Bogdanovic led the World team with 20 points. Churchill Odia and Juan Diego Palacios each scored 10. Stories/games/rosters.

Class 2004 Basketball Database
*Search lists of Prospects/Commitments/Signings/Schools and Conferences
*Early list of Top 100 Prospects/Commitments/Signings/ Remaining Top 100 Prospects.
*More players projected to make an impact: Super Prospects.
*Top JC Prospects: Junior College List.
*Basketball Signing Periods: Early (Nov. 12-19) and Regular (Apr. 14-May 19).

*Indiana, Texas and Louisville lead the early 2004 Top Classes.

Class 2005 Basketball Database
*Search early lists of Prospects/Commitments

Basketball Commitments/Signings:
Class 2005: Database
Class 2004: Database/Top 100/Top Classes.
Class 2003: Database/Top 100/Top Classes.
Class 2002: Database/Top 100/Top Classes
Class 2001: Database/Top 100/Top Classes
Class 2000: Database/Top 100/Top Classes
Class 1999: Database
Class 1998: Database/ Top Classes

Bill Hodge is the executive editor and director of recruiting coverage at For daily columns on prospects, commitments and signings, plus databases, go to's Recruiting Page.