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Teen spirit

By ROGER MILLS

© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 24, 2001


KWAME BROWN

HT/WT: 6-11, 240.

HOMETOWN: Brunswick, Ga.

HIGH SCHOOL: Glynn Academy.

AGE: 19.

KEY STATS: In leading his team to a 24-8 record, he averaged 20.1 points, 13.3 rebounds and 5.8 blocks. Finished career with 1,539 points, bypassed a scholarship offer to Florida.

THE WORD IS: He may be the high school player who will get off to the quickest start. A heavier version of Kevin Garnett, Brown has the ability to get up and down the floor and moves well for his height.

* * *

TYSON CHANDLER

HT/WT: 7-0, 235.

HOMETOWN: Compton, Calif.

HIGH SCHOOL: Dominguez.

AGE: 18.

KEY STATS: Averaged 26 points, 15 rebounds and 8 blocks in leading Dominguez to a 31-4 record and a state championship. In his junior year, Dominguez went 35-2.

THE WORD IS: A phenomenal perimeter player considering his height, Chandler patterns his game after Kentucky star Tayshaun Prince. He can hit the three and handle the ball like a guard/forward.

* * *

OUSMANE CISSE

HT/WT: 6-9, 250.

HOMETOWN: Montgomery, Ala. (originally from the Republic of Mali, West Africa).

AGE: 18.

HIGH SCHOOL: St. Jude Catholic.

KEY STATS: Averaged 29 points, 16 rebounds and 12 blocks as a senior. A McDonald's High School All-American, he didn't play in the game because of an ankle injury. Arrived in the United States in 1998 but speaks fluent English and two other languages.

THE WORD IS: A raw talent who is just learning the game, Cisse is reported to be as fierce a low-post competitor as there is. In the first game of his senior season, against Alabama power Montgomery Carver, Cisse had 37 points, 15 rebounds and 10 blocks.

* * *

EDDY CURRY

HT/WT: 6-11, 285.

HOMETOWN: South Holland, Ill. (south Chicago area).

HIGH SCHOOL: Thornwood.

AGE: 18.

KEY STATS: In his senior year, he averaged 22 points, 9 rebounds and 6 blocks and also shot 64 percent from the field. In a four-year high school career, Curry finished with 2,118 points and 960 rebounds.

THE WORD IS: Curry is ready for the NBA and might be the first pick in the draft. A true center, Curry can score down low with power or a soft baby hook. In a word, "franchise."

* * *

DESAGANA DIOP

HT/WT: 7-0, 315.

HOMETOWN: Mouth of Wilson, Va. (originally from Senegal).

HIGH SCHOOL: Oak Hill Academy, Va.

AGE: 18.

KEY STATS: In leading Oak Hill to a 33-0 season and a No. 1 national ranking by USA Today, Diop averaged 14.6 points, 13.2 rebounds and 8 blocks.

THE WORD IS: One NBA coach described Diop as the player in the draft with the potential to be the best. At a significant 315 pounds, Diop soon will be ready to bang with the NBA's behemoths. Comparisons with Shaquille O'Neal already have begun.

* * *

TONY KEY

HT/WT: 6-11, 275.

HOMETOWN: Compton, Calif. (originally from Kentucky).

AGE: 19.

HIGH SCHOOL: Centennial.

KEY STATS: He played in only 20 games due to transfer restrictions but averaged 26 points and 14 rebounds. Centennial was 19-1 with Key in the lineup. As a junior at Russellville High in Kentucky, he averaged 22 points and 11 rebounds, and was runner-up for Mr. Basketball.

THE WORD IS: Though still expected to be a first-rounder, Key might be one of the surprises of the draft. Lesser known than the other high school player, he has tremendous size and could blossom in a few years.

-- Compiled by Roger Mills.

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