It will come as little surprise to most that the state of California produces a significant amount of sporting talent but are there some high schools more renowned for providing the gateway to a career among the elite than others?
Here we look at five of the best high schools that feed the nation’s sport stars on a regular basis.
LONG BEACH POLY
The Jackrabbits have a multitude of multiple household names – with former world number one tennis player Billie Jean King being perhaps the biggest standout. Football checks in with Willie McGinest, Gene Washington and a plethora of wide receivers and defensive backs in the NFL. Poly also has Tony Gwynn for baseball, plus the school has produced skateboarders, drag racers, polo stars and hockey players.
MATER DEI (SANTA ANA)
This school deserves its place on this list for the range of sports that are represented and are some big names in their history books too. Flying the flag for football are Heisman winners John Huarte and Matt Leinert. The NBA fill comes from Stanley Johnson, Miles Simon and more plus there’s Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Katie Lou Samuelson from women’s hoops. Ryan McMahon is a former Monarch who is now starring in MLB.
DE LA SALLE (CONCORD)
Known mostly for football, the Spartans have produced a huge array of talent over the years in other sports with the Barry brothers – Jon, Brent and Drew – all going on to have pro careers in basketball plus they can claim one of the best ever from MLS — Chris Wondolowski. Elsewhere, Aaron Taylor, Amani Toomer and others have came through for football and in 1994 Taylor was a round one pick in the NFL draft for the Green Bay Packers with whom he won Super Bowl XXXI. Wondolowski has won 35 caps for the national side including being part of the squad in the 2013 Gold Cup win. At 37, he still plays for the San Jose Earthquakes, showing more resilience and stamina than a horse competing in the Kentucky Derby.
DORSEY (LOS ANGELES)
Based in central Los Angeles, Dorsey has been a conveyor belt of talent to elite baseball and football for the best part of 70 years now with many of its graduates going on to coach at the very top. One of the earliest names to emerge from Dorsey was Sparky Anderson who – after six years in the minor leagues – stepped up a level in 1959 where he spent a six-month period in the MLB with the Philadelphia Phillies. He didn’t excel as a player but he proved a top quality coach and won three World Series – two back to back with the Cincinnati Reds and another with the Detroit Tigers. On the football field, the biggest name to come through Dorsey is perhaps 1996 number one draft pick Keyshawn Johnson, who recorded over 10,000 receiving yards and won the NFL Super Bowl in 2003.
JUNIPERO SERRA (SAN MATEO)
It’s hard to look beyond a school with the players Serra has churned out. Forget California, two of the names to attend Serra are perhaps the biggest in their respective sports in the world. On the diamond, you have Barry Bonds, who spent 21 years in the MLB where he accumulated a phenomenal amount of awards including seven National League MVP honors, eight Golden Gloves and 12 Silver Slugger awards but, despite that, Bonds isn’t the biggest name to have come out of Serra. Nope, that honor goes to six time Super Bowl winner and four time game MVP Tom Brady. Brady graduated from the San Mateo school in 1996 and moved on to Michigan for college. Remarkably, Brady didn’t get snapped up until round six of the draft but since then he has made the Pro Bowl selection 14 times, which is a joint record.
There you have it, five California schools that are among the elite at producing the elite.