Best Amateur Athlete, High School

Jabari Brown

Last January, when Jabari Brown abruptly left a famous Las Vegas-area talent factory and transferred to his hometown Oakland High, critics and skeptics raked him over the coals. He was a prima donna, they said, and overrated. But Brown put his head down and went to work, leading the Wildcats to an Oakland Athletic League regular-season title and the Northern California quarterfinals. A stellar showing on the summer travel-team circuit has boosted Brown’s stock even higher — he’s now rated among the top fifteen basketball prospects in America for the graduating class of 2011. A strong shooting guard with a diverse arsenal of offensive weapons, the six-foot-four Brown will have his choice of colleges when he makes a decision sometime in the next year; local schools Cal and Stanford are competing with a host of East Coast and national powerhouses for his services. But first, a bit of unfinished business: Brown embarks on his senior season this November, when he’ll try to take a talented Oakland squad to the state championships and become the East Bay’s first McDonald’s All-American since Leon Powe in 2003.

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