By Jerry Del Priore
It’s that time a year again, as the NBA tipped off the 2019-20 season this week. So, I wanted to take a look back at the players I either saw play in person in NYC/NJ/Long Island or read and wrote about several times in the past.
I have listed eight current NBA players, some on two-way contracts, and two others in overseas professional leagues.
Moses Brown — Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens — Portant Trail Blazers.
Brown, a seven-foot,-two, 245-pound center, is currently on a two-way contract with Portland.
He starred with UCLA last season before going undrafted but has landed with the Trail Blazers.
Maurice (Mo) Harkless – Forest Hills High School in Queens — Los Angeles Clippers.
Harkless almost single handily made the Rangers a force in the PSAL before transferring to prep powerhouse South Kent School in Connecticut.
The shooting guard attended St. John’s University before the Orlando Magic drafted him 15th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft.
Tobias Harris — Half Hollow Hills West High School in Dix Hills, Long Island — Philadelphia 76ers.
The small forward/power forward played one season of college basketball for the Tennessee Volunteers before declaring for the 2011 NBA draft in which the Charlotte Bobcats drafted him 19th overall and then traded the Long Island native to the Milwaukee Bucks.
He has played three years with the Bucks, three with the Orlando Magic, two with the Detroit Pistons, and one with the Clippers.
Kyle O’Quinn — Campus Magnet High School in Jamaica, Queens — Philadelphia 76ers.
O’Quinn played for the Norfolk State Spartans and led them to a victory over the No. 2 seed Missouri Tigers in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament.
The Magic picked the forward/center in the second of the 2012 NBA draft with the 49th overall selection.
Marial Shayok — Blair Academy in New Jersey, but was born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, — Philadelphia 76ers.
Shayok, a shooting guard, is on a two-way contract with Philadelphia.
Karl-Anthony Towns — St. Joseph High School – Blairstown, New Jersey — Minnesota Timberwolves.
Minnesota grabbed the Edison, New Jersey, native with the first overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft, and the center earned NBA Rookie of the Year that same season.
Lance Stephenson — Lincoln High School in Coney Island, Brooklyn — Liaoning Flying Leopards of the Chinese Basketball Association.
Stephenson, a small forward/shooting guard, spent a year at Cincinnati University before the Indiana Pacers plucked him the second round, 40th overall, of the 2010 NBA.
The 29-year-old former McDonald’s All-American had hit the hardwood with seven different NBA teams from 2010 – 2019.
Kemba Walker — Rice High School in Manhattan, New York — Boston Celtics.
The Charlotte Bobcats chose the point guard with the ninth overall pick of the 2011 pick. Walker was the nation’s second-leading scorer in college hoops and was dubbed consensus First Team All-American. He also led the Huskies to the 2011 NCAA championship and claimed the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award. Walker is also a three-time NBA All-Star.
Shamorie Ponds — Thomas Jefferson in Brooklyn — Toronto Raptors.
After three solid years at St. John’s University, Ponds went undrafted but wound up with the Raptors, who signed the dynamic guard to a two-way contract.
The first-year pro averaged 2.3 points and 6.7 minutes in three pre-season appearances with Houston after playing with the Rockets’ Summer League team in Las Vegas.
Matt Scott — Brooklyn High School for Law and Technology — London City Royals of the British Basketball League.
The guard has the Royals off to 5-0 start, as he’s been playing fantastic hoops to begin his second year of pro basketball.