Did you know that Lebron was once in the football team? That’s right.
Before LeBron hit the hardwood, he buckled up his chin strap to be a wide out for SVSM football team, coached by a former NFL linebacker, Jay Brophy, who spent his time playing with New York Jets and Miami Dolphins. As a freshman, he made his varsity debut on basketball weeks after December 3, earning a position in Fighting Irish. The decision to place LeBron was too easy for Darbro, who was hired as a coach in school. Wearing the number 23 of his idol Jordan, Lebron scored 15 points in the battle with their parochial rival, Cuyahoga Falls.
Lebron on the other court
With LeBron and his cousin, Maverick Carter (an all-state senior) headlining a very great team, the Fighting Fish made a perfect record of 27-0 and earned the state championship, the first championship earned by the school since 1984. LeBron averaged 20 points with 50% shot fields and among the leaders in steals, assists and rebounds. His basketball instincts were really amazing at his age, and he was able to demonstrate an intangible leadership, making his teammates to perform better on court. The rumors had it that the Cleveland-based representation, IMG firm, was already putting an eye on him.
Summer after LeBron’s freshman season, he continuously improve. However, the biggest change that came off the court is when he grew almost 4 inches to 6-7. Now, LeBron looked like a man than a freshman boy.
LeBron also played another year for the SVSM football team in fall 2000, racking up over 700 yards of receiving. He was called the All-Ohio, unfortunately, the Fighting Irish was finished at 4-6 score.
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As he prepared for the next basketball season, the word started to spread that SVSM had a real phemon on their hands. The Fighting Irish expected huge crowd for their 2000-2001 basketball season opener, and scheduled a game at James A. Rhodes Arena. The house was packed with 5,000 fans and LeBron paced the SVSM team to a very easy victory, where his team continued to roll from there.
Their team came to face their firmest battle against the Oak Hill Academy during the January tournament. The Warriors team, led by DeSagna Diop, a center and Rashaad Carruth, a swingman, were among the top-ranked prep squad in the nation. LeBron and the team entered the battle undefeated. Oak Hill barely hung at 79-78 victory, but again, LeBron took the spotlight. With a small NBA army and college scouts in presence, LeBron torched the Warriors with 33 points, nailing the bombs by 3-pointer shots, hitting on the learners in lane and ending the break with the rim-rattling dunks. As a matter of fact, LeBron could possibly have it won for the SVSM, but he missed both his free-throws in late 4th quarter and with his desperate jumper shop at buzzer was rimmed out.
The Fighting Irish has rebounded from their defeat in great impressive fashion. They ran the rest of regular season, and stormed through the playoff for the 2nd back to back title. This final game, played at the Jerome Schottenstein Center had attracted a crowd of over 17,000 people, including Matt Doher, the North Carolina head coach and Ben Braum, the California head coach. LeBron poured 54 points in the game that’s why he became the MVP in the tournament.
For this year, LeBron averaged 5.5 assists, 7.4 rebounds, and 25.3 points. He also made an increased proficiency from the downtown, connecting 39% of his treys. Named as All-American, LeBron was able to become the 1st ever sophomore in the Ohio State history to be name as their Mr. Basketball.