The Orlando Magic selected forward-center Dwight Howard with the first overall pick of the 2004 NBA Draft. Howard becomes the third player in NBA history to be selected with the first overall pick directly out of high school (LeBron James, 2003; Kwame Brown, 2001).
Howard (6’11”, 240, 12/8/85) finished his career at Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy with 2,146 points, 1,728 rebounds and 811 blocked shots in 129 games. As a senior, he averaged 25.0 ppg., 18.0 rpg., 3.5 apg. and 8.00 blkpg., while leading Southwest Christian to the 2004 Class A Georgia state championship.
Howard earned numerous accolades following the 2003-04 campaign. He earned the 2004 Naismith Award, given to the nation’s top high school player, as well as the Morgan Wooten High School Player of the Year award. Howard was also named McDonald’s High School Player of the Year, Mr. Basketball in the state of Georgia and to the PARADE Magazine All-American Team.
Howard poured in 19 points and was named Co-MVP of the 2004 McDonald’s High School All-American game, leading the East to a 126-96 victory. He tallied 16 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and three blocked shots at the EA Sports Roundball Classic. Howard also recorded 18 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks at the Jordan Capital Classic.
As a junior (2002-03), Howard averaged 20.0 ppg., 15.5 rpg. and 4.50 blkpg., while leading Southwest Christian to a 30-3 record and a runner-up finish in the state’s Class A division. During his sophomore season (2001-02), he averaged 18.0 ppg., 14.5 rpg. and 6.00 blkpg., while as a freshman (2000-01), he posted averages of 12.0 ppg., 10.0 rpg. and 4.00 blkpg.