Every few years, one or two players pop up on the high school circuit with a familiar last name. Shareef O’Neal, Shaquille O’Neal’s son, was a four-star power forward who originally committed to UCLA before transferring to LSU. Zaire Wade, Dwyane Wade’s son, played alongside Bronny James at Sierra Canyon High School (Chatsworth, California) before eventually joining the Utah Jazz‘s G League team for a season. The year before Wade and James, Scotty Pippen Jr. (now playing for the Los Angeles Lakers‘ G League team), Scottie Pippen’s son, and K.J. Martin (Houston Rockets), Kenyon Martin’s son, shared the court at Sierra Canyon with both dads watching from the sidelines each game.
This season, there are several young players competing at a very high level with their NBA fathers cheering from the stands at most games. At the Hoophall Classic, one of the biggest high school events of the year, there were nine prospects whose dads are former or current NBA players.
Now, more than ever, second-generation players are making a name for themselves and carving their own paths, backing up the last names on their jerseys.
Yahoo Sports takes a look at 11 current high school players who come from an NBA family and how they’re playing this high school season.
Father: Carlos Boozer — 13-year NBA career, two-time NBA All-Star
The Boozer twins took the basketball world by storm last year as freshmen playing varsity and continue to get better each time they step on the court. Cameron is a 6-foot-9 forward who is the best high school basketball player in the country, regardless of class. His twin brother, Cayden, is one the top guards in the sophomore class and the two of them on the court together make up one of the best duos in high school basketball.
At the Hoophall Classic two weekends ago, Cameron led a thrilling fourth-quarter comeback against Bronny James and Sierra Canyon, finishing with 18 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and two steals in the win. Maybe the most impressive part of Cameron’s game is his consistent outside shooting in a pick-and-pop situation or taking players off the dribble in a guard-big switch. He’s currently shooting 47% from 3-point range on four attempts per game.
Cayden is a great facilitator at 6-3 and very patient in reading what the defense gives him. He doesn’t back down from the big moments and tougher competition from older guards. In the win over Sierra Canyon, Cayden contributed 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
Carlos sits courtside at games or in the stands with other parents at the USA Basketball training camps. Both Cameron and Cayden recognized early the advantage they had having a father who played at the highest level and plugged in at a young age to learn as much as they could.
“The game has definitely changed, and we have one of the best resources right here to help us get to the NBA,” Cameron told Yahoo Sports of his dad. “Just with training, diet, different drills, how the NBA game is played, he’s definitely helped us understand the game better.”
Both players currently hold early offers from Duke, Arkansas, Florida State, Miami and Missouri.
Father: Dajuan Wagner — five-year NBA career, sixth overall pick in 2002 NBA Draft
Since his freshman year, D.J. has been one of the top players in his class. His legacy doesn’t just start with his father, Dajuan. His grandfather, Milt, also played in the NBA from 1986-90. They will make history, becoming the first trio through three generations to appear in the McDonald’s All-American Game.
“They’ve definitely given me a lot of different tips and showed me different things about the game,” D.J. told Yahoo Sports. “They’ve played at all three levels so they know all the ins and outs of the game, but most importantly, they just tell me to have fun. We shoot around from time to time, and when I was younger, I used to get in the gym and work out with my dad. We’ve definitely all played together before.”
He’s a high-volume scorer who will find impossible ways to scoop the ball under bigger defenders around the basket and is good at creating separation off the dribble for a shot behind the arc. In Camden’s (New Jersey) only two losses of the season, D.J. did everything he could to keep his team in it. Against the Boozer twins and Christopher Columbus (Miami), D.J. had a game-high 32 points, including five 3-pointers. In their second defeat of the season against Corona Centennial (California), D.J. finished with 27 points, six assists and two steals.
Wagner is headed Kentucky to play for John Calipari, who coached Dajuan at Memphis. He chose the Wildcats ahead of Memphis and Louisville, where his grandfather is currently on staff.
Bryce James, Sophomore
Father: LeBron James — Los Angeles Lakers forward, four-time NBA champion, 19-time NBA All-Star
Through all the hype, criticism, popularity and fanfare, Bronny and Bryce have found ways to progress as basketball players. Bronny has been particularly patient with his development and he plays the right way. His stat line might not be overly impressive, but players love playing with him and he makes his teammates better. He’s one of the best on-ball defenders in the senior class (forcing five steals in his last game) and has a consistent 3-point jump shot. Bronny is still undecided on a college program but USC, Ohio State and Oregon are still in the mix.
Bryce is still coming into his own and hit a growth spurt last summer, shooting up to 6-4. His minutes are limited on a stacked Sierra Canyon team, but he’s showing signs of becoming a high-major prospect. In his last game, Bryce showcased finesse and body control around the rim and got up for an alley-oop off a back screen that had LeBron more than proud.
Father: Ron Harper – 15-year NBA career, five-time NBA Champion
Dylan is one of the best players in the junior class and has high-major offers from Duke, Kansas, Indiana, Michigan, UCLA, Missouri and Rutgers (where his older brother, Ron Harper Jr. played). The 6-foot-5 guard is a top 10 player in his class and continues to out perform other top players in his grade every time he steps on the court. Over the summer he averaged 15.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game on Nike’s EYBL circuit, the most competitive AAU league in the country.
Father: Penny Hardaway — 14-year NBA career, four-time NBA All-Star
Ashton shoots the ball well and is a hybrid defender who can guard the perimeter or bang in the post down low. He’s being utilized in different lineups his senior year at Sierra Canyon, playing alongside Bronny, and getting periodic one-on-one coaching from LeBron.
“Having a dad that played at such a high level, for me, Bronny, everyone else whose dad played in the NBA, it gives us an edge, definitely,” Ashton told Yahoo Sports. “Just learning the game and learning to play the right way helps a lot. There’s definitely more of a target on our backs. It pushes me harder to become a better player, and once I built that confidence, I don’t have to rely on my dad’s name to gain respect. I know the work I’ve put in.”
Ashton, a 6-7 wing, chose to play for his dad at Memphis next season. Hardaway will join four-star recruits Mikey Williams and J.J. Taylor in a solid incoming recruiting class.
“I’m just looking forward to learning a lot from him, not only as my dad, but my coach, as well,” Hardaway added. “He’s been at the highest level, so I’m just going to learn as much as I can and hopefully be there one day myself.”
Father: Peja Stojaković — 13-year NBA career, NBA champion (2011), three-time NBA All-Star
Andrej went from unranked to McDonald’s All-American in a little over a year. His recruitment picked up this past summer and held offers from Oregon, Texas, UCLA and Kentucky before signing with Stanford this fall. The 6-7 guard is averaging 24.3 points per game during his junior season at Jesuit High School in Northern California. He has continued to score at every level in his final high school season. He has a natural feel for the game with a solid jumper and nice touch around the rim when getting downhill. Born in Greece, Stojaković is Peja’s eldest son.
Jaxon Richardson, Freshman
Father: Jason Richardson — 14-year NBA career, fifth overall pick in 2001 NBA Draft
Jase and Jaxon are playing varsity for Bishop Gorman High School (Las Vegas). Jase is a 6-4 point guard with a deadly shot from deep range, while Jaxon is a 6-5 pure athlete who can jump out of the gym and is showing tremendous upside early as a freshman. Jaxon’s first high school points came from an alley-oop pass from Jase when Jaxon sneaked behind his man when the defense collapsed the lane.
“[Jase’s] first game back since February gives his lil bro [Jaxon] an assist on his first high school points. Surreal moment seeing them both on the court together!” Jason said in an Instagram post after the game.
“This is the first time I’ve actually ever played with him,” Jase told Yahoo Sports on playing with his younger brother. “I’m probably the most energetic person after every time he scores. I just love playing with him.
Jase has offers from Michigan State, Arkansas, Arizona State, Stanford, Florida and Cal and took unofficial visits to Michigan State (where Jason won a national championship in 2000) and Arkansas.
Kiyan Anthony, Sophomore
Father: Carmelo Anthony — 19-year NBA veteran, 10-time NBA All-Star
Like Bryce James, Kiyan is starting to come into his own as a prospect at just 15 years old. A 6-4 guard, his shot has improved after working out with his dad and trainer, Chris Brickley, last summer and throughout the high school season. In December, Kiyan and his team, Christ the King (New York), traveled to Southern California to face Bronny, Bryce and Sierra Canyon with both dads sitting courtside.
“Me and LeBron met 20 years ago, so for us to be here full circle, watching Bronny, Bryce and Kiyan on the court is special and the legacy continues,” Carmelo told ESPN’s Malika Andrews during the game.
Kiyan currently has early offers from Syracuse, Memphis and George Mason.