Sebastian Telfair was THE Point Guard of the 2000′s
Words. Casey Mack
New York City hype has led to disaster for a lot of former high school superstars. For much of the last decade, every year there seemed to be an NYC prep product who was destined to be the “Next Big Thing.” And in many of those cases, it never worked out.
But for the most hyped of them all — Sebastian Telfair of the Lincoln H.S. (Brooklyn) class of 2004 — the jury is still out for how the rest of his career will pan out. Even as the 25-year-old enters his sixth year as a pro, his name has dropped drastically from the minds of basketball fans. Telfair was The One; the point guard of the future. With his basketball bloodlines and natural talent beyond his years, he seemed a no-brainer to succeed. Once he turned pro, however, things didn’t quite turn out that way.
But that doesn’t take away from his past achievements, or diminish what he did when he was running the show for the Railsplitters and first became a national star. Simply put, Sebastian Telfair is not only one of the Top 10 point guards in high school basketball history, he is the PG who defined the last decade. The fact that Telfair didn’t crack my HSH colleague Jason Jordan’s list of the Top 10 high school point guards of just the last decade is crazy.
Like many of the other players on Jason’s list, Bassy was a star at Sonny Vaccaro’s ABCD camp. However, Sebastian did it like no other: In 2000, he was the youngest to ever compete in the camp as an eighth grader. Telfair paved the road for youngsters with mature games. Despite his small frame, he turned heads with his ball-handling and passing ability. He was selected to the Underclassmen All-Star Game that same year. He would also go on to win the game’s MVP award the next two years. He turned Vaccaro’s camp into his own personal stomping ground.
Bassey set all kinds of records in the high school hotbed of NYC. He passed Kenny Anderson to become New York state’s all-time leading scorer with 2,785 points (a record since broken by Lance Stephenson). He holds the single-game scoring record at Lincoln (which also produced his cousin, Stephon Marbury) at 61 points. Telfair also holds the McDonald’s All-American Game assist record with 13 dimes. He is a multiple-time Parade Magazine All-American, and in 2004 was voted Parade’s national Player of the Year.
Telfair’s game attracted some of the world’s biggest stars to his high school gym. It was not unusual to see Jay-Z sitting in the front row at Lincoln games. Derek Jeter was another fan of Telfair’s showmanship. LeBron James would even take time out during his NBA rookie season to check out his boy Bassy at work.
The hype may have been overdone — the books, the movies, the huge sneaker contract before he’d played a pro game — but the hype was there for a reason. Sebastian Telfair’s performances made critics into believers. There was a reason he and LeBron were once held in equally high regard.
Sebastian was decidedly the best high school point guard of the last decade.