South Jersey Talent in the NBA and ABA

South Jersey Talent in the NBA and ABA
South Jersey is known for its great football talent, with players routinely making the NFL. The number of South Jersey basketball players who have made it to the NBA or ABA is much less, but still an interesting list.
 
Basketball-reference.com has provided a list of New Jersey high school players who have made the NBA and/or NBA. The list consists of 160 players. Here are the players from the seven-country South Jersey area.
 
Malik Allen, Shawnee. Currently an assistant coach with the Miami Heat, Allen starred at Villanova and played 10 seasons in the NBA. He helped Shawnee earn consecutive Group 4 state championships in 1995 and 1996. 
 
Dave Budd, Woodbury. Budd has received plenty of attention over the years for being on the centers who guarded Wilt Chamberlain, when he scored 100 points in a 169-147 loss to the Philadelphia Warriors on March 2, 1962. A 1956 graduate of Woodbury, Budd had 13 points and 10 rebounds in the record-setting game against Chamberlain. 
 
Joe Crispin, Pitman. The current coach at Rowan University, Crispin led Pitman to a state title his senior year. He starred at Penn State and then spent part of the 2001-2002 season in the NBA, appearing in six games for the Los Angeles Lakers and 15 for the Phoenix Suns. 
 
Warren Davis, Atlantic City. Davis played six seasons in the ABA, finishing in 1972-73 with the Memphis Tams. He was an ABA all-star with the Los Angeles Stars in the 1968-69 season. 
 
George Dempsey, Merchantville. Dempsey led Merchantville to the 1947 Group 2 title.  Merchantville closed at the end of the 1971-72 school year. He played five seasons in the NBA, averaging 5.0 points over 315 games. 
 
Bob Greacen, Merchantville. Greacen was a deep reserve on the Milwaukee Bucks 1970-71 championship team. was on the Bucks two years and spent won season with the ABA’s New Jersey Nets. 
 
Dennis Horner, Holy Spirit. Horner, who starred at North Carolina State, appeared in eight games during 2011-2012 season with New Jersey (now Brooklyn) Nets. 
 
George Lehmann, Camden Catholic. Originally from Riverside, Lehamnn played in the NBA and ABA from 1967-1974. 
 
Matt Maloney, Haddonfield. Maloney, a member of the Haddonfield 1989 state championship team, played six NBA seasons, ending in 2002-2003 with Atlanta. 
 
Pat McFarland, JFK. A star at St. Joseph’s University, McFarland played three seasons in the ABA, finishing in 1975-76 with the San Diego Sails. 
 
Bill Melchionni, Bishop Eustace. Melchionni was a reserve as a rookie for the 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers team that won the NBA championship and was considered among the best of all time. 
 
Gary Melchionni, Bishop Eustace. A former Duke standout, Melchionni played two seasons with the Phoenix Suns, ending in 1975-76. 
 
Pops Mensah-Bonsu, St. Augustine. Originally from England, Mensah-Bonsu played for five teams in four NBA seasons, finishing with the New Orleans Hornets in 2010-2011. 
 
Marcus Morris, Apex Academy. After leading Philadelphia’s Prep Charter to consecutive state championships, Morris, who is with the Los Angeles Clippers, attended Apex Academy in Pennsauken for a year before heading to Kansas. 
 
Markieff Morris. Apex Academy. The twin of Marcus Morris, Markieff won an NBA championship last season with his still current team the Los Angeles Lakers. 
 
John Olive, Bishop Eustace. A center at Eustace, where he won a state championship in 1973, Olive then  starred at Villanova, Olive appeared in 35 games over two NBA seasons with the San Diego Clippers. 
 
Lou Roe, Atlantic City. After graduating from Atlantic City, Roe starred at UMass before playing two seasons in the NBA, the final one in 1996-97 with Golden State. 
 
Billy Thompson, Camden. A state champion in 1982 as a senior at Camden where he was considered the No. 1 player in the nation, he would won a national championship at Louisville and was a reserve on two Los Angeles Lakers NBA title teams. 
 
Jason Thompson, Lenape. A state champion at Lenape in 2004 and star at Rider, Thompson played eight NBA seasons, including the first seven with Sacramento, which drafted him in the first round (12th overall) in 2008
 
Dajuan Wagner, Camden. A state champion at Camden in 2000, Wagner was the No. 6 overall pick of the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2002. He averaged 13.4 points a game as a rookie, but his career was cut short by injury/illness. He played three seasons in Cleveland and just one game with Golden State in his final season 2006-2007. 
 
Milt Wagner, Camden. Like Billy Thompson, he played on championship teams with Camden, Louisville and the LA Lakers. He is the father of Dajuan Wagner. 

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Bryan Warrick, Burlington Township. A star at St. Joseph’s University, Warrick played four seasons in the NBA, ending in 1985-86 with the Indiana Pacers.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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