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Friday, June 21, 2013
Bryant received several awards for his performance his senior year including being named Naismith High School Player of the Year, Gatorade Men’s National Basketball Player of the Year, a McDonald’s All-American, and a USA Today All-USA First Team player. Bryant’s varsity coach, Greg Downer, commented that Bryant was “a complete player who dominates”.
In 1996, Bryant took R&B singer Brandy Norwood to his senior prom, though the two were, and remain, just friends. Ultimately, however, the 17-year-old Bryant made the decision to go directly into the NBA, only the sixth player in NBA history to do so.
Bryant’s news was met with a lot of publicity at a time when prep-to-pro NBA players were not very common (Garnett being the only exception in 20 years). His SAT score of 1080 would have ensured his basketball scholarship to various top-tier colleges and Bryant has stated that if he had decided to go to college after high school, he would have attended Duke University. In 2012, Bryant was honored as one of the 35 Greatest McDonald’s All-Americans.