North State Journal’s 100 in 100 series will showcase the best athlete from each of North Carolina’s 100 counties. From Alamance to Yancey, each county will feature one athlete who stands above the rest. Some will be obvious choices, others controversial, but all of our choices are worthy of being recognized for their accomplishments — from the diamond and gridiron to racing ovals and the squared circle. You can see all the profiles as they’re unveiled here.
It’s been estimated that approximately three out of every 10,000 high school basketball players in America end up playing in the NBA. That is unless you grew up in Kinston. Since 1973, one out of every 53 players to make the varsity roster at the local high school has made it to the league.
Per capita, it’s by far the most prolific producer of NBA talent in the country.
And of all the pros produced by the town whose population is barely enough to fit into North Carolina’s Smith Center — a line of succession that began with Boston Celtics star Cedric “Cornbread” Maxwell and continues today with current players Reggie Bullock and Brandon Ingram — none were better than Jerry Stackhouse.
Dubbed “The Next Jordan” because his 6-foot-6 build and athletic style resembled that of Michael Jordan, Stackhouse was a two-time Parade Prep All-America selection and MVP of the 1993 McDonald’s All-American Game. He then followed in Jordan’s footsteps to Chapel Hill, where he lived up to the hype by averaging 19.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game as a sophomore in earning first-team All-America honors while leading the Tar Heels to the Final Four.
Although Stackhouse stayed at UNC only two years, his No. 42 was raised to the Smith Center rafters among the school’s other honored jerseys.
Like Jordan, Stackhouse went third overall in the NBA Draft and made the league’s All-Rookie team in his first season. He played 18 professional seasons for eight teams, leading the NBA in scoring in 2000-01 and earning two All-Star selections while amassing 16,409 points, 3,067 rebounds and 3,240 assists.
He went into coaching after retiring as a player in 2013, winning a G League championship with the Toronto Raptors’ developmental team and serving as an assistant with the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies before taking the job at Vanderbilt last season.
Stackhouse said that coaching comes naturally to him because of where he’s from. It’s the reason Kinston continues to develop like nowhere else in the country.
“It’s just the talent there and the teaching (of it),” Stackhouse told NBA.com. “There’s always giving back from the standpoint of playing against older guys in the community. They’re looking to try to help you get better.”