Garfield Heights forward Alonzo Gaffney can continue his basketball career at virtually any college he desires.
The 6-foot-9 junior is the top-ranked Ohioan in his class, with multiple scouting services listing him as a five-star recruit.
"He's got a lot of talent, a lot of ability," Garfield Heights coach Sonny Johnson said. "He has a chance to be a special, special player."
Even Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, who attended Garfield Heights' home-opener against Shaw, is taking notice of Gaffney's talent.
"He has a lot of athleticism, a lot of leaping ability," James said after Gaffney scored 16 points in the Bulldogs' blowout win. Cavalier teammates Dwyane Wade and J.R. Smith were also on hand to watch the game.
"He was much better than anyone else on the floor," LeBron added.
Gaffney was awestruck to play in front of the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player.
"Seeing LeBron walk in that gym, coming to watch my team play, that was a really great experience," Gaffney said. "Last year, I'd have never thought anything like that would happen."
Last season, Gaffney's recruitment had not yet taken off. He won a state title with Villa Angela-St. Joseph, but only held two Division I scholarship offers entering the summer.
"I felt really overlooked last year. I felt like people didn't really respect my game," he said.
An outstanding AAU season with Ohio Basketball Club helped change Gaffney's fortune in a hurry. Ohio State, Michigan State, Kansas, Florida, Georgetown, West Virginia and Cincinnati are among the laundry list of school that have since extended offers. Duke and North Carolina are showing interest, too.
"I think all of this is just starting to hit him," said Alonzo's father, Kevin, who played guard for Cincinnati in the early 1980s. "It's a great experience for 'Zo and also for me and his entire family."
The younger Gaffney credits both his Ohio Basketball Club and Garfield Heights coaches for putting him in the right positions to succeed, but also said he's more focused than one year ago.
"I really wasn't motivated last year. I was going through the motions, really. But after last year to this year, just seeing how not-respected I was last year, that motivates me a lot to get better," Gaffney said.
Since transferring to Garfield Heights, Gaffney has earned plenty of respect from his head coach as he helps the Bulldogs chase a state championship.
"I think he has a chance to be a pro," Johnson stated. "Everybody says that but a lot of people aren't 6'9" and can stretch the floor and shoot the ball like he can.
"And then he's got great character and great work ethic, so now it comes down to just picking the right school. That what it's going to come down to."