Written by Matt Wixon
Where are they now: Former North Crowley and Oklahoma basketball star Willie Warren
In 2008, North Crowley's Willie Warren was the king of high school basketball in Texas.
The 6-4 guard led North Crowley to a 38-1 record and the school's first 5A state championship. He averaged 27.7 points in seven playoff games, was named the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Player of the Year and was selected as a McDonald's All-American.
"We all just worked hard and stayed humble," Warren said after that season. "We knew that if we did that, good things would happen in the end."
Very good things happened in high school, and then Warren went to Oklahoma, where he played his freshman season with current L.A. Clippers star Blake Griffin. Warren had a big freshman season, but he was sometimes criticized for his cockiness on the court.
"I'm cocky to a certain degree," Warren said during his freshman season in a DMN story by Kate Hairopoulos. "But you have to play with a swagger. You can't just come out there thinking, 'This dude is better than me.' You have to feel like nobody can stop you."
Warren averaged a team-high 16.3 points during his sophomore year at Oklahoma, but he missed the end of the season with an ankle injury that needed surgery. Once projected as a first-round pick, he slid to the second round of the 2010 Draft and was selected by the Clippers.
He hasn't spent much time with the Clippers, however. He played 19 games with the Clippers during the 2010-11 season, but has since played in the NBA Developmental League and overseas.
So where is Warren now?
In February, he was released by the Hungarian team Szolnoki, and two weeks ago, he signed with Granarolo Bologna of Italy. His team includes a few other notable former American players, including Dwight Hardy (St. John's), Matt Walsh (Florida) and Ndudi Ebi, who entered the NBA Draft in 2003 after his senior year at Houston Westbury Christian.