When kids are young and into sports, they often imitate their favorite athletes, aspiring to be just like their sports heroes.
Kids these days are surrounded by a world of pressure if they are talented in the respective sport they play, often being put under a microscope and watched as if they were a professional athlete. The hype is real, but can it be sustained and lived up to? That’s a tough question to answer.
Seventh Woods- yes that is a real name- is a 14-year old phenom from Columbia, South Carolina. Recently a video went viral of the high school freshman where he displayed a dexterous skill set. The hype is already skyrocketing, having already been dubbed the next LeBron James. Remember, the kid is 14 years old.
The 6’1, 170 pound freshman had a stellar season for his Columbia Hammond High School. He averaged 19.3 points, 4.3 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 2.7 steals. He scored 47 points two days after Christmas, shooting 17-21 from the field, and he helped lead his school to a 22-5 record and the South Carolina Independent Schools Association Class AAA state championship game.
Woods is not the first young player to have a ton of hype surrounding him and he is certainly not going to be the last. Both he and a university of New Mexico senior, Demetrius Walker, have something in common.
When Walker (pictured above) was 14 years old, he was heralded by Sports Illustrated as the “next LeBron James.” Unfortunately for Walker, he did not live up to the high expectations set for him. The book Play Their Hearts Out by George Dohrmann tells the story of Walker and how he went from being the next big thing in basketball to being corrupted by his AAU coach, Joe Keller.
Those two players aren’t the only ones who garner immense hype and attention, but the fact that they were heralded as the “next LeBron James” at the young age of 14 is insane.
Andrew Wiggins, who is the number one overall recruit in the country, also has an enormous amount of pressure to live up to, and he has yet to play a college game. The 6’8, 18-year old native of Toronto Ontario, Canada is said to be making his selection of which school he will play with in the fall in the coming week. Scouts say whichever team lands Wiggins will be the front-runner to win a national championship.
Players are always going to be compared to one another, no matter the sport they play. As the digital media age continues to evolve, we will see kids even younger than Woods make people raise an eyebrow and dub them the next superstar of their respective sport. These young phenoms will continue to garner a plethora of attention as the years go on.
The verdict is still out on how Woods will perform as he gets older or how Wiggins will change the landscape of college basketball, but the attention and hype will continue to surround them. Whether or not they live up to that hype is something that will be a hot discussion topic for years to come.