NEW ORLEANS, LA - There are countless athletes from the state of Mississippi that have gone on to have professional success. But as Indiana Pacers forward Al Jefferson noted, he's the only NBA product to come out of Prentiss.
Drafted by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 2004 NBA draft, Jefferson has enjoyed a 12-year career in the Association.
Now on his fifth team with the Pacers, Jefferson says he always makes time to visit his hometown as he hosts a youth basketball camp at Prentiss High every summer.
Jefferson said that growing up there were just three Mississippi athletes that he looked up to: Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (Starkville), former Mississippi State wide receiver Michael Gholar (Prentiss) and 2016 NBA Champion Mo Williams (Jackson).
"No matter where you're from, if you have goals in life, if you're determined, put God first, you can reach your goals and make your dream come true," Jefferson said following the Pacers loss to the Pelicans on Thursday night. "I feel like I'm a living witness of that. When I was in high school I used to remember all the big-time schools were trying to get me to come there. My high school coach told me, 'They're going to find you right here in Prentiss. You don't have to go to any big school to get recognition. Keep playing the way you're playing and they'll find you right there in Prentiss.' And he was right, they did. It's an honor to come from my hometown and be able to represent them across the world."