There are players throughout the country who can say they faced Kobe Bryant on the court.
A local high school basketball coach can make that claim.
In 1995, Lexington head coach Bailey Harris brought his team to the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach and one of the teams the Wildcats faced was a squad from Phladelphia. Lower Merion High School featured a player who six months later would be drafted in the first round of the 1996 NBA Draft.
Northside Christian Academy head basketball coach Jason Harman was a forward for the Wildcats and he recalls that one game where he would try to slow down a player named Kobe Bryant.
"I faced Kobe personally a decent amount," Harman said.
"We played zone a lot in that game. We were at matchup zone team. Bailey Harris' teams over the years have always been mainly matchup zones. We weren't near under the illusion that we could play Kobe Bryant man to man. We went into the game with a plan to always keep a couple of guys near him in our zone and sometimes we would trap him as well. We would have loved to have kept Kobe at 30 points or less. But unfortunately, even with all the attention we gave him he hit a lot of threes. He was able to catch an alley oop, I remember that, where he dunked on us. He had 45 points in the game. We had a valiant effort and almost came back to win the ball game. But Kobe Bryant was simply too much and we knew how great he was, even way back then."
In that game against Kobe and Lower Merion, Harman scored 20 points and he says that game kickstarted his junior season and that led to scholarship offers and he eventually signed with USC Aiken.