They weren't yet stooping to get through doorways or hitting jumpers from everywhere. They weren't yet identified as future millionaires.
But they already possessed the type of talent and desire that would allow them eventually to realize their dreams.
As part of its NBA Draft coverage, Rivals.com has ventured to find the stories behind the stories. We have talked to the high school coaches of potential draft picks to ask where these players came from and what separated them from the rest of the crop.
Don't be surprised if you find some common traits in each of these prospects.
SHAN FOSTER, G, VANDERBILT
High school: Kenner (La.) Bonnabel ? Coach: Glenn Dyer
When is the first time you remember thinking Shan Foster could play professionally someday?
"Probably a little bit at the beginning of his senior year. Maybe the middle of his junior year. His first two years, he was a small post player. Then we moved him outside and we realized, man, he can really shoot the ball. I thought he had a chance then. Who ever knows about being a pro? He just gets better and better at every level."
What game sticks out the most in your memory when you look back on his high school career?
"Our games against (New Orleans) Brother Martin. They won the state title three years in a row. We played them two years in a row. He scored 24-25 a game against them. We had a real good point guard and he got Shan the ball.
"We played all of the best teams his last two years. We went to a couple of tournaments out of state. No one was able to slow him down."
How often do you keep in touch with him?
"Pretty regularly. During the season, a couple of times a month. We e-mail and talk on the phone. He asks about what's going on with the team. He had a workout with the Hornets (on June 10), so he stopped by."
When do you expect him to get drafted?
"I'll listen to him and I'll look at the Internet and different things. The Milwaukee Bucks just called and asked about him. That's early second round. I'm hoping for early second round. He's a shooter, and it seems those guys are looking for point guards and big guys and looking for shooters later.
"He's still young. He doesn't turn 22 'til August. He can fill out. You talk about his range, think about that game against Mississippi State (Foster had nine 3-pointers and a career-high 42 points against the Bulldogs). It isn't a problem.
"I think he'll be fine. He's such a great kid. There's so many knuckleheads out there. He'll be a shining star."