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Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Drexler lived in the South Park area in Houston, Texas,[2] and

attended Ross Sterling High School[3] in Houston, where he was a classmate of tennis player
Zina Garrison.[4] As a sophomore, he made the varsity baseball team, and tried out for the
basketball team but failed to make the cut.[5] Drexler played as a 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) center as a
senior. He began receiving attention from college coaches following a 34-point, 27-rebound
performance against Sharpstown High School during a 1979 Christmas tournament.[5]
After graduating in 1980, he was recruited by New Mexico State University, Texas Tech
University, and the University of Houston, the latter after childhood friend Michael Young told
an assistant to head coach Guy V. Lewis that Drexler was the best player he had faced in high
school; Houston was able to recruit them both due to Drexler's friendship with Young and his
desire to stay home.[5] Drexler majored in finance and worked at a bank during the summer.[4]
Lewis recalled in 2003 that he initially received hate mail from Houston supporters and alumni
for recruiting Drexler, as they felt that he was not good enough to play for the school.[5]