State Player of the Year Finalists

Etiwanda has had stellar boys and girls teams for the last two seasons and now both programs have finalists for Mr. Basketball and Ms. Basketball top statewide honors -- Jordan McLaughlin and McKynzie Fort. Photos: Ronnie Flores & Harold Abend.

Etiwanda has had stellar boys and girls teams for the last two seasons and now both programs have finalists for Mr. Basketball and Ms. Basketball top statewide honors — Jordan McLaughlin and McKynzie Fort. Photos: Ronnie Flores & Harold Abend.


Several of these boys and girls were in action during Wednesday night’s McDonald’s All-American Games in Chicago. This year’s Mr. Basketball and Ms. Basketball honorees will be announced next week.

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Mr. Basketball 2014 Race Narrows

Congratulations to these six players for being considered as a finalist to be the 2014 Mr. Basketball State Player of the Year, a selection that goes back more than 100 years. All are listed in alphabetical order.

Daniel Hamilton (St. John Bosco, Bellflower) Sr.
If there was one California player who perhaps should have been at the McDonald’s All-American Game this year who wasn’t then that player probably is Hamilton. The 6-foot-8 senior was a standout all season for the Braves, who won the CIF Division II state title. He had 22 points and 13 rebounds in that game. The future UConn Husky averaged 20.7 points per game with 9.0 rebounds and 5.1 assists.

Jordan McLaughlin (Etiwanda) Sr.
Of all the accomplishments of Mater Dei’s Stanley Johnson, he never scored 30 points in one half, which is what McLaughlin did during one game against Bishop Montgomery of Torrance (which eventually would win a CIF state title). The 6-foot USC-bound point guard battled through two shoulder injuries and all of Etiwanda’s losses (except one which was in two overtimes to Mater Dei) occurred in games in which McLaughlin didn’t play or were the two games in which he got hurt in the early going.

Stanley Johnson (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) Sr.
With 25 points and eight assists, Stan was definitely the man in the CIF Open Division final in leading Mater Dei past Bishop O’Dowd for the team’s fourth straight state crown. Johnson, who has been the leading contender to be Mr. Basketball since the season began, scored only eight points in the McDonald’s All-American Game on Wednesday night, but had an assist on the game-winning basket and pulled down a key rebound with 19 seconds left. He also was credited with some rare defensive intensity by TV commentators and finished with four rebounds.

Ivan Rabb (Bishop O’Dowd, Oakland) Jr.
The 6-foot-10 center didn’t have the greatest CIF Open Division final with 10 points and 16 rebounds in a loss to Mater Dei, but prior to that he was sensational. Among his outings in a 27-point per game average season were 31 points in a win over Capital Christian, 24 points and 21 rebounds in an earlier overtime loss to Mater Dei plus 24 points and 11 rebounds against nationally ranked Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas. On Wednesday, he was named the Contra Costa Times Player of the Year.

Tom Welsh (Loyola, Los Angeles) Sr.
California’s other representative to the McDonald’s All-American Game was the 7-foot Welsh. He had an outstanding season for the Cubs in helping them to a top 10 national ranking early on. The UCLA-bound standout averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds per game. In the McDonald’s game, he played in the first half, didn’t score and had two rebounds.

D.J. Wilson (Capital Christian, Sacramento) Sr.
The 6-foot-8 Wilson, who is a Scotty Pippen-like point forward, displayed his skills with 29 points and an outstanding all-around game when Capital Christian lost to Bishop O’Dowd in the CIF NorCal Open Division championship. That wasn’t the case in the first loss to the Dragons when he only scored six. His stats are not prolific (14 points, seven boards) but Capital Christian also was involved in a lot of easy wins in its league.
Players to Watch 200

Ms. Basketball 2014 Final Call Is Near

Congratulations to these eight players for being considered as a finalist to be the 2014 Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year, a selection that goes back to 1972. All are listed in alphabetical order.

Jordin Canada (Windward, Los Angeles) Sr.
Suffering an upset loss to Etiwanda wasn’t how Jordin wanted her season to end, but remember how impressive the 5-foot-8 guard was when Windward beat eventual CIF Open Division state champ Long Beach Poly in the Southern Section playoffs? Canada, last season’s State Junior of the Year, averaged 16 points and six assists per game. She arguably could have been MVP of Wednesday’s McDonald’s All-American Game with 10 points, a game record seven assists (including a pass for the game-winning basket), plus six rebounds and four steals.

Arica Carter (Long Beach Poly, Long Beach) Sr.
It’s tough to pick one player from a team that was so good at the end like the Jackrabbits so we didn’t. We went with two. Carter was the team’s floor leader as a 5-foot-8 point guard and filled that role from the very first game and also was a big reason Poly won the D1 state crown last season. Carter will play next at Louisville.

Mikayla Cowling (St. Mary’s, Berkeley) Sr.
Since St. Mary’s didn’t get to be State Team of the Year, we decided there wasn’t room for two finalists although her teammate, Gabby Green, was her equal and was ranked higher as a prospect at various junctures of their career. Both played in Chicago on Wednesday. Cowling, a 6-foot-3 forward, had 10 points, four rebounds and two steals for the winning West squad. The future Cal Golden Bear averaged a team-best 16.1 points per game with 8.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists.

McKynzie Fort (Etiwanda) Sr.
Like St. Mary’s of Berkeley, Etiwanda was another team that arguably could have had two finalists but that situation normally is reserved only for the Open Division state champion. In this case, it was Fort and teammate Amy Okonkwo. Fort, a 5-foot-9 point guard, has been named the league player of the year, she had 18 points in a loss to Mater Dei and made some big plays when Etiwanda downed Windward in the SoCal Open Division playoffs. Fort is headed to Oregon.

Lajahna Drummer (Long Beach Poly, Long Beach) Sr.
In a couple of other instances, we listed two finalists from the state’s No. 1 team, but this time it’s in the Open Division era. Drummer didn’t get to play until January due to eligibility rules but in the last few games she showed why the 6-foot-3 post was so highly ranked by college recruiters. Drummer, who is going to UCLA, had six points, three rebounds and one block for the West in Wednesday’s McDonald’s All-American Game.

Mariya Moore (Salesian, Richmond) Sr.
It was an eventful Wednesday for Mariya as she played in the McDonald’s All-America Game and was named the Contra Costa Times East Bay Player of the Year. Moore, who led Salesian to the CIF Open Division state final, hit one 3-pointer, scored six points and had five rebounds for the East team in Chicago. The 5-foot-11 forward was the only California girl on the East squad with the rest of the state’s representatives on the West roster.

Katie Lou Samuelson (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) Jr.
Before the playoffs and before the 6-foot-3 forward suffered a shoulder injury, Lou was averaging 27.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists. She also made more than 50 percent of her shots from beyond the 3-point line. She’ll be one of the nation’s top seniors next season and isn’t behind too many seniors right now. She was the 2013 State Sophomore of the Year.

Devin Stanback (Chaminade, West Hills) Sr.
The 6-foot-3 Stanback racked up 27 points and hauled in 10 rebounds when Chaminade beat Archbishop Mitty last weekend for the CIF Division II state title. She also had 27 points in the SoCal regional final and averaged nearly 15 ppg. Stanback will play next at Pepperdine.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at markjtennis@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark, Ronnie Flores and Harold Abend on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports


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One Comment

  1. happy parent
    Posted April 4, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Nothing makes a player stronger than being underappreciated, passed over.
    Thank you calhisports for the motivation!
    Politics never works in the end! Just look at most recent McDonald’s all american game.
    Tells all!!!

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