The six finalists for Mr. Basketball are joined by 24 others on the 35th annual Cal-Hi Sports All-State teams regardless of CIF division or class.
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G — Dakarai Allen (Sheldon, Sacramento) 6-5 Sr.
Of all the teams in the state, Sheldon had the most individuals to consider for all-state accolades. Allen was team MVP and the Sacramento Bee Player of the Year for a Sheldon squad that advanced to the NorCal Open Division final. Allen not only led the Huskies with 19 points, but displayed a great all-around game with six rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks. Sheldon coach Joey Rollings also had the luxury of sticking Allen on the opposition’s best player, whether on the perimeter or in the post. He will play next at San Diego State.
F — Jordan Bell (Long Beach Poly) 6-8 Sr.
One of nine repeat elite team selections, Bell moves up from the second team after helping Poly to another Moore League title and the CIFSS Division I semifinals. An Oregon recruit, Bell was named co-Moore League MVP with teammate and Mr. Basketball finalist Rochon Prince. Bell leaves Poly as one of the best shot blocking forwards we’ve ever seen in the state. Even though teams tried to avoid him this season, he still swatted 155 shots (4.8 bpg) and changed the game defensively as much as any interior player in the state.
F — Jabari Bird (Salesian, Richmond) 6-6 Sr.
A first team San Francisco Chronicle All-Metro and all-East Bay selection, Bird was one of California’s four McDonald’s All-American selections. In Chicago, the Cal recruit showed he was better than advertised in the post and an underrated passer. Bird led a Pride team that went unbeaten against East Bay teams for the second straight season and was named Tri-County Athletic League MVP. Bird finished his four-year prep career (which included a year at Benicia) with 2,019 points, 1,696 of those at Salesian, according to coach Bill Mellis.
F — Aaron Gordon (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose) 6-8 Sr.
His accolades have been well-chronicled on our site in recent weeks, but one thing that is not always mentioned when comparing Gordon to many of his peers at the top of the Class of 2013 is his age. He’s significantly younger than many of the nation’s top players and pro scouts are excited about his long-term potential after he’s done at the University of Arizona. The state’s top player the past two seasons, the other two-time Mr. Basketball selections since we began selecting all-state teams in 1979 (John Williams of Crenshaw, Jason Kidd of St. Joseph and Tyson Chandler of Dominguez) all become factors in the NBA.
G — Isaac Hamilton (St. John Bosco, Bellflower) 6-5 Sr.
Another repeat elite team selection, Hamilton excels at putting the ball in the bucket and is an underrated passer. Most recruiting analysts who’ve evaluated Hamilton would like to see him be more assertive, but you can’t argue his production. SoCal’s only McDonald’s All-American (where he scored seven points), Hamilton shot 30 percent from 3-point range and used his good basketball instincts to come up with over two steals per game. Once we calculate his scoring totals from his two seasons at Crenshaw of Los Angeles, Hamilton will likely crack the state’s all-time career scoring list. He is headed next to Texas-El Paso.
F — Stanley Johnson (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) 6-6 Jr.
The honors keep pouring in for this rugged forward. In addition to being named CIF Division I State Player of the Year, State Junior of the Year, and CIF Division I-AA co-Player of the Year, Johnson was the Orange County Register’s Player of the Year, won the Wooden Award for Division I schools within the CIF Southern Section and was even named National Junior Player of the Year by one publication. When we conducted an informal poll among the state’s top players of whom should be Mr. Basketball, Johnson was mentioned as the only credible choice besides Aaron Gordon. Next year, he’ll be in the Mr. Basketball USA conversation and has a chance to be a focal point of four straight state title teams.
C — Marcus Lee (Deer Valley, Antioch) 6-9 Sr.
He burst onto the national scene last summer with the California Supreme traveling team and carried that over into his sensational senior season. He was named all-East Bay by the Contra Costa Times and that region’s player of the year by the San Francisco Chronicle. Lee, a Kentucky recruit, put up incredible numbers — scoring 17.9 points, grabbing 19.2 rebounds — the state’s reported high — and blocking 6.9 shots per game. More than numbers, he also helped Deer Valley win its first ever CIF North Coast Section Division I title. A McDonald’s All-American, Lee will have to improve his strength and maturity on the offensive end in order to earn playing time for coach John Calipari next season.
G — Jordan McLaughlin (Etiwanda) 6-1 Jr.
Always a talented prospect, McLaughlin put it all together to lead Etiwanda to the coveted CIF Southern Section Division I-AA title, its first since 2005. From the lead guard position, McLaughlin scored a team-leading 15.6 points per game. That’s not an overwhelming average, but there is no questioning his offensive ability when you factor in Etiwanda’s rugged defensive-oriented style (42 ppg allowed) that keeps its own score relatively low. He would like to have back his 1-for-15 shooting performance against Mater Dei in the SoCal Open Division final, but he did have 14 points and six assists when the Eagles beat Mater Dei in the section title game. Named the co-CIFSS Division I-AA Player of the Year with Mater Dei’s Stanley Johnson, McLaughlin also made the Los Angeles Times’ 10-man Southern California all-star team.
G — London Perrantes (Crespi, Encino) 6-4 Sr.
It speaks volumes to be named CIFSS Division IV-AA Player of the Year considering all the talented teams and players in that division. It even stands out more considering there were only two divisions among 12 in the massive CIF Southern Section where the player of the year didn’t come from a finalist. On top of that, Perrantes was also named Player of the Year by the L.A. Daily News and won the Wooden Award among the Southern Section’s Division IV schools. A master at finding small openings in the defense and finishing in the lane, the University of Virginia-bound talent averaged 19.9 points and dished off 5.8 assists for a 23-10 team that obviously faced tough competition.
F — Roschon Prince (Long Beach Poly) 6-5 Sr.
One of the state’s most highly honored players over his four-year prep career, Prince was named Gatorade State Player of the Year. Another repeat elite team selection, Prince shared Moore League Player of the Year honors with teammate Jordan Bell, but was individually named the Long Beach Press Telegram Dream Team Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. Defenses were often designed to collapse on him, but Prince, a future USC Trojan, usually found a way to score, get to the free throw line or create a positive play for teammates. His overall game (20.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg) was similar to the level he performed at as a junior, but there was a noticeable improvement in what he brought to the table for a 28-4 team with regards to intangibles and leadership.
G — Elijah Brown (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) 6-4 Sr.
Teammate Stanley Johnson gets a lot of the credit for the Monarchs’ successful season, but Mater Dei didn’t win the first ever open division title with only one improved player. Brown, the son of former NBA head coach Mike Brown, showed marked improvement and had high scoring outputs in many of Mater Dei’s biggest games. He went for 33 points in the Monarchs’ SoCal Open Division semifinal victory over Long Beach Poly and a team-high 21 points in the loss to Etiwanda in the CIFSS Division I-AA title game. At times, Brown forced the action but he did have a knack for creating contact and getting to the free throw line. Headed for Butler, Brown was a first team all-Orange County choice while averaging 18 points, five rebounds and two assists per game.
F — LeLand King (Brentwood, Los Angeles) 6-5 Sr.
King was arguably the most indispensable player among the talented CIF Southern Section Division IV teams. We witnessed many of Brentwood’s big games in the Alpha League and it’s hard to imagine where the Eagles would have been without him. King, an all-CIFSS Division IV-A choice, helped Brentwood to a 27-5 mark and to the CIFSS Division IV-A title game. He averaged 21.4 points, 14.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. Most coaches we’ve talked to feel he’s a big-time steal for Brown University. Then again, that also shows how strong he is academically.
G — Ron Lee Jr. (Oak Park, Agoura Hills) 6-2 Sr.
The son of a former Oregon All-American, Lee moves up from the third team after another honor-filled campaign. His father was Oregon’s all-time leading scorer with 2,085 points and Lee Jr. is Oak Park’s all-time leading scorer with 2,050 points. His point total also is No. 4 all-time in Ventura County history according to the Ventura County Star. A four-year standout, Lee helped Oak Park win its first state regional tournament game as a junior and was known for carrying his team in stretches against tough out-of-area competition. As a senior, Lee averaged 19.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.5 rebounds and was named player of the year in Ventura County for the second consecutive year.
G — Jordan Mathews (Santa Monica) 6-3 Sr.
Not only did Santa Monica advance to its first state title game in the modern era, Mathews hit what was probably the biggest shot in school history when he nailed a 3-pointer with three seconds left to give SaMoHi a 53-50 regional final victory over Loyola, a team that beat the Vikings twice earlier in the season. The fact he was in major foul trouble and only played 12 minutes in the state title game doesn’t diminish from Mathews’ outstanding overall season. On a 29-7 team with little height, the Cal recruit averaged over 24 points, eight rebounds and three assists as SaMoHi won the CIFSS Division I-A title. Mathews made the Los Angeles Times’ 10-man all-star team and was named the Southern Section’s player of the year in his division.
F — Lamond Murray Jr. (Bishop Montgomery, Torrance) 6-6 Sr.
After a standout senior season in which Murray helped Montgomery win its first 29 games, Murray joins his father as a Cal-Hi Sports elite team all-state choice. The elder Murray was a first five selection in 1990-91 along with former NBA center Cherokee Parks and the ageless Jason Kidd. While the younger Murray is not quite on that level as a player, he’s improved immensely since coming over to the Knights’ program from small school Chadwick of Rancho Palos Verdes. It all came together this season, when Murray used his uncanny ability to score to average 22.3 points and 9.6 rebounds for a 32-2 club. Not only was he named Del Rey League MVP and chosen to the all-CIFSS Division IV-AA team, he was also chosen as the Daily Breeze’s Player of the Year in an excellent season for talent in the South Bay. He has signed and will play next at Pepperdine.
G — Jahmel Taylor (Pacific Hills, Los Angeles) 6-0 Sr.
The CIF Division IV state champions had a terrific trio of guards and the Washington-bound Taylor received the most accolades of the three. Taylor is a fearless penetrator and uses his strength to ball hawk opposing guards as well as anyone in the state. Taylor averaged 22.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.3 steals and came up huge in Pac Hills’ SoCal Division IV regional final win over Bishop Montgomery with 24 points and 10 rebounds. He was named CIFSS Division 4-AA Player of the Year for his efforts.
F — Michael Thomas (El Camino Real, Woodland Hills) 6-5 Sr.
Similar to LeLand King, Thomas is another talented California player that perhaps big-time college programs let slip away. Bound for Hawaii, Thomas was the best all-around player for a team that returned all five starters and advanced to the L.A. City Section Division I title game after winning it in Division II the season before. The athletic Thomas averaged 15.2 points and 7.6 rebounds on a 28-4 team ranked in the state top 20 for a majority of the season. He was named co-MVP of the West Valley League along with third team elite all-state selection Kris Yanku.
F — Keonta Vernon (Tulare) 6-5 Sr.
The CIF Central Section’s most highly-honored basketball player, Vernon is also the section’s only D1 signee and one of the state’s best Grid-Hoopers. Headed to Wyoming, Vernon is best known for his rim-rattling dunks, but he can do much more than that. The Fresno Bee’s Offensive Player of the Year and the Visalia Times-Delta overall POY, Vernon averaged 23.6 points and 16.7 rebounds for a 20-7 team. In his four year-career, Vernon netted a school record 1,839 points and grabbed 1,479 rebounds. The scoring total is fifth best in school history according to Bob Barnett. The rebounding total is 13th best in state history and gets Vernon into the Cal-Hi Sports state record book.
G — D’Erryl Williams (Sheldon, Sacramento) 6-3 Sr.
This season, teammate Dakarai Allen racked up more local honors (he was named Sac Bee Player of the Year while Williams earned the honor last season), but it doesn’t diminish from the fine season and career Williams had. No guard in the state is as powerfully built as Williams, and he uses it to bull his way to high percentage shots or to grab key offensive rebounds. He averaged 12 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals, but numbers don’t do justice of his impact for a deep and talented team. In the last four seasons, Williams and Allen have led Sheldon to 108 wins, four CIF Sac Joaquin Section Division I titles and will play together at San Diego State.
G — Jordan Wilson (Windward, Los Angeles) 5-8 Sr.
Although the smallest player on our elite team, few players in the state could dominate for stretches at a time like this Northern Colorado-bound point guard could. That was especially evident at the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic the last two seasons and at the Fairfax State Preview Classic when he nearly single-handily beat Alemany of Mission Hills. Also not much separates the top teams and players in the Alpha League (Pacific Hills, Brentwood, etc.) and Wilson was clearly Windward’s top player. A three-year standout who helped the Wildcats win a Division IV state title as a sophomore, was named to the all-CIFSS Division IV-AA team. He averaged 17.0 points and 5.5 assists per game for a 20-9 club.
F — Dorian Butler (J.W. North, Riverside) 6-6 Sr.
Similar to the Murray clan, Butler and his father Kevin form another father-son all-state combo. Dorian’s father (who went on to play at UCLA) was a third five all-state choice in 1983-84 when he led North to its first-ever CIF Southern Section title. Kevin was the Riverside Press- Enterprise and CIFSS Division III-A Player of the Year and Dorian also is that newspapers’ player of the year and the top player in the CIFSS Division II-AA ranks. This season, Butler led North to a section crown and the SoCal Division II regional final by averaging 14.8 points and 8.5 rebounds while shooting 60 percent from the field. He also was the Wooden Award winner as the top player in Division II among CIF Southern Section programs.
F — Henry Caruso (Serra, San Mateo) 6-4 Sr.
A player who could beat teams both inside and outside, Caruso had an honor-filled senior season, one that included a win over Central Coast Section Open Division champion and league rival Mitty of San Jose. Caruso, an excellent student bound for Princeton, is clearly the No. 2 player from the WCAL behind Mr. Basketball Aaron Gordon. Caruso was a first team choice of the San Jose Mercury News and was the Palo Alto Daily News Player of the Year. Caruso not only averaged 20.5 points and 8.5 rebounds, but often shined in head-to-head comparisons with other all-state caliber players.
F — Trey Kell (St. Augustine, San Diego) 6-4 Jr.
The all-CIF San Diego Section team was released on the eve of the section playoffs, but had the teams been released at the conclusion of the season, it probably would have looked different. Our section player of the year would have been Kell, one of the nation’s fastest rising juniors. It’s tough to choose him over senior teammate Brynton Lemar, but it was Kell who stepped up his game in St. Aug’s run to its first ever state title. He had 22 points and 11 rebounds in the Saints’ 62-36 crushing of rival Cathedral Catholic and 14 points in the fourth quarter of their win over the Dons in the regional playoffs. Kell, who averaged 20.7 ppg, saved his best for the state title game. He hit clutch free throws down the stretch and netted game-highs of 30 points and 11 rebounds.
G — Elliott Pitts (De La Salle, Concord) 6-5 Sr.
He provided leadership and helped keep De La Salle a statewide threat despite fielding a young team, one that eventually included three freshmen in its starting lineup. The East Bay Athletic League MVP, Pitts was also a first team all-East Bay selection and second team all-Metro by the San Francisco Chronicle. Despite a system that keeps individual statistics low because of De La Salle’s defensive focus, this Arizona recruit averaged 17 points, six rebounds and four assists for a 27-5 team. He also concluded one of the best careers in school history, including solid efforts as a sophomore for a DLS team that played in the Division I state final.
G — Corey Silverstrom (Bullard, Fresno) 6-4 Sr.
It’s nearly impossible to leave off the top player from a team that finished 27-3 and has developed into a major factor on the statewide scene in recent seasons. For Bullard, that player is Silverstrom, the Fresno Bee’s co-Player of the Year with teammate Chris Russell. Silverstrom made clutch plays in Bullard’s victory over Clovis West in the section title game and was also known for his hard-nosed defense (2.7 steals, 2.7 deflections). Silverstrom averaged a team-high 15.9 points and 5.1 rebounds for a team that finished ranked No. 12 in the state.
G — Kendall Smith (Deer Valley, Antioch) 6-3 Sr.
He formed arguably the state’s best inside-outside 1-2 punch with first teamer Marcus Lee. While Lee really improved over the summer and had a monster senior season, Smith was consistently one of the state’s best scoring guards the past two seasons. Smith, a UNLV commit, was a first team all-Metro selection by the San Francisco Chronicle and was first team all-East Bay by the Contra Costa Times. Smith averaged 22.5 points, 6.7 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 2.4 steals for the North Coast Section Division I champions.
G — Malik Thames (Pleasant Grove, Elk Grove) 6-1 Sr.
We are a bit perplexed why players such as LeLand King and Jordan Wilson didn’t attract more scholarship offers, but there are also a handful of players whom colleges are making a mistake by not offering at all. Thames, a first team all-Metro choice by the Sacramento Bee, is one of those players. A three-year starter, Thames not only improved his numbers (17.5 ppg, 5.6 apg), but was the calming influence for Pleasant Grove in tight games. He went for 16 points and six rebounds and played all but 45 seconds of the Division I state title game and led his team to a 73-57 victory over Santa Monica.
F — Namon Wright (Pacific Hills, Los Angeles) 6-5 Jr.
When the all-CIF Southern Section teams were released, the absence of Wright from the first team immediately jumped out at us. He’s the biggest snub we’ve seen on any local all-section or all-area honors squad. Wright really picked it up during the second half of league play and is second on our board of players off the Division IV state champion. “He was our main catalyst against Bishop Montgomery and Cardinal Newman and is well deserving of any accolades he receives,” said Pac Hills coach Ivan Barahona. An excellent defender, Wright used his lightening quick first step and length to average 15.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.3 steals and 2.0 blocks per game.
G — Kris Yanku (Taft, Woodland Hills) 6-3 Sr.
Affectionately known as the “Turkish Mamba” on social networks and in the SoCal basketball community, Yanku is a classic example of a player who could easily be overlooked because his team was not nearly as strong as it was when he was an underclassman. For Yanku, however, his numbers and honors are impossible to ignore. This Northern Arizona recruit was named first team all-area by the L.A. Daily News and the co-MVP of the West Valley League with ECR’s Michael Thomas. A hard nosed defender who also excels at drawing fouls, Yanku averaged 24 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals per game.
G — Evan Zeller (Mission Viejo) 6-3 Sr.
Another guard who mid-major colleges are missing out on, Zeller was equally effective as a scorer or distributor. With solid quickness and a knack for finishing plays or completing passes from tough angles, Zeller averaged 20.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game for a 26-5 team. The South Coast League Player of the Year, Zeller was also named to the L.A. Times all-star team and was a two-time all-CIFSS choice. A 56 percent shooter from the field, Zeller had a 50-point outing against University of Irvine in which he only missed five of 29 field goal attempts.