Stanley Johnson of Mater Dei remains the clear leader to be the 2014 Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Basketball State Player of the Year, but there are four new players that have moved up into the Top 10.
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There was a preseason tracker of top Mr. Basketball State Player of the Year candidates and those positions are listed in parentheses.
Note: Cal-Hi Sports lists Mr. Basketball State Player of the Year honorees back to 1905 in the Cal-Hi Sports State Record Book files. Many of these files and features are part of our Gold Club subscription to this site. Join our team today by CLICKING HERE.
(Player rankings by Ronnie Flores; Writeups by Mark Tennis)
1. (1) Stanley Johnson (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) Sr.
Stan’s been the man since Day 1 of this season and is currently averaging almost 26 points per game. The University of Arizona recruit and McDonald’s All-American had a season-high of 42 against Foothills Christian plus 25 against Bishop O’Dowd, 27 against Whitney Young of Chicago and 29 just last week against St. John Bosco. Of course, he’s also led the Monarchs to an unbeaten record.
2. (2) Ivan Rabb (Bishop O’Dowd, Oakland) Jr.
Northern California’s heir apparent to last year’s Mr. Basketball honoree (Aaron Gordon of Archbishop Mitty) has come on strong in recent weeks. The 6-foot-9 power forward also has moved up to No. 1 on ESPN’s player rankings for the Class of 2015. That’s for the entire nation. Rabb was at his best with 31 points and 10 rebounds when O’Dowd beat Capital Christian at the De La Salle MLK Classic held at Cal’s Haas Pavilion. The Bears made Rabb’s top 12 list he recently announced. Also on it are Arizona, UCLA, Duke, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, North Carolina, N.C. State, Ohio State and USC.
3. (3) Jordan McLaughlin (Etiwanda) Sr.
The USC-bound point guard doesn’t drop at all since the preseason despite an injury that cost him several games during the holiday tournament part of Etiwanda’s schedule. Part of the reason for that was a sensational outing when the Eagles beat St. John Bosco of Bellflower at the Nike Extravaganza. In that game, McLaughlin scored 30 points in the second half. He also has the opportunity to have several other huge performances in the CIFSS Open Division playoffs and then in the CIF Southern California Open Division regional playoffs.
4. (4) Daniel Hamilton (St. John Bosco, Bellflower) Sr.
He’s similar to Stanley Johnson as a 6-foot-7 senior who can shoot from the outside and he’s generally ranked among the top 20 to 25 recruits in the nation (although he wasn’t chosen to the McDonald’s A-A Game). He’s clearly behind Johnson as well as McLaughlin among SoCal players on this tracker, but his overall skills and consistently strong play this season also keep him firmly in the top five. Hamilton had a 25-point, nine-rebound, six-assist line in an impressive showing last month against St. Frances of Baltimore. He’s also averaging nearly 21 points per game and has hit plenty of clutch shots so far this season.
5. (NR) Tom Welsh (Loyola, Los Angeles) Sr.
At the beginning of the season, four-year starter and 2011 State Freshman of the Year Parker Jackson-Cartwright was Loyola’s leading player of the year candidate on this tracker. Jackson-Cartwright is no longer on the team and the 7-foot Welsh was recently named to the McDonald’s All-American Game. Welsh may not necessarily up his scoring in the Cubs’ revamped lineup, but his inside presence has been drastically improved since last season and he’s got the chance to lead Loyola deep into the postseason. He is averaging nearly 17 points with 10.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. Welsh also has signed with UCLA.
6. (NR) Deontae North (Centennial, Corona) Sr.
The 6-foot-5 small forward has had a stellar season along with junior teammate Sedrick Barefield in leading the Huskies to a current No. 3 state ranking. While Barefield had a series of recent games that were exceptional, North would seem to be a touch higher for postseason honors right now based on the entire season. North has averaged nearly 20 ppg and has displayed a fierce tenacity on both ends of the floor. Among his top outings has been 32 points vs. defending CIF Division I champ Pleasant Grove, 24 vs. state-ranked Capital Christian, 29 vs. state-ranked Chino Hills and 27 vs. state-ranked Loyola. All except the Loyola game were in Centennial wins, too.
7. (8) D.J. Wilson (Capital Christian, Sacramento) Sr.
It wasn’t a good day for Wilson when he and his team went up against Bishop O’Dowd in January, but he has had other outings that were much better and remains one of the state’s most intriguing prospects. The 6-foot-8 small forward who is headed to Michigan had 11 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks in a win over Etiwanda and had 20 points in a win over Sacramento. Wilson also has a good chance to have signature outings during the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section and NorCal playoffs.
8. (9) Trey Kell (St. Augustine, San Diego) Sr.
After leading the Saints to the CIF Division III state title as a junior, big things were expected of Kell for this season and he hasn’t disappointed. In fact, he’s been tearing it up lately. He had a 31-point game last week against Lincoln and already has a 30-point game this week against La Jolla. The San Diego State-bound guard is averaging 25 points per game. We can see him easily moving up toward the top five with continued outings like he’s been having, especially in the new CIF San Diego Section Open Division playoffs.
9. (NR) Elijah Stewart (Westchester, Los Angeles) Sr.
The Loyola Marymound-bound guard, who arrived at Westchester two years ago as a sophomore unknown from a small town in Louisiana, is now on the top 10 player tracker and is the leading candidate to be the L.A. City Player of the Year. He had 24 points in a big win already this week over Fairfax and had 32 in an overtime loss to national power DeMatha of Hyattsville, Md.
10. (NR) Lonzo Ball (Chino Hills) Soph.
He’s considered by many to be among the top sophomores in the country and probably the best sophomore point guard in the West. Ball, a 6-foot-5 player who may keep growing, has led the Huskies to a No. 8 placing in this week’s state rankings. He’s not often the team’s top scorer, but he’s certainly the catalyst. In a recent win against El Camino Real (top 20 in the state at the time), Ball had 16 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
Dropped From Previous Top 10 Tracker:
Previous No. 5 Parker Jackson-Cartwright (Loyola, Los Angeles) Sr.; No. 6 Stevie Thompson Jr. (Bishop Montgomery, Torrance) Jr.; No. 7 Tyler Dorsey (St. John Bosco, Bellflower) Jr.; No. 10 Shon Briggs (Brentwood, Heritage) Sr.