Mater Dei will have eight former players in this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament, a total that dwarfs any other school in the state. Our national and statewide search also reveals that San Diego State would win our bracket if we chose the team with the most California players in every round. Plus, it’s amazing to see just how far and wide California players will go to play at the collegiate level.
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When the 68 teams for the upcoming NCAA men’s basketball tournament were announced on Sunday afternoon, we not only scrambled to fill out a few brackets, but decided to take a look at all the teams in the field and see how many players on those teams called California home for their senior year of high school.
What we found was that, led by 2013 Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Basketball Aaron Gordon from Archbishop Mitty of San Jose at West Region No. 1 seed Arizona, there was a total of 83 players from 30 different college teams across the land who played in California as high school seniors.
From a school standpoint, it wasn’t close which school has the most alums in this year’s tourney. It’s current No. 1 in the state Mater Dei of Santa Ana (at least the Monarchs were No. 1 heading into this week), which has a total of eight former players in the so-called Big Dance.
Three of Mater Dei’s eight play for the UCLA Bruins, which have David and Travis Wear along with David Brown on their roster.
Much to little surprise, most of the teams that have the most players from California are those colleges in California. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is tied for second along with UCLA with 8 players while San Diego State leads the way with nearly its entire roster from California. The Aztecs have all but two players on their 17-player roster hailing from in-state and five of those are from Northern California.
A pair of schools from Los Angeles rank second and third behind Mater Dei as Loyola has four players and Price had three who will be in the tourney later this week.
While the bracket we ran simply going off of which team had the most players from California resulted in San Diego State defeating UCLA in the finals, the highest seeded team with the most from the state is Arizona. The Wildcats are a No. 1 seed and have a fourth-best seven players from California, led by the previously mentioned Aaron Gordon, who was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.
Another No. 1 seed that has a standout from California is Virginia. One of the Cavaliers’ starters has been London Perrantes from Crespi of Encino, who was named to the All-ACC Freshman team.
College Breakdown of California Players in NCAA Tourney
San Diego State – Dakarai Allen (Sheldon, Sacramento); Angelo Chol (Hoover, San Diego); Niksha Federico (Cathedral Catholic, San Diego); James Johnson (Elsinore, Lake Elsinore); Desmond Maxwell (Crenshaw, Los Angeles); J.J. O’Brien (Alta Loma); Dwayne Polee II (Westchester, Los Angeles); Aqeel Quinn (Leuzinger, Lawndale); Matt Shrigley (La Costa Canyon, Carlsbad); Skylar Spencer (Price, Los Angeles); Ryan Staten (Piedmont); Xavier Thames (Pleasant Grove, Elk Grove); Parker U’u (Jesuit, Carmichael); D’Erryl Williams (Sheldon, Sacramento); Kilbret Woldemichael (Mission Hills, San Marcos)
Cal Poly – Max Betkowski (Galileo, San Francisco); Michael Bolden (Trabuco Hills, Mission Viejo); Markel Leonard (Salesian, Richmond); Malik Love (Bishop’s, La Jolla); Reese Morgan (Peninsula, Rolling Hills Estates); David Nwaba (University, Los Angeles); Andy Rowley (Mission Prep, San Luis Obispo); Anthony Silvestri (Sacred Heart Cathedral, San Francisco).
UCLA – Noah Allen (Palma, Salinas); David Brown (Mater Dei, Santa Ana); Isaac Hamilton (St. John Bosco, Bellflower); Nick Kazemi (Tustin); Norman Powell (Lincoln, San Diego); David Wear (Mater Dei, Santa Ana); Travis Wear (Mater Dei, Santa Ana); Aubrey Williams (Knight, Palmdale).
Arizona – Aaron Gordon (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose); Jacob Hazzard (Loyola, Los Angeles); Trey Mason (Loyola, Los Angeles); Jordin Mayes (Westchester, Los Angeles); Drew Mellon (Mater Dei, Santa Ana); Elliot Pitts (De La Salle, Concord); Gabe York (Orange Lutheran).
Stanford – Andy Brown (Mater Dei, Santa Ana); Anthony Brown (Ocean View, Huntington Beach); Robbie Lemons (Sacramento Country Day, Sacramento); Grant Verhoeven (Central Valley Christian, Visalia); Scott Woods (Royal, Simi Valley)
Colorado – Askia Booker (Price, Los Angeles); Spencer Dinwiddie (Taft, Woodland Hills); Xavier Johnson (Mater Dei, Santa Ana); Eli Stalzer (Mater Dei, Santa Ana).
New Mexico – Merv Lindsay (Canyon Springs, Moreno Valley); Tim Myles (Etiwanda); Chris Perez (Centennial, Corona); Kendall Williams (Los Osos, Rancho Cucamonga).
American – Jonathan Davis (Simi Valley); Kevin Panzer (Capistrano Valley); Tony Wroblicky (Loyola, Los Angeles).
Harvard – Wesley Saunders (Windward, Los Angeles); Kenyatta Smith (Flintridge Prep, La Canada); Zena Edosomwan (Harvard-Westlake, North Hollywood).
Oregon – Arik Armstead (Pleasant Grove, Elk Grove); Brian Crow (Novato); Nicholas Lucenti (Loyola, Los Angeles).
BYU – Jamal Aytes (JSerra Catholic, San Juan Capistrano); Isaac Neilson (Mission Viejo).
St. Louis – Tanner Lancona (Tesoro, Rancho Santa Margarita); Austin McBroom (Campbell Hall, North Hollywood).
Weber State – Davion Berry (Hayward); Royce Williams (Hamilton, Los Angeles).
Albany – Gary Johnson (Canyon Springs, Moreno Valley)
Arizona State – Chance Murray (Price, Los Angeles)
Baylor – Gary Franklin (Mater Dei, Santa Ana)
Cincinnati – Jamaree Strickland (McClymonds, Oakland)
Connecticut – DeAndre Daniels (Taft, Woodland Hills)
Gonzaga – Brian Bhaskar (Stevenson, Pebble Beach)
Iowa State – Daniel Edozie (Centennial, Compton)
Kansas State – Jack Karapetyan (Cathedral, Los Angeles)
Kentucky – Marcus Lee (Deer Valley, Antioch)
Michigan – Cole McConnell (Sacred Heart Prep, Atherton)
New Mexico State – Kevin Aronis (Analy, Sebastopol)
North Carolina Central – Nate Maxey (Lincoln, San Jose)
Stephen F. Austin – Tanner Clayton (Rancho Bernardo, San Diego)
Texas Southern – D’Angelo Scott (Lynwood)
Virginia – London Perrantes (Crespi, Encino)
Wisconsin – Jordan Hill (LaSalle, Pasadena)
Xavier – Brandon Randolph (Inglewood)
38 teams have zero players
Coastal Carolina, Creighton, Dayton, Delaware, Duke, Eastern Kentucky, Florida, George Washington, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana Lafayette, Louisville, Manhattan, Memphis, Mercer, Michigan State, Milwaukee, Mount St. Mary’s, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Carolina State, North Dakota State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Pittsburgh, Providence, St. Josephs, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas, Tulsa, UMass, Villanova, VCU, Western Michigan, Wichita State, Wofford.
High School Leaders
(All listed with at least two)
Canyon Springs (Moreno Valley) – Gary Johnson (Albany); Merv Lindsay (New Mexico).
Loyola (Los Angeles) – Jacob Hazzard (Arizona); Nicholas Lucenti (Oregon); Trey Mason (Arizona), Troy Wroblicky (American).
Mater Dei (Santa Ana) – Andy Brown (Stanford); David Brown (UCLA); Gary Franklin (Baylor); Xavier Johnson (Colorado); Drew Mellon (Arizona); Eli Stalzer (Colorado); David Wear (UCLA); Travis Wear (UCLA).
Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove) – Arik Armstead (Oregon); Xavier Thames (San Diego State).
Price (Los Angeles) – Askia Booker (Colorado); Chance Murray (Arizona St.); Skylar Spencer (San Diego State).
Sheldon (Sacramento) – Dakarai Allen (San Diego State); D’Erryl Williams (San Diego State).
Taft (Woodland Hills) – DeAndre Daniels (Connecticut); Spencer Dinwiddie (Colorado).
Westchester (Los Angeles) – Jordin Mayes (Arizona); Dwayne Polee II (San Diego State).
Paul Muyskens is the Stockton office assistant editor for Cal-Hi Sports and can be seen around town also working for the Stockton Ports and University of the Pacific. Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow Paul and Mark on Twitter: @CalHiSports