More State Boys Players of the Year

Temidayo Yussuf was an intense leader, consistent scorer and fierce rebounder for D5 state champ St. Joseph Notre Dame of Alameda. Photo: Willie Eashman.

Temidayo Yussuf was an intense leader, consistent scorer and fierce rebounder for D5 state champ St. Joseph Notre Dame of Alameda. Photo: Willie Eashman.

We choose honorees for seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen and for each CIF division. Bishop O’Dowd’s Ivan Rabb actually is on top for two classifications while for the third straight year, the frosh honoree is from the San Fernando Valley.

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Congratulations to these boys players for being selected as a Cal-Hi Sports State Player of the Year. Stay tuned for the release next week of the 36th annual Cal-Hi Sports All-State Teams and for our announcement of Ms. Basketball 2014 on Wednesday. Here is a complete list of our boys basketball individual honorees for the 2013-14 season (note that Open Division players were considered for the CIF divisions their teams would have played in):

Seniors & Division I
Stanley Johnson (Mater Dei, Santa Ana)

This year’s Mr. Basketball selection is a repeat selection in this division and the third consecutive from Mater Dei, following Katin Reinhardt (USC) for 2012. Mater Dei’s other state players of the year in this division are Schea Cotton (1995), LeRon Ellis (1987) and Tom Lewis (1985). Cotton is the only sophomore ever to earn top honors in this classification.

Ivan Rabb had one of his best games on MLK Monday in game against Capital Christian.

Ivan Rabb had one of his best games on MLK Monday in game against Capital Christian.

Juniors & Division III
Ivan Rabb (Bishop O’Dowd, Oakland)

Considered by some as not only the top junior in California but in the nation, Rabb was the go-to player on a Dragons’ team that reached the CIF State Open Division championship game. Rabb averaged more than 25 points along with 16 rebounds and five blocks per game, he has received offers from schools like Connecticut, Duke, Kansas and Kentucky with coaches like North Carolina’s Roy Williams coming to Oakland to see him. He already has been named the San Francisco Chronicle’s All-Metro Player of the Year and was last season’s state sophomore of the year.

Three years ago, O’Dowd also had a player who was the State Junior of the Year and Division III State Player of the Year in center Brandon Ashley. He later transferred to Findlay Prep of Nevada for his senior season and played last season at Arizona. Of course, we’d love it if Ivan stays home because he could go down as one of the better players NorCal has produced in a generation.

Sophomores
Lonzo Ball (Chino Hills)

Considered one of the top point guards in the nation for the Class of 2016, Ball helped lead the Huskies to the CIF Southern Section Open Division championship game where they lost to state No. 1 Mater Dei of Santa Ana by just four points. They also reached the CIF SoCal Division I championship game where they lost to Centennial of Corona.

While younger brother LiAngelo led the team in scoring, Lonzo was the catalyst for a team that made a big leap from last season with his rebounding and ability to push the ball or throw on the money passes to a streaking teammate. Ball  averaged 13.8 points, 5.8 assists, 5.8 rebounds and 3.3 steals per game but numbers only tell a small part of the story with regards to his impact on the game. Already committed to UCLA, Ball could develop into one of the most highly-regarded players ever from the San Gabriel Valley region. Lonzo’s father, LaVar Ball, played football and basketball at Canoga Park and Washington State and went on to play pro football. His mother, Tina Ball, was a standout for Mel Sims at Alta Loma High School.

Freshmen
Cody Riley (Sierra Canyon, Chatsworth)

With reported offers from USC, Arizona and Kansas before even playing his first high school game, Riley lived up to lofty expectations. He averaged 14.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game and helped Sierra Canyon become a nationally-ranked program despite a roster that included three freshmen starters.

During the season, Riley was named the MVP of the Simi Valley Tournament after scoring 26 points in the semifinals and 17 in their championship game win over Santa Barbara. He was also focal point of other coaches’ game plans in the Alpha League, one of the state’s best. Also considered for this honor was a point guard from the Alpha League, Windward’s Jalen Harris, and another lead guard, Moreau Catholic’s Damari Milstead.

Riley is the third straight selection from the San Fernando Valley, following Trevor Stanback of Chaminade last season and Marcus LoVett Jr. from Providence of Burbank for 2012. Neither one was able to repeat as a sophomore (LoVett Jr. is now at a different school) although Stanback did have an impressive sophomore season as a shot-blocking center for the Division III state champions.

Isaac Hamilton (left) was the 2013 Division III player of the year while Daniel Hamilton (right) is the 2014 honoree for Division II. Photo: Ronnie Flores.

Isaac Hamilton (right) was the 2013 Division III player of the year while Daniel Hamilton is the 2014 honoree for Division II.

CIF Division II
Daniel Hamilton (St. John Bosco, Bellflower)

The last in a long line of Hamilton wings who have starred at SoCal high schools was a big-shot maker and clutch shooter for the eventual Division II state champions. It started with a game-winning 3-pointer in Chicago against national power Whitney Young and ended with clutch free throws in a 22-point, 13-rebound and two-steal performance in a 63-54 win over Folsom in the state title game.

Hamilton already has made the L.A. Times’ 10-man all-star team, earned the John Wooden Award winner as player of the year among all CIFSS Division III schools and participated in the Jordan Brand Classic. He averaged 20.5 points, nine rebounds and 5.2 assists per game and is headed to UConn where he’ll play for former Crenshaw standout Kevin Ollie.

Hamilton is the fourth honoree as D2 state player of the year from a CIF Southern Section school in the past five years and the second ever choice from St. John Bosco in this division following Jelani Gardner, who was the Mr. Basketball selection for the 1994 season. Daniel’s older brother, Isaac (now at UCLA), was a state player of the year for St. John Bosco in Division III last season.

CIF Division IV
Justin Bibbins (Bishop Montgomery, Torrance)

While his coach, Doug Mitchell, has already been named as our Cal-Hi Sports State Coach of the Year, we also honor the team’s catalyst and top overall player. Bibbins averaged 21.3 points, 5.4 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game and dominated during the team’s post-season run to the CIF Division IV state championship.

Among the multiple honors that Bibbins has already received are Daily Breeze Player of the Year, All-CIFSS Open Division first team and the John Wooden Award as top player among all CIFSS Division IV schools. Bibbins will be headed to play next year at Long Beach State, quite a steal for a player who dominated games this season more so than any other player his size in the state.

Bibbins is the third Bishop Mongtomery player to gain a state player of the year honor. The other two are Errick Craven for 2001 in Division III and Justin Cobbs for 2009 in Division IV.

CIF Division V
Temidayo Yussuf (St. Joseph Notre Dame, Alameda)

Leading the Pilots to a CIF Division V title, he scored 21 points and grabbed 16 rebounds during their state finals win over Renaissance Academy of La Canada. For the season, this physical and experienced forward averaged 18 points and 16 rebounds per game.

Had it not been for a lengthy buzzer beater last season, it also would have been the second state title in a row for the Pilots, who also won the state title back in 2011. Yussuf contributed to that team in 2011 and improved each season of his career.

In a play that became a viral hit earlier this season, the 6-foot-7 post player grabbed a rebound off a missed free throw and tossed it the length of the court for a basket to send a game against El Cerrito into overtime.

Yussuf, the second St. Joe player in four years to win this honor (joining Brendan Keane of 2011), will join our Division IV Player of the Year Justin Bibbins at Long Beach State next season. Also joining the 49ers’ program is all-state candidate Deontae North from Corona Centennial.

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 on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports


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