Former Price of Los Angeles standout and current NBA guard Allen Crabbe has his jersey No. 23 retired in a ceremony at the small school in South Los Angeles. Read more for reaction from the 2010 Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Basketball and his coach. In other news, talented sophomore Billy Preston no longer enrolled at Redondo Union.
To see where Price and the rest of California’s Top 20 teams are ranked this week, CLICK HERE.
When Jeremy Tyler left San Diego High School early for pro basketball in April 2009, the obvious frontrunner for the Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Basketball for the 2009-10 season was off the board. As the ensuing season got underway, the top candidates came from the top two teams — Dwayne Polee Jr. and Jordin Mayes of defending CIF Division I champ Westchester of Los Angeles and the Mater Dei of Santa Ana trio of Tyler Lamb, Gary Franklin Jr. and Keala King.
As the season wore on, a funny thing happened — L.A. Price’s Allen Crabbe kept improving and more importantly, producing. He had one good game after another, until it culminated with Price winning the CIF Division IV state title. Crabbe, a 6-foot-5 guard, netted 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the title game victory over St. Mary’s of Berkeley. The sweet-shooting Crabbe, who had a 38-point game versus Crenshaw, averaged 23 points per game.
In the end, Crabbe edged out Polee Jr. for California’s highest individual honor. “I really appreciate this one,” Crabbe told Cal-Hi Sports the day he was named Mr. Basketball. “I’d first like to thank my family and God for all the blessings I’ve been given. I’m kind of speechless.”
It’s been nearly five years since we told Crabbe and Price head coach Michael Lynch about his selection and reflecting back on it, it looks like one of those years where we made the right call. Crabbe played for Mike Montgomery at Cal. He was the Pacific-12 Freshman of the Year in 2011 and the conference’s player of the year in 2013. He was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 21st pick of the 2013 NBA Draft. Currently, Polee Jr. is a senior wing at San Diego State.
On Tuesday night, Lynch and the Price program honored the Portland Trail Blazers’ guard with a jersey retirement ceremony before a game versus Gahr of Cerritos. Nobody who plays for Price will ever wear jersey No. 23 again.
“I always said one day if we’re lucky enough to have a young man make the NBA, I’d like to honor him by retiring his number and jersey,” said Lynch, who is closing in on 500 career victories at the small school off Vermont Ave. “Well that time has come. This is a two-fold honor — it’s also honoring our program. It took a lot of preparation, pride and faith (for him to make it) and all the principles that go with it.”
“This is big to me, especially since I’ve been here since pre-K,” said Crabbe among a group of media, family and well-wishers. “It’s hard to put into words but it means a lot.
“I can’t believe I’ve been out of high school five years. Price still has a good basketball team. There is something really special about this school.”
Here’s what Crabbe told Cal-Hi Sports about what he expected after leaving the school founded by his grandfather and well-respected pastor, Frederick K. C. Price, and joining Price teammate Richard Solomon at Cal: “I am looking forward most to just the experience of being on my own. I’m looking for the opportunity to play top teams and top players. If the chances for playing time opens up, I just want to be ready.”
It’s safe to say, Crabbe seized his opportunity like the snap of a rebound and was humbled by the ceremony at a school he’s been associated with since his ball-boy days as a young child.
Billy Preston Checks Out Of Redondo
Sophomore forward Billy Preston has checked out of Redondo Union, it was confirmed Tuesday by Cal-Hi Sports. The 6-foot-9 Preston was the tallest starter by a wide margin for a team that entered the week 11-4 and ranked No. 4 in the Cal-Hi Sports Top 20 and No. 40 in the Grassroots Hoops FAB 50.
Preston, considered one of the nation’s top prospects in the 2017 class, spent a portion of his freshman season playing for St. John Bosco of Bellflower before checking out of the school last January. St. John Bosco went on to capture the CIF Division II state title.
Rumors are rampant about where Preston will land, but there is a good possibility he won’t play basketball for a CIF member school. He’s likely headed for a boarding school or basketball academy-type program.
“We’re unsure as of yet, but we are definitely moving toward the Prep School situation,” tweeted his mother Nicole Player (@BartenderChic78). “Redondo has a block schedule..that didn’t fit.”
Redondo Union is coming off a season in which it advanced to the CIF SoCal Open Division regional tournament and the CIFSS Open Division semifinals. Preston was a key cog in the Sea Hawks remaining one of the state’s best teams. He’s was, at worst, Redondo Union’s second most talented and second best player along with 6-foot-2 junior Leland Green.
“Everyone has to do what they believe is best,” Redondo Union coach Reggie Morris Jr. said. “I respect it and all of us will be okay. We still like our chances and look forward to the challenge.”