Mr. Basketball State POY Finalists

Bishop Montgomery standout Stephen Thompson Jr. led his team to CIF Southern Section Open Division title. Photo: bmhs-la.org.

Bishop Montgomery standout Stephen Thompson Jr. led his team to CIF Southern Section Open Division title. Photo: bmhs-la.org.

It’s down to six who can be considered finalists for prestigious honor that lists winners back for more than 100 years. Two juniors have joined four seniors. This year’s Mr. Basketball State Player of the Year will be announced on Monday, April 13.

Note: All six players obviously also will be chosen to at least one of our all-state teams, which will be the 37th one that Cal-Hi Sports has compiled. To get all of our all-state basketball content, a subscription to our Gold Club is required. Take a moment today to join our team. For details, CLICK HERE.

Congratulations to these six players for being considered as a finalist to be the 2015 Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Basketball State Player of the Year, a selection that goes back more than 100 years. All are listed in alphabetical order.

Lonzo Ball (Chino Hills) Jr.
Our State Sophomore of the Year last season, he is now up for overall state player of the year honors after an impressive showing in the CIF Division I state championship game that saw him score 30 points and grab 10 rebounds before fouling out in his team’s double-overtime loss to San Ramon Valley of Danville. Considered one of the top junior recruits not only in the state but in the nation, Ball committed to UCLA in January of 2014. He’s a 6-foot-4 guard who can go inside when he has to and often set up younger brother, LiAngelo Ball, for open jumpers and drives to the hoop.

Tyler Dorsey of Maranatha. Photo: Nick Koza/sportsamp.com.

Tyler Dorsey. Photo: Nick Koza/sportsamp.com.

Tyler Dorsey (Maranatha, Sierra Madre) Sr.
Named as the California State Player of the Year by Gatorade, Dorsey is also in contention for Mr. Basketball State Player of the Year after a season that saw him light up the scoreboard, including a 52-point performance against Chaminade of West Hills in the CIF Division IV SoCal regionals. Committed to play at Oregon, the 6-4 guard averaged 34 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. Also with two 48-point performances, he was a state stat star regular with the Minutemen after transferring from St. John Bosco of Bellflower. At Bosco, Dorsey helped the Braves win the 2014 CIF Division II state title.

T.J. Leaf (Foothills Christian, El Cajon) Jr.
Another big time junior recruit is this Arizona-committed 6-foot-9, 205-pound standout who dominated in the San Diego area this season. Averaging over 22 points per game as a freshman, he averaged 26.5 points last season before averaging 27.4 points, 14.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game this season as the Knights captured the CIF San Diego Section Division II championship before losing in the opening round of the CIF Open Division by one point to Etiwanda. His dad, Brad, is the head coach of the Knights. T.J. also already has USA Basketball experience on his resume.

Rex Pflueger (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) Sr.
Helping the Monarchs reach the CIF Open Division state finals once again, this talented shooter who will be headed to Notre Dame next season finished an impressive two-year run after transferring to Mater Dei from JSerra of San Juan Capistrano after his sophomore season. During the team’s 51-40 win over Fairfax of Los Angeles in the CIF SoCal Open Division final, he had 23 points to help Mater Dei earn a berth in the CIF Open Division state finals. For the season, he averaged 16.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game and looks to become the second straight player from Mater Dei to capture the Mr. Basketball honor after Stanley Johnson (Arizona) took home the honor last season.
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Ivan Rabb (Bishop O’Dowd, Oakland) Sr.
Before heading to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game, he scored 19 points and had 21 rebounds while making the game-winning free throw in the final second of overtime as the Dragons captured the CIF Open Division state championship over Mater Dei of Santa Ana and fellow finalist Rex Pflueger. Rabb also was a finalist for this honor last season and was named as our Junior and Division III state player of the year after leading the Dragons to the CIF Open Division state finals before losing to Mr. Basketball Stanley Johnson and Mater Dei. He has yet to commit to a college with his reported final two being Cal and Arizona.

Stephen Thompson Jr. (Bishop Montgomery, Torrance) Sr.
Leading the Knights to the CIF Southern Section Open Division championship before a loss to Mater Dei in the SoCal Open Division semifinals, he showed he could do more than just score over his four years at the school. Like many of our other finalist, he will be headed to play in the Pac-12 next season. as he will go to Oregon State where his father, Stevie, the former Crenshaw of L.A. star, is an assistant coach. Thompson, who already has been named as a winner of the Wooden Award for D4 in the Southern Section, averaged 24.3 points, 5.2 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game.

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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