More State Boys Players of the Year

State Freshman of the Year Jordan Brown from Woodcreek of Roseville attracts defenders from San Ramon Valley in CIF NorCal D1 final. Photo: Willie Eashman.

State Freshman of the Year Jordan Brown from Woodcreek of Roseville attracts defenders from San Ramon Valley in CIF NorCal D1 final. Photo: Willie Eashman.

We choose honorees for seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen and for each CIF division. The most difficult was for Division IV since two of our Mr. Basketball finalists both fall into that classification. Two of this year’s winners also had to be picked twice.

For official writeup on the 2014-15 Mr. Basketball State Player of the Year, CLICK HERE.

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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 37th annual Cal-Hi Sports All-State Teams and for our announcement of Ms. Basketball 2014 on Friday. Here is a complete list of our boys basketball individual honorees for the 2014-15 season:

(Note: Players from teams that competed in open divisions were considered for the CIF divisions their teams would have played in had they not been moved up to the open division.)

Photo: Ronnie Flores.

Photo: Ronnie Flores.

Lonzo Ball (Chino Hills)

The UCLA-bound point guard is honored in two separate categories and was one of three SoCal guards (Stephen Thompson and Tyler Dorsey being the others) who really pushed Ivan Rabb for Mr. Basketball honors.

Ball was the most versatile player in the state, as he can play the lead guard, looking over the top of defenses or distributing on the fast break, can post up like a forward or battle true centers for rebounds.

Ball’s numbers reflect that, as he averaged 24.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, 9.1 assists, five steals and five blocked shots per game playing tough non-league competition and in arguably the toughest league in the state.

Ball was our state sophomore of the year last season and is the first junior and player of the year in Division I from the greater San Gabriel Valley region since Casey Jacobsen of Glendora in 1998. Jacobsen repeated as Division I State Player of the Year as did the player Lonzo Ball is sometimes compared to — Jason Kidd of Alameda St. Joseph (1991 and 1992).

Last 10 State Juniors of the Year: 2014 Ivan Rabb (Oakland Bishop O’Dowd); 2013 Stanley Johnson (Santa Ana Mater Dei); 2012 Aaron Gordon (San Jose Archbishop Mitty); 2011 Brandon Ashley (Oakland Bishop O’Dowd); 2010 Josiah Turner (Sacramento); 2009 Jeremy Tyler (San Diego); 2008 Renardo Sidney (Lakewood Artesia); 2007 Jrue Holiday (North Hollywood Campbell Hall); 2006 James Harden (Lakewood Artesia); 2005 James Keefe (Rancho SM Santa Margarita).

Last 10 State D1 Players of the Year: 2014 Stanley Johnson (Santa Ana Mater Dei); 2013 Stanley Johnson (Santa Ana Mater Dei); 2012 Katin Reinhardt (Santa Ana Mater Dei); 2011 Ryan Anderson (Long Beach Poly); 2010 Dwayne Polee (Los Angeles Westchester); 2009 Kawhi Leonard (Riverside M.L. King); 2008 Larry Drew Jr. (Woodland Hills Taft); 2007 Chase Stanback (Los Angeles Fairfax); 2006 Chase Budinger (Carlsbad La Costa Canyon); 2005 Amir Johnson (Los Angeles Westchester).

Ivan Rabb (Bishop O’Dowd, Oakland)

Our Mr. Basketball State Player of the Year also falls into the senior category and into Division III. If O’Dowd were in the CIF Southern Section, it would have been in its Open Division. In the NCS, however, it’s still broken up by divisions and O’Dowd’s is D3. Rabb has become the first back-to-back winner in D3 since DeShawn Stephenson from Washington Union of Easton for 1999 and 2000.

Last 10 State D3 Players of the Year: 2013 Isaac Hamilton (Bellflower St. John Bosco); 2012 Marqueze Coleman (Mission Hills Alemany); 2011 Brandon Ashley (Oakland Bishop O’Dowd); 2010 Deonta Burton (Compton Centennial); 2009 Chase Tapley (Sacramento); 2008 Klay Thompson (Rancho SM Santa Margarita); 2007 James Harden (Lakewood Artesia); 2006 Alex Stephenson (North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake; 2005 Junior Russell (Santa Cruz).

Photo: Nick Koza/

Photo: Nick Koza/

Cody Riley (Sierra Canyon, Chatsworth)

The ringleader of a young team that had extremely high expectations, the 6-foot-7 power forward came up big when it mattered most for coach Ty Nichols’ team.

Riley had 18 points (second to Remy Martin’s 19), three blocks and a whopping 22 rebounds in the Division V state title game win over University of San Francisco. The rebounding mark set an all-time CIF championship game record.

Riley came to Sierra Canyon as one of the most hyped middle school products California has ever seen, and even though some question his long-term upside, at the end of the day he produces. Riley had 22 points, eight rebounds and a key blocked shot in the Trailblazers’ win over
national power DeMatha Catholic of Maryland and stepped up even though he became a greater focal point of defenses because fellow sophomore Ira Lee missed the entire season.

Riley is the first sophomore choice from the greater San Fernando Valley since Rafael Berumen of Simi Valley in 1997 and the first Division V choice since Anwawn Jones of Van Nuys Montclair Prep in 1996.

Last 10 State Sophomores of the Year: 2014 Lonzo Ball (Chino Hills); 2013 Ivan Rabb (Oakland Bishop O’Dowd); 2012 Stanley Johnson (Santa Ana Mater Dei); 2011 Aaron Gordon (San Jose Archbishop Mitty); 2010 Brandon Ashley (Oakland Bishop O’Dowd); 2009 Angelo Chol (San Diego Hoover); 2008 Jeremy Tyler (San Diego); 2007 Renardo Sidney (Lakewood Artesia); 2006 Drew Gordon (San Jose Archbishop Mitty); 2005 Tyrone Shelley (San Diego Crawford).

Last 10 State D5 Players of the Year: 2014 Temidayo Yussuf (Alameda St. Joseph Notre Dame); 2013 Mamadou Ndiaye (Huntington Beach Brethren Christian); 2012 Brandon Randolph (Playa del Rey St. Bernard); 2011 Brendan Keane (Alameda St. Joseph Notre Dame); 2010 Troy Leaf (El Cajon Foothills Christian); 2009 Darius Morris (Los Angeles Windward); 2008 Oliver McNally (Ross Branson); 2007 Oliver McNally (Ross Branson); 2006 Adrian Oliver (Modesto Christian); 2005 Adrian Oliver (Modesto Christian).
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Jordan Brown (Woodcreek, Roseville)

There were no other teams in the final State Top 20 that were led by a ninth grader so Brown was a fairly comfortable pick in this category for this season.

The 6-foot-9 center, who also is considered by many to be the best Class of 2018 college prospect in the state, averaged 22.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game for a squad that reached the CIF NorCal Division I championship where it lost in a close game to eventual champ San Ramon Valley.

In the NorCal D1 semis, Brown had 18 points and 14 rebounds when the Timberwolves ventured to Concord and knocked off top seed De La Salle.

“Jordan has an unbelievable demeanor and composure for a freshman – or a senior, for that matter,” De La Salle coach Frank Allocco told the Sacramento Bee. “The sky is the limit for him. With his great attitude and work ethic, he can be a truly unique player. Great shooting touch, footwork, great spatial awareness, great teammate. He has it all.”

Last 10 State Freshman Players of the Year: 2014 Cody Riley (Chatsworth Sierra Canyon); 2013 Trevor Stanback (West Hills Chaminade); 2012 Marcus LoVett Jr. (Burbank Providence); 2011 Parker Jackson-Cartwright (Los Angeles Loyola); 2010 Roschon Prince (Long Beach Poly); 2009 Gabe York (Orange Lutheran); 2008 Darius Nelson (Sacramento Sheldon); 2007 Jeremy Tyler (San Diego); 2006 Roberto Nelson (Santa Barbara); 2005 Brandon Jennings (Compton Dominguez).

Photo: USA Basketball.

Photo: USA Basketball.

T.J. Leaf (Foothills Christian, El Cajon)

The Leaf family now has a second state divisional player of the year in its ranks. Five years after Troy Leaf was named the best for Division V, T.J. does the same for Division II this time around.

Both brothers played for father Brad at Foothills Christian and this year’s crazy, confusing saga of where to put the team in the San Diego Section playoffs and in the CIF SoCal playoffs actually helped with T.J. to be D2 Player of the Year.

Foothills Christian was considered D2 before it was moved up to the SoCal Open Division and even though it wasn’t in the San Diego Open Division. It’s possible, based on other San Diego Section pairings, that the team could have been in D1 or lower in D3. If either of those had happened, Leaf would have been behind Lonzo Ball for D1 and Ivan Rabb for D3. There were no players behind him for D2.

The University of Arizona commit, who is still just a junior, used his 6-foot-9, 205-pound frame to dominate in the San Diego area this season with 27.4 points, 14.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. He led the Knights to the CIF San Diego Section Division II championship before losing in the opening round of the CIF Open Division by one point to Etiwanda.

Last 10 State D2 Players of the Year: 2014 Daniel Hamilton (Bellflower St. John Bosco); 2013 Aaron Gordon (San Jose Archbishop Mitty); 2012 Aaron Gordon (San Jose Archbishop Mitty); 2011 Angelo Chol (San Diego Hoover); 2010 Tyler Johnson (Mountain View St. Francis); 2009 Brendan Lane (Rocklin); 2008 DeMar DeRozan (Compton); 2007 Taylor King (Santa Ana Mater Dei); 2006 Taylor King (Santa Ana Mater Dei); 2005 Mike Gerrity (Santa Ana Mater Dei).

Tyler Dorsey (Maranatha, Sierra Madre)

This was a pick that made us wish we did have ties or co-players of the year once in a while since both Dorsey and another of the six Mr. Basketball finalists, Torrance Bishop Montgomery’s Stephen Thompson Jr., happen to fall into this same D4 classification.

While Thompson did average more than 24 ppg for a team that won the CIF Southern Section Open Division title, he didn’t have as many strong individual outings down the stretch as Dorsey. It was a case of Dorsey being more of a one-man wrecking crew vs. Thompson being the senior leader and go-to player on a great team. In some of Bishop Montgomery’s biggest wins this season, Thompson wasn’t the team’s statistical leader whereas Dorsey had to have big outings to keep his team in games against the tougher competition.

Dorsey’s most magical night came in the CIF D4 SoCal regionals when he poured in 52 points in a win by Maranatha over Chaminade of West Hills. The 6-foot-4 guard also had two 48-point outings and averaged 34 points with 10.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.

It’s not as if Dorsey has never played for a championship team, either. Last season, he was a standout for a St. John Bosco of Bellflower team that won the CIF D2 state title.

Dorsey will play next at Oregon while Thompson is headed to Oregon State. In our book, the Civil War up there just got a little more interesting.

Last 10 State D4 Players of the Year: 2014 Justin Bibbins (Torrance Bishop Montgomery); 2013 Jabari Bird (Richmond Salesian); 2012 Grant Jerrett (La Verne Lutheran); 2011 Wesley Saunders (Los Angeles Windward); 2010 Allen Crabbe (Los Angeles Price); 2009 Justin Cobbs (Torrance Bishop Montgomery); 2008 Jrue Holiday (North Hollywood Campbell Hall); 2007 Jrue Holiday (North Hollywood Campbell Hall); 2006 Quincy Pondexter (Fresno San Joaquin Memorial); 2005 Joe Ford (North Hollywood Campbell Hall).

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports

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