To kick off our summer season of honoring the best multi-sport and overall athletes of the year, we begin with a look at the state’s best football-basketball combo athletes on our annual Cal-Hi Sports Grid-Hoop All-State team. We have even more listed as Grid-Hoop athletes of distinction and some of these players are sure to be on our state athlete of the year lists that are coming up soon. Congrats to Narbonne’s Jamal Hicks, our Grid-Hoop State Player of the Year.
Note: We’ve been selecting grid-hoop all-state teams since the 1986-1987 school year when the San Diego Section Player of the Year in both sports, Junior Seau, was named Grid-Hoop State Player of the Year. Since the immortal Seau was selected, other combo athletes we’ve honored as Grid-Hoop POY include Willie McGinest, Tony Gonzalez, Marcedes Lewis and Matt Barnes. We are in the process of archiving all of our all-state teams online, including all the Grid-Hoop all-state teams. To access those, you need to be a member of our Gold Club. It’s a great deal and it’s a great time to join our team by CLICKING HERE.
Even though the sheer amount of elite two-sport athletes around the state appears to be dwindling, there is still something special about football-basketball combo athletes. For starters, the seasons overlap and it takes an incredible amount of discipline, coordination and natural athletic ability to excel in both sports in the same school year. In the age of specialization, sometimes coaches (and even parents) encourage young athletes to stick to one sport, so the 15 athletes that appear on our 2015-16 Cal-Hi Sports Grid-Hoop All-State Team deserve special recognition. The annual Grid-Hoop all-state teams also traditionally lead off end-of-school year honors for Cal-Hi Sports and have been done in this format since the 1986-87 school year with a player of the year named since 1979-80.
Besides less elite Grid-Hoop athletes than a generation ago, a couple of more trends that also make the pickings more difficult is players sticking to one sport in their final season (as San Marcos’ Johnny McWilliams Jr. did) or players leaving high school early to get the benefit of spring football, thus missing their senior basketball season (as L.A. Windward’s Breland Brandt did). In past years, both McWilliams and Brandt would have been Grid-Hoop State Player of the Year candidates.
After some digging and doing the proper research, this year’s top Grid-Hoop honoree is hard-hitting safety and basketball wingman Jamal Hicks from Narbonne of Harbor City. Some had more impressive stats and even higher honors in one sport, but no other athlete impacted overall top 20 state-ranked teams in both sports like this aggressive athlete headed to Colorado State on a football scholarship. Hicks is the first Grid-Hoop State Player of the Year from the L.A. City Section since James Boyd of L.A. Jordan in 2008-09 and the fifth overall since the 1979-80 school year, joining previous honorees Danny Williams (L.A. Fremont), Steve Smith (Woodland Hills Taft) and Johnnie Sanders (L.A. Franklin). Boyd played quarterback and defensive end and the other three were primarily wide receivers and Smith went on to play wideout in the NFL.
Hicks was named all-L.A. City on defense, racking up 62 solo tackles and four interceptions, which he returned for a whopping 208 yards. The big-play threat also handled punt return duties for the first L.A. City Section state champion. What might be the most impressive aspect of Hicks’ year is how good Narbonne was in both sports. In basketball, it finished 14-2 and ranked No. 8 in the state and the Gauchos weren’t that far behind on the hardwood. They finished as L.A. City Section open division runner-ups with a 25-8 record and were ranked No. 15 overall in the state. Hicks was a hellacious rebounder and when the football players joined the basketball team after a long fall, it took the squad to another level. Hicks earned all-L.A. City honors in the open division and in the numerous games we saw, he was the second best player on the team behind all-state guard D’Mauria Jones.
Below is the complete Cal-Hi Sports Grid-Hoop All-State Team for the 2015-16 school year:
Takoda Browne (Kearny, San Diego) 5-10 Sr. RB/WR/G
A native of Mississippi, Browne proved to be one of the best athletes in Kearny history and was presented with the San Diego Section’s Prep Athlete of the Year award by the Hall of Champions. A first team all-section choice in both sports, Browne helped the Komets capture the Division I title by averaging 10.9 ppg and providing lockdown defense on the perimeter. On the gridiron, he amassed 2,559 all-purpose yards while rushing for 1,559 yards and 17 touchdowns. He’s also a track standout.
Jamal Hicks (Narbonne, Harbor City) 6-2 Sr. DB/G Sr.
The Gauchos had four players off its state title football team join the hoops squad: Hicks, this year’s Grid-Hoop Player of the Year, undersized power forward Dominic Peterson, powerful big man Alex Akingbulu and guard Daniel Brown, the latter who was considered for third team. There is no question the toughness that quartet brought to basketball helped push Narbonne to the upper echelon of the state and shows how top athletes can still impact their secondary sport. Narbonne once had another DB make the Grid-Hoop all-state team back in 1998-99. It was Nnamdi Asumugha and he went on to become one of the highest paid NFL defensive backs ever.
Ju’Wuane Hughes (Hanford) 5-11 Sr. WR/DB/G
He moves up from the third five last year after a memorable senior year in which he led the Bullpups to a state championship in football. Hanford defeated Bonita Vista (Chula Vista) in the Division IV-AA final and Hughes led the way with eight receptions for 175 yards, including a 77-yard touchdown. He did miss six games with a broken arm, but still put up quality numbers (49 receptions, 1,031 yards, 12 touchdowns). In basketball, Hughes helped his team to a 19-8 record while making the Fresno Bee’s honor squad for the second consecutive season. He’s headed to Fresno State to play football.
Mason Randall (Sacred Heart Prep, Atherton) 6-2 Sr. QB/G
After a breakout junior season in which he passed for over 2,000 yards for a 13-0 club, the University of San Diego commit moves up to the first team. As a senior, he passed for 2,894 yards and 28 touchdowns against only six interceptions. Sacred Heart Prep went 36-6 in Randall’s career starts with three CIF Central Coast Section titles and two state bowl game appearances. On the hardwood, the Gators weren’t as good as they were in 2014-15, but Randall was the team’s best player and put up stellar numbers. He averaged a team-high 15.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.9 apg and 2.4 spg. The assist and steal numbers were also team highs.
Trey Udoffia (Del Oro, Loomis) 6-1 Sr. WR/DB/G
He was pretty good at hoops for a sub .500 team, averaging approximately 14 points and five assists per game. The point guard was also a three-year letter winner for the Golden Eagles. In football, however, that was his calling card and gets him this high. Udoffia was also considered for player of the year. He’s the only Grid-Hooper to make first team all-state overall; chosen for his work at defensive back. The Sacramento Bee’s Defensive Player of the Year, Udoffia helped Del Oro win the Division II-AA state title by racking up 45 solo tackles, intercepting four passes and breaking up 12 passes even though he was avoided as the year went on. Headed to Colorado, he was also a standout receiver who finished his career with 117 receptions for 2,223 yards and 27 touchdowns.
Marco Cobian (Ramona) 6-5 Sr. QB/F
In terms of numbers, Cobian is one of the state’s best and is also an excellent student with a 4.23 GPA. A three-year starter at QB, Cobian completed 316-of-572 passes for 4,874 yards and 40 touchdowns for the Bulldogs, including 1,807 yards as a senior. On the basketball court, he’s even more productive, averaging 18.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 4.3 apg, and 2.2 spg (all team highs) for a 25-6 club that advanced to the San Diego Section Division III semifinals.
Niamey Harris (Mission, San Francisco) 6-2 Jr. QB/DB/F
He hasn’t always had it easy growing up, so it’s easy to root for this talented athlete in the city by the bay. Harris is one of California’s top wide-receiver prospects for 2017, but he was forced to play QB for the Bears after Frank Hall was injured early in the season. Harris is naturally a hard-hitting safety and was the AAA’s defensive player of the year as a sophomore. On the hardwood, Harris averaged 13.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 3.1 apg, and 2.4 spg and was named AAA player of the year after leading the Bears to the AAA title and to a victory in the NorCal Division IV regionals. Harris was named fourth five all-metro by the San Francisco Chronicle, in addition to making third team all-state underclass in football.
Jaylon Johnson (Central, Fresno) 6-1 Jr. DB/G
The CIF Central Section had a strong crop of Grid-Hoopers in 2015-16 and Johnson was the best underclass performer. He was one of the top performers (10.6 ppg) on Central’s basketball team that captured the section D1 crown. He was named the Fresno Bee’s all-star team in hoops, but is actually more big-time in football. Johnson is a standout corner and capable receiver (14 receptions, 219 yards) and will be highly-recruited on the next level for defense. In fact, he recorded the highest SPARQ score at the The Opening regional in NorCal and earned an invite to The Opening on the Nike campus in Oregon as one of the nation’s top corner prospects.
Isaiah Tenette (Highlands, North Highlands) 5-8 Sr. QB/G
What Tenette lacks in size, he makes up for it with heart and determination, as his production in both sports was just too hard to ignore. On the gridiron, the Sierra Delta League Most Valuable Player amassed 2,048 yards and 20 touchdowns passing, rushed for 2,237 yards and 35 touchdowns, while adding 29 tackles and four interceptions on defense. Similar to other grid-hoopers that make the playoffs in football, he missed some time on the hardwood but was impactful after he made the transition. The scoring guard averaged 22.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg, and 6.7 apg for a 21-5 team after averaging 24.4 ppg and 7.2 apg as a junior.
Clarence Williams (Sylmar) 6-0 Sr. QB/G
He’s been one of the top combo athletes from the L.A. City Section the past three years and moves up from the third five last year. Williams was a four-year starter at QB and his career passing numbers rank among the best in section history once they are verified. He was named to the all-L.A. City Section Division I football team after passing for 2,201 yards and 24 touchdowns against only three interceptions for a 9-3 team. As a junior, he led Sylmar to its first city title game in 20 years and was named L.A. City Section Division II co-Player of the Year. In basketball, Williams was a jack of all trades for head coach Bort Escoto. He could knock down double figures and was often assigned to the other team’s top offensive threat. He was named to the Division I all-city team in hoops as well.
Cole Fotheringham (San Clemente) 6-5 Sr. TE/F
A key performer for Triton teams that went 11-3 (football) and 21-7 (basketball), Fotheringham elevated his game in both sports during his senior year to earn all-state Grid-Hoop honors. In football, the University of Utah recruit ranked among the top tight ends in Southern California and finished with 45 catches for 600 yards and 10 TDs for a team that lost to La Habra in the CIFSS Southwest Division title game. On the court, Fotheringham led the Tritons in rebounds (10.5 per game) and also hit for 12.0 points and 2.8 assists per game. Among his top outings was a 20-point performance in a win win over Mission Viejo. In hoops, Fotheringham also received sixth team All-Orange County honors. There are just five players on each of those teams so being sixth team means that he was considered one of the 30 best basketball players in the area.
Chad Holloway (Grant, Van Nuys) 6-4 Sr. WR/F
He follows in the footsteps on his older brothers, Santa Fe Springs St. Paul standouts Michael Holloway (2000) and Dontay Holloway (2001), as Grid-Hoop all-staters. Chad is not quite the football player Michael was at St. Paul (second team all-state), but he has the size to perhaps one day play at a high level, whether it be as a wideout in football or a small forward in basketball. He spent some time at quarterback for the Lancers, passing for 742 yards and 14 touchdowns while rushing for 272 yards. At wideout, he averaged 28 yards per reception and added three touchdowns. In hoops, Holloway was one of the section’s top scorers for veteran coach Howard Levine. He averaged 22.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.4 apg, and 2.7 spg and was named all-city for the second consecutive season.
Lucas Johnson (Mt. Carmel, San Diego) 6-3 Sr. QB/F
If his team was a bit better in hoops, he might have been a second team choice, but nonetheless, Johnson had a standout 2015-16 campaign. He was the Sundevils’ leading scorer (12.5 ppg) in the 15 games he was able to suit up for after football season. It’s Johnson’s gridiron exploits that get him on this team, as he quarterbacked Mt. Carmel to an appearance in the San Diego Section Division II title game. This true dual-threat athlete passed for 2,571 yards and 25 touchdowns and rushed for another 1,166 yards and 14 more scores. He originally was committed to San Diego State, but changed his mind in January during basketball season and his now headed to Georgia Tech.
Lane Pritchard (Red Bluff) 5-11 Sr. WR/G
Similar to others, this three-sport standout was a fine baseball player and was just too good in football and basketball to overlook. On the gridiron, Pritchard did all he could to help a poor team, catching 56 passes for 786 yards and eight touchdowns while also handling the Spartans’ kicking duties. We’d be remiss not to mention Fall River’s Jace Neugebauer, who is now the Northern Section’s all-time leading passer and a solid basketball player, but Pritchard was even better on the hardwood. He averaged 21 ppg even though he’ll likely stick to baseball on the next level.
Trey Semien (Clovis East, Clovis) 6-1 Sr. QB/G
Some of the others we considered for third team include juniors Aaron Banks (El Cerrito), a lineman-post player type and Dawit Wilson (El Toro), a quarterback-guard combo, but Semien’s honors were too hard to ignore. He made the Fresno Bee’s all-star squad in both sports, helping the hoops team to a 20-10 mark while making third team all-state for large schools. He was just as highly-regarded on the gridiron, as he earned all-TRAC honors as a dual-threat quarterback. He’ll continue his athletic career playing for the highly-regarded Fresno City College basketball team.
More Grid-Hoopers of Distinction (listed alphabetically):
Montel Aaron (Antelope) 6-3 Sr. QB/F
L.J. Anderson (Moreau Catholic, Hayward) 6-0 Soph. WR/G
David Atencio (Edison, Huntington Beach) 6-2 Soph. WR/G
Kale Aukai (Santa Rosa) 6-2 Jr. WR/G
Aaron Banks (El Cerrito) 6-8 Jr. OL/C
Franklin Banks (El Cerrito) 6-2 Fr. OL/F
D’Shaun Barrett (Twentynine Palms) 5-10 Soph. WR/G
Danny Bender (Vahalla, El Cajon) 6-4 Sr. DE/F
Josh Bringuel (Bellarmine, San Jose) 6-4 Sr. TE/LB/F
Daniel Brown (Narbonne, Harbor City) 5-11 Sr. DB/G Sr.
Baylei Coston (Freedom, Oakley) 5-8 Soph. WR/G
Andrew Daschbach (Sacred Heart Prep, Atherton) 6-3 Sr. TE/C
Cedric Dashiell II (Buena Park) 6-1 Jr. LB/G
Luis Davalos (Williams) 6-3 Sr. DL/F
Romello Harris (Tulare) 5-10 Sr. RB/G
Scotty Henrichs (Granite Bay) 6-2 Sr. WR/F
Jack Hogeboom (Marin Catholic, Kentfield) 6-3 Jr. WR/F
Jullen Ison (Moreau Catholic, Hayward) 5-9 Jr. RB/G
Ryan Johnson (Hanford) 6-4 Jr. QB/G
Nick LaBruna (Mitty, San Jose) 6-5 Sr. LB/F
Donovan Laie (Oceanside) 6-6 Soph. DL/F
Andrew Leonard (Ygnacio Valley, Concord) 6-2 Sr. QB/F
Kaleb Meder (Wheatland) 6-4 Sr. DE/C
Devon Modster (Tesoro, Las Flores) 6-2 Sr. QB/F
Jace Neugebauer (Fall River, MacArthur) 5-10 Sr. QB/G
Chris Ovale (Eastlake, Chula Vista) 6-1 Soph. WR/G
Josh Ovale (Eastlake, Chula Vista) 5-11 Jr. DB/G
Colby Parkinson (Oaks Christian, Westlake Village) 6-7 Jr. TE/C
Noah Rasheed (Santa Margarita, Rancho SM) 6-0 Sr. WR/G
Kobe Smith (Serra, Gardena) 6-2 Soph. WR/G
Sterling Strother (Campolindo, Moraga) 6-5 Sr. OL/C
Ryan Terras (Foothill, Palo Cedro) 6-0 Sr. WR/G
Darius Thomas (St. Francis, Mountain View) 6-2 Sr. WR/G
Tariq Thompson (St. Augustine, San Diego) 6-0 Jr. DB/G
Tanner Thomson (Orland) 6-2 Sr. OL/C
Hunter Wegner (Novato) 6-6 Sr. TE/F
Dawit Wilson (El Toro) 6-2 Jr. QB/G
Cal-Hi Sports Grid-Hoop
State Players of the Year
2015-16 – Jamal Hicks, Harbor City Narbonne
2014-15 – Justice Shelton-Mosley, Sacramento Capital Christian
2013-14 – Alex Van Dyke, Elk Grove Cosumnes Oaks
2012-13 – Max Redfield, Mission Viejo
2011-12 – William Stallworth, Tulare
2010-11 – William Stallworth, Tulare (Jr.)
2009-10 – Victor Dean, San Diego Lincoln
2008-09 – James Boyd, Los Angeles Jordan
2007-08 – Nelson Rosario, Oceanside El Camino
2006-07 – Rob Jones, San Francisco Riordan
2005-06 – David Ausberry, Lemoore
2004-05 – Danny Williams, Los Angeles Fremont
2003-04 – Marcus Everett, West Hills Chaminade
2002-03 – Steve Smith, Woodland Hills Taft
2001-02 – Marcedes Lewis, Long Beach Poly
2000-01 – Antwon Guidry, San Jose Leigh
1999-00 – Teyo Johnson, San Diego Mira Mesa
1998-99 – Josh Shavies, Oakland Fremont
1997-98 – Matt Barnes, Fair Oaks Del Campo
1996-97 – Jason Thomas, Compton Dominguez (Jr.)
1995-96 – Chris Claiborne, Riverside J.W. North
1994-95 – Johnnie Sanders, Los Angeles Franklin
1993-94 – Tony Gonzalez, Huntington Beach
1992-93 – Stais Boseman, Inglewood Morningside
1991-92 – Stais Boseman, Inglewood Morningside (Jr.)
1990-91 – Rob Johnson, El Toro
1989-90 – Willie McGinest, Long Beach Poly
1988-89 – Shante Carver, Stockton Lincoln
1987-88 – Eric Bamberger, Concord Ygnacio Valley
1986-87 – Junior Seau, Oceanside
1985-86 – Dan McGwire, Claremont
1984-85 – Michael Johnson, Baldwin Park
1983-84 – Jerald Jones, Vallejo
1982-83 – John Paye, Atherton Menlo School
1981-82 – Reggie Rogers, Sacramento Norte Del Rio
1980-81 – Jack Del Rio, Hayward
1979-80 – Don Rogers, Sacramento Norte Del Rio
Ronnie Flores is the managing editor of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores
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