The 39th annual Cal-Hi Sports All-State boys basketball teams roll on with this roll out of the those written up and featured prominently on second & third team overall. Some of those on these teams may be obvious, but we also are trying to find a few players who may be great down the road like we did in 2008 with Oakland’s Damien Lillard and in 2006 with Leuzinger’s Russell Westbrook. At the end of the day, schools getting two players each on one of our top three 10-player teams are Bishop Montgomery, Mater Dei of Santa Ana, Sierra Canyon, Chino Hills and Roosevelt of Eastvale. We decided not to have any team get three.
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SECOND TEAM OVERALL
G - Jemarl Baker (Roosevelt, Eastvale) 6-3 Sr.
A fantastic summer in 2016 propelled Baker to a strong individual senior campaign and Roosevelt to a D1 state title. While first teamer Matt Mitchell put up some eye-popping statistics, it was baker who Roosevelt looked to for big shots in half court situations and sometimes when Baker got hot, he completely demoralized teams. One of the state’s best elite level outside shooters along with Jaylen Hands and Gelo Ball, Baker nailed 94 3-pointers as a senior and 283 for his career, the latter a number that will earn him a spot in the Cal-Hi Sports state record book. He also made some big defensive plays and had seven steals in a game three times. For the season, he averaged 17.1 points, 4.1 assists and 1.8 steals for the No. 8 ranked team in the state. Baker committed to Cal last summer, but de-committed after Cuonzo Martin left the program and signed with the University of Kentucky.
F - Riley Battin (Oak Park) 6-8 Jr.
Even though he didn’t get some of the local honors he probably deserved (Battin did not repeat as Ventura County Star Player of the Year, nor did he make the all-CIFSS Open Division team), Battin isn’t overlooked from a statewide perspective. He’s been one of the state’s best post players the past two seasons, is amazingly consistent and plays well in the big games. He went for 24 points and season highs of 22 rebounds and seven assists in the Eagles’ win over Foothills Christian in the SoCal D1 regional playoffs and averaged 24.7 ppg and 12.3 rebounds for a 23-9 team that finished ranked No. 15 in the state. “Mr. Double-Double” lived up to his moniker this season, as he had one in all but four games and averages of 23.7 ppg and 12.4 rpg through 95 career games so far. With another consistent senior campaign, Battin could join the 3,000-point club (he has 2,251 points) and has collected 1,181 rebounds with his 10.5 average as a freshman being the lowest.
G - Spencer Freedman (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) 6-1 Jr.
He earned a bevy of honors in leading Mater Dei to another Trinity League title and to runner-up finishes in the CIFSS and SoCal Open Division playoffs. Freedman was named All-County for the second consecutive year, joined teammate Justice Sueing on the all-CIFSS Open Division team and was named Trinity League MVP. For the season, Freedman averaged 15 points and dished out six assists per game on a team that had many individuals step up at various portions of the season. He was the one main constant with his leadership, passing and outside shooting ability. He’s also an outstanding student in the classroom who could join an Ivy League program after high school.
C - Jalen Hill (Centennial, Corona) 6-10 Sr.
He’s played on some talented Centennial teams over the past four years, and had to wait until his senior campaign to earn individual accolades. Last season, he was overshadowed by all-stater Jordan Griffin and fellow Centennial big man Ike Anibogu, and at times the big man duo didn’t excel together, but rather took turns dominating game play. With Anibogu off to UCLA, Hill averaged 18.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and recorded 24 double-doubles for a 27-10 team that finished ranked No. 10 in the state. Hill, who averaged double figures in 95 career games and is one of the youngest elite players in the senior class, will now follow in Anibogu’s footsteps and head to UCLA while his former teammate heads to the NBA after one season of college.
C - Brandon McCoy (Cathedral Catholic, San Diego) 6-11 Sr.
A first team selection from last year, it was a tough call to have Brandon on second team this year. He basically fell behind both Jaylen Hands and Taeshon Cherry among San Diego Section players and suffered from an individual postseason honors perspective because the Dons only went 12-15. Still, it’s evident he’s been one of the state’s top players the past two or three seasons. He joined Hands as San Diego’s second McDonald’s All-American selection and had a big game with 13 points, seven rebounds, four steals and four blocks for the winning West club. For the season, the Chicago-area native averaged 28.6 points, 12.6 rebounds and 5.3 blocks per game. McCoy recently committed to UNLV and is the first big-time recruit for coach Marvin Menzies.
G - Damari Milstead (Moreau Catholic, Hayward) 6-2 Sr.
Moreau coach Frank Knight went to bat for his top player after his team lost in the CIF D2 state title game and his production dictates we move him up from the third team. There are some guards who shoot better and some more athletic, but what separates him from many was the ability to make big plays when his team needed them the most. The East Bay and San Francisco Chronicle Metro Player of the Year averaged 25.9 ppg, 5.2 apg, and 2.8 spg for a team that went 25-10 and won the NorCal D2 title. For his career, the son of former Fremont of Oakland standout Jules Milstead led Moreau to a 100-29 record while averaging 19.1 ppg, 4.8 apg and 2.8 spg while raising his scoring average each season. He had one of the most storied careers among NCS players in recent memory, finishing his career with 2,353 points, 577 assists, 434 rebounds and 375 steals. The two-time all-stater is headed to Grand Canyon.
F - Cody Riley (Sierra Canyon, Chatsworth)
The powerful forward is the only three-time elite team selection among this year’s senior class, as he was the only 10th-grader to earn all-state honors two years ago. While others are now getting more statewide and national acclaim, Riley has been one of the state’s most productive players among elite teams the past four seasons and had some big individual games, including in a win over famed Oak Hill Academy this season. He was the 2015 D5 State Player of the Year after leading Sierra Canyon to a state title, made the all-CIFSS Open Division team as a junior and should have made it this season as well. He came into high school as one of the most highly-touted youth players in state history and produced at a high level, including 16.3 points and 8.3 rebounds this past season for one of the most talented lineups in the country. Riley is headed to UCLA.
F - Elizjah Scott (Chino Hills) 6-4 Sr.
A repeat selection, Scott moves up from the third team after another strong season for a Huskies team that was among the state’s best after going 35-0 and winning the CIF Open crown during his junior season. Similar to Okpala, he also drew glowing recommendations from his peers in informal polling. After averaging 15.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and scoring in double figures 33 times for a 35-0 club as a junior, Scott upped his averages to 19.4 points and 15 rebounds while recording 26 double-doubles and going over 20 rebounds seven times. California’s version of former UNLV standout Larry Johnson in terms of his strength and finishing ability around the rim, Scott would have been a national level recruit if he was a few inches taller. Either way, LMU will be thrilled to have him.
G - Jade Smith (St. Joseph, Alameda) 6-2 Sr.
One of the best players in NorCal the past two seasons, Smith led the Pilots to the NCS D4 title after leading them to the CIF D5 state crown as a junior. A year ago, he was named first team all-state underclass and small schools and was more explosive and individually dominant this season. He was named UA Holiday Classic American Division MVP and Bay Counties East Division co-Player of the Year while leading the Pilots to a 30-2 record and No. 20 ranking in the state. For the season, Smith averaged 17 points, nine rebounds, six assists and five steals. He’s headed to Pepperdine.
F - Justice Sueing (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) 6-8 Sr.
It was hard to separate this Cal signee with teammate Spencer Freedman, so we didn’t and just put them both on second team. He was the leading scorer (17 ppg) and also averaged seven rebounds on a team that finished 33-3 and ranked No. 2 in the state. Sueing led Mater Dei with 25 points in the big win over Chino Hills in the CIFSS Open Division semifinal and his production didn’t waiver after Bol Bol joined the team mid-season. Similar to Freedman, he was named first team all-Orange County and was one of 13 players named to the all-CIFSS Open Division team. As mentioned with the all-state underclass teams, Bol Bol only played 15 games for the Monarchs and was not eligible for this year’s all-state selections.
THIRD TEAM OVERALL
G – Jules Bernard (Windward, Los Angeles) 6-5 Jr.
One of the top junior college prospects in the state, Bernard already was named as the D3 State Player of the Year. That didn’t necessarily make him a lock for one of these top three elite teams, but it sure helped. Bernard led a 23-7 team with 25.3 points, 13.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. He had some huge single-game outings, which included 41 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in a CIFSS playoff loss to Highland of Palmdale, plus 25 points against national power Sierra Canyon and 31 points and 19 rebounds vs. San Diego Section Open Division semifinalist Vista. Bernard has offers from many major college programs, including Cal, Oregon, UCLA, Stanford, Alabama, Nevada, Vanderbilt and others.
F - Matt Bradley (San Bernardino) 6-4 Jr.
This muscular and athletic wing will go down as the most highly-honored and acclaimed player for the Cardinals since first teamer Ray Owes (Arizona) in 1990-91. You can bet plenty of traditional SoCal powers would love to see Bradley transfer in, as he’s likely to put up monster numbers as a senior. Already named D4 state player of the year, Bradley could develop into a Mr. Basketball candidate as a senior with normal development and improvement. As a junior, the left-hander averaged 31 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and four steals per game for a 22-11 team.
G - Joey Calcaterra (Marin Catholic, Kentfield) 6-3 Sr.
Similar to Jade Smith, Calcaterra turned first team all-underclass and Small Schools all-state honors as a junior into an elite team selection after a monster senior campaign. It wasn’t a difficult choice, either, after he led Marin Catholic to Marin Catholic Athletic League regular season and playoff titles while emerging as the MCAL’s all-time scoring leader (2,522 points). Arguably NorCal’s top shooter, Calcaterra led the Bay Area in scoring as a senior (29.5 ppg) and added 6.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.9 steals per game. The San Francisco Chronicle also named the University of San Diego commit as its North Bay Player of the Year.
G - Elishja Duplechan (Sheldon, Sacramento)
We really enjoyed watching the Huskies play because of their defensive intensity, never-say-die attitude and willingness to take on the state’s best teams anytime, anywhere. The ringleader was Duplechan, who teamed up with Drew Cobb (who was also considered for third team) to give Sheldon the toughest and arguably the best backcourt in NorCal. Duplechan averaged a team-leading 18.6 ppg and stepped up when his team really needed it, scoring 24 or more in five post-season games. In addition to his scoring, the uncommitted guard averaged 3.7 assists and 1.8 steals for a 30-4 club that exceeded expectations and advanced to the NorCal Open Division finals. Duplechan was named first team all-Metro by the Sacramento Bee.
G - Bryce Hamilton (Pasadena) 6-4 Jr.
Just two days after Pasadena’s season ended, Hamilton already was hitting the court for his AAU team and he’s already having a huge spring that may hopefully dovetail into a huge summer with big-time college offers. Hamilton had 31 points in a win by the Bulldogs over Harvard-Westlake in the CIF SoCal Division II regional playoffs and finished with averages of 24.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Hamilton already has been named the Pasadena Star-News Player of the Year.
G - Logan Johnson (St. Francis, Mountain View) 6-3 Jr.
He emerged as big-time player this season with some dominant performances and a slew of post-season honors. A left-handed guard with good strength, jumping ability and a knack for scoring, Johnson led the Lancers to the NorCal D2 title game. He scored 26 points in that OT loss to Damari Milstead and Moreau Catholic and had 45 points in St. Francis’ two regional playoff victories. For the season, Johnson was named co-WCAL Player of the Year with fellow junior Jake Wojcik of Bellarmine and alone was named the South Bay Player of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle. He finished the season with averages of 18 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals per contest. We’ll miss him next season, as he’s moving on to a South Florida high school to be closer to brother Tyler Johnson of the Miami Heat, the former St. Francis and Fresno State standout who signed a four-year, $50 million dollar contract in July 2016.
F - Darrin Person Jr. (Immanuel, Reedley) 6-6 Sr.
The Fresno Bee’s Player of the Year wrapped up a four-year career for the Eagles with 2,305 points and 1,341 rebounds, which according to Central Section historian Bob Barnett is fifth and sixth in the all-time section records. Person Jr. had career averages of 18.3 points and 10.6 rebounds and was on teams that went a combined 101-24 with four section titles. In this year’s SoCal D4 playoffs, Person Jr. had 34 points on a badly sprained ankle against Burbank before getting 20 in a loss to eventual finalist Helix of La Mesa. Darrin will play next at Cal State Bakersfield.
F - Tydus Verhoeven (Manteca) 6-8 Sr.
This do-it-all small forward is simply too talented to leave off the elite team. Last season, he played a big role in leading Manteca to the D3 state crown as a ball-handling forward who could play point guard, but this year had to play more inside on a much smaller team. The results were still spectacular, as Verhoeven had five triple doubles (with rebounds and blocks) while averaging 16.5 points, 12.7 rebounds 6.0 blocks and 3.2 assists for a 24-7 team that won the Valley Oak League title. Verhoeven recently announced he’s headed to Duquesne University.
F - Zafir Williams (Poly, Long Beach) 6-6 Sr.
He just missed the elite team last year, but can’t be denied this time around after another consistent season for one of the top programs in SoCal. Williams helped Poly win one CIFSS title and four Moore League crowns in his time on the varsity, and has been named Moore League Player of the Year the past two seasons. He gets the nod as a senior after averaging 28 points and 16 rebounds per game for a 22-9 club and earning Long Beach Press-Telegram Dream Team honors. “Big Z” will join second teamer Eli Scott at LMU as part of a fantastic recruiting class.
G - Jake Wojcik (Bellarmine, San Jose) 6-4 Jr.
He’s already been selected as the Alameda Newspaper Group’s South Bay/Peninsula Player of the Year and was co-Player of the Year in the West Catholic Athletic League with Logan Johnson of St. Francis. We decided not to pick between the two and instead put them both on third team overall. The strength of Wojcik’s resume is leading Bellarmine to a rare 14-0 record in the WCAL as well as a 25-3 season that didn’t end until a close road loss to Sacramento Sheldon in the NorCal Open Division playoffs. Wojcik knocked down 15.6 ppg in a balanced attack.
Note: Co-founder Mark Tennis contributed to this report.