SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week are Hannah Jump (left with NCAA superstar Sabrina Ionescu of the University of Oregon) from Pinewood of Los Altos Hills and Clark Slajchert of Oak Park. Photos: Harold Abend & @wceua /

The state No. 2 Pinewood of Los Altos Hills girls often get “the Jump” on opponents with their Stanford-bound sharpshooter. She’s joined as a NorCal Player of the Week by a promising sophomore from Carmel. For SoCal, high-scoring junior Clark Slajchert of Oak Park and athletic forward DeMariyah McGee from Rancho Verde of Moreno Valley gain the nods.

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Note: For these honors, we consider CIF Central Section players for Northern California. To nominate someone by 12 noon on most Mondays, email

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Girls Player of the Week

Hannah Jump
(Pinewood, Los Altos Hills) Sr.

Last Saturday, Jump was hopping and popping and dropping so many three-pointers it had the eyes of the Panthers’ opponents and the fans in the stands at the championship game of the Iolani Classic in Hawaii virtually popping out.

Then, after getting home on a late Sunday night flight, the 4.31 GPA Stanford-bound student-athlete was up early Monday morning for a 9 a.m. final exam in AP Spanish at academically challenging Pinewood that to top it off she thinks she aced.

The Player of the Week feature isn’t always about the big-time stars and recruits but it is about spots in the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book and numbers, and Jump is a specialist at those both on the court and in the classroom.

After having a couple of rough outings shooting but in close wins over Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) and Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) she came alive in Hawaii in a 63-49 title-game victory by the Cal-Hi Sports state No. 2 Panthers over a Missouri No. 1 Incarnate Wood Academy of St. Louis team that was a semifinal winner over state No. 3 Clovis West of Fresno.

All the 5-foot-11 senior Jump did was pump in a school record 11 three-pointers on 13 attempts to finish with a nifty 36 points. Hannah played sparingly and had 12 points in an opening round 36-point win over local girls from Lahainaluna of Lahaina, and although she only was 1 of 2 on three-pointers in a 79-55 semifinal victory over host Iolani of Honolulu, she did score 20 points. With her big performance in the championship, Jump was a runaway choice as tournament most valuable player.

With the 11 treys, Jump now is back on track with 21 of 43 converted from outside the arc and that’s as close to 50-percent as you can get. The 11 three-pointers makes the Most Three-Point Field Goals Made (Game) list in the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book and her current career 289 three-pointers already makes that list and has her close to the top 10 already with a lot of games to go.

“I had a rough couple of games but I finally found the groove,” said Jump after taking the Monday exam.

Her 11 long bombs breaks the school record of nine held by someone whose name on the Most Three-Point Field Goals Made (Career) list Hannah could conceivably jump but it would take another 107 treys to reach the 395 career three-pointers of Kacey Scheppler, the daughter of Pinewood head coach Doc Scheppler who had a year at Sacred Heart Prep of Atherton before transferring to Pinewood where she graduated in 1998.

Pinewood has had its share of talented shooters that also includes Daniela Roarke (262 three-pointers from 2003-2006), who Jump passed late last season. Scheppler, who is considered one of the top shooting coaches on the West Coast and is the personal shooting coach of NBA star Jeremy Lin, has seen them all, plus all the best shooters in the state. So what does Scheppler have to say?

“She was slumping and then she was zero for three against O’Dowd and only had four points,” Scheppler said. “We’ve had our share of great shooters, and I’ve seen some great shooters but after the O’Dowd game I told her ‘you’re the best shooter I’ve ever seen. No one is better than you.”

Not only did Jump help Pinewood get over the hump with her shooting, she had to defend Purdue-bound 6-foot-4 senior Rickie Woltman and more than did the job.

“She obviously shot it well but what makes her most deserving of this award is we made her guard the big girl,” Scheppler remarked. “The team really needed her to do the job and she was fantastic inside. It was not just a career night for Hannah it was a life night.”

Sophomore J.T. Byrne is averaging 23.3 ppg for Carmel. Photo:

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Boys Basketball Player of the Week

J.T. Byrne
(Carmel) Soph.

For our NorCal boys honoree, we go to the picturesque coastal town of Carmel where Father Junipero Serra built a mission overlooking the ocean.

More recently, the Padres’ boys basketball team has built a very respectable 7-2 record and sophomore double-double machine Byrne has been a big reason for the success of the D4 level small school against a schedule so far of some larger schools.

Last week, in their own Carmel Invitational, the Padres didn’t win the tournament after a 71-66 loss to Division I enrollment Liberty of Brentwood in the semifinals, but against D2 level enrollment Antelope in the third-place game Byrne, a 6-foot-6, 225-pounder who does his work mostly in the paint, heated up and burned the visitors from the Sacramento area with a monster double-double 34 points (15 of 21 from the field) and 18 rebounds in a 71-54 victory.

Byrne was held to 17 points and 12 rebounds (teammate Kai Raine Lee had 26 points) in the close loss to Liberty, but in a tournament opening 80-45 victory over Pajaro Valley of Watsonville, JT dominated the key with 23 points and 13 rebounds.

So far this season, Byrne has scorched the nets for a 23.3 points per game average pulling down 12.8 rebounds per contest as well.

On a side note, the big fellow was also considered one of the top all-around freshmen athletes in the state last year. Last season, Byrne averaged team-highs of 19.0 points and 7.7 rebounds a game for a 19-7 Padres team in basketball, but he also plays baseball and the Carmel first baseman hit a respectable .295 last season with 12 RBI and he even stole four bases for the 18-11 Padres.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Girls Basketball Player of the Week

DeMariyah McGee
(Rancho Verde, Moreno Valley) Jr.

We go to the Inland Empire for the first time this season for the girls, just east of Riverside where we honor a junior forward that now is not only the Riverside Press-Enterprise Riverside County Girls Athlete of the Week but she now adds the Southern California Girls Basketball Player of the Week award to her resume as well.

At 5-foot-8, DeMariyah may be a little undersized to dominate in the paint, but last week her team needed every bit of her production and McGee responded by getting busy in leading the Mustangs to two victories to open Ivy League play.

McGee opened the week with 25 points and 12 rebounds with four steals and two assists in a 52-50 victory over cross-town arch rival Valley View. DeMariyah followed that up with a second-straight double-double after registering 20 points and 16 rebounds with five steals in a 54-51 victory against JW North of Riverside.

McGee already has a 20-20 this season after going for 24 points and 21 rebounds with six steals in a 57-47 win over Fontana Summit.

So far this season for the 9-4 Mustangs, McGee is averaging 21.9 points, 14.0 rebounds and 2.9 steals a game. As a sophomore last season for a 22-8 Rancho Verde squad, she was second on the team at 10.3 points a game and her 9.3 rebounds per contest led the Mustangs.

McGee was in action on Tuesday night against Temescal Canyon of Lake Elsinore so we’ll see if she has another day in the office double-double.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Boys Basketball Player of the Week

Clarke Slajchert
(Oak Park) Jr.

For our SoCal honoree, we go north off Highway 101 near Agoura Hills to honor a young man who has really stepped it up this year for the 7-5 Eagles.

It would be safe to say Slajchert has picked up the slack left by the graduation of Riley Battin, who we honored last season with this award and is now at Utah, and his older brother, Wes Slajchert, by taking over as the Oak Park scoring leader.

Clarke isn’t quite Clark Kent, but he’s almost been like Superman for head coach Aaron Shaw and the Eagles’ faithful more than once this season. Last week, in a 59-52 victory over Simi Valley, Slajchert dropped in 32 points with six rebounds, four assists and four steals. The 6-foot-1 guard did his part with 25 points later in the week, but the Eagles were beaten soundly by 10-2 Camarillo.

Prior to the outing against Simi Valley, Slajchert had 38 points and six rebounds in a 58-48 victory over Inglewood. Clarke’s top outing was 42 points in a 65-52 victory against La Salle of Pasadena.

So far this season, Slajchert has gone over 30 points five times and is averaging 29.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.2 steals per game.

Harold Abend is the associate editor of and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend

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