Boys BB: All-Time Regional POYs

Two players who were SoCal & NorCal Players of the Year twice in recent years were Stanley Johnson of Santa Ana Mater Dei (2013-2014) & Aaron Gordon of San Jose Archbishop Mitty (2012-2013). Photo: Willie Eashman.

As the CIF regional playoffs reach the semifinal round in all divisions on Saturday night, here’s a look back at the NorCal and SoCal regional players of the year, as selected last April by Cal-Hi Sports. One of the 2018 honorees, Onyeka Okongwu of Chino Hills for SoCal, is still tearing in up for the Huskies. The 2018 NorCal winner was guard James Akinjo of Richmond Salesian (now at Georgetown), which shows that this year’s unbeaten season for The Pride heading into a matchup with Modesto Christian was not that easy. Check out the all-time list to see many of the greats who just missed out on being named Mr. Basketball, or just so happened to come along in the same year as other great players.

Many times choosing our California Mr. Basketball and our Cal-Hi Sports Regional Player of the Year is a cinch. For many years in the 1980s, Cal-Hi Sports co-founder and publisher Mark Tennis sat on the panel of the Citizens Savings All-Northern California Board of Basketball (Helms Athletic Foundation now known as LA84 Foundation) to choose all-NorCal teams, so the picks are not necessarily made retroactively.

Some of the picks were gut-wrenching but without ever picking co-winners or having ties, sometimes we had to go with head-to-head performances. That is why Solomon Young (Sacramento) was the 2016 NorCal Player of the Year over three-time all-state selection Jordan Ford of Folsom.

In some years, one recipient clearly isn’t as strong or as good a player as the one in the opposite region, while other years there is a glut of great players that happen to be bunched in the same region. In 1968, for example, the NorCal Player of the Year is one of the region’s greatest players ever – guard Phil Chenier of Berkeley. It just so happens that same season power guard Freddie Boyd led East Bakersfield to a 29-0 record, while Nate Williams was the latest in a long line of great players at Oakland McClymonds in the 1950s and 1960s. Boyd would be the hands down winner in nearly any other year, but Chenier was that good, and 1968 Mr. Basketball Paul Westphal of Redondo Beach Aviation had that spectacular of a season (first CIF Southern Section player with 1,000 points in a season, MVP of four holiday tournaments) to edge Chenier for Mr. Basketball honors.

Notice that the CIF Central Section is paired with NorCal, as we also do with many other team-based honors over the years. It helps balance the number of schools in each region and gives the Central Valley players a better chance to be honored than if they were bunched with SoCal players.


Note: All selections by Cal-Hi Sports; All-time lists before 1978 compiled by our founder, the late Nelson Tennis, publisher Mark Tennis and Managing Editor Ronnie Flores based on research. Players from CIF Central Section teams are considered NorCal for the purposes of all our all-time regional lists and various honors.

Cal-Hi Sports NorCal Player of the Year

Palo Alto’s Jeremy Lin would be our 2006 NorCal POY in a close decision over Ryan Anderson of El Dorado Hills Oak Ridge. Photo: Ronnie Flores

2018 – James Akinjo (Richmond Salesian)
2017 – Jordan Brown (Roseville Woodcreek) Jr.
2016 – Solomon Young (Sacramento)
2015 – Ivan Rabb (Oakland Bishop O’Dowd)
2014 – Ivan Rabb (Oakland Bishop O’Dowd) Jr.
2013 – Aaron Gordon (San Jose Archbishop Mitty)
2012 – Aaron Gordon (San Jose Archbishop Mitty) Jr.
2011 – Darius Nelson (Sacramento Sheldon)
2010 – Desmond Simmons (Richmond Salesian)
2009 – Brendan Lane (Rocklin)
2008 – Frank Otis (Oakland McClymonds)
2007 – Wendell McKines (Richmond)
2006 – Jeremy Lin (Palo Alto)
2005 – Dior Lowhorn (Berkeley)
2004 – DeMarcus Nelson (Sacramento Sheldon)
2003 – Leon Powe (Oakland Technical)
2002 – Marquis Kately (San Francisco Riordan)
2001 – Chuck Hayes (Modesto Christian)
2000 – DeShawn Stevenson (Easton Washington)
1999 – DeShawn Stevenson (Easton Washington) Jr.
1998 – Ray Young (Alameda St. Joseph)
1997 – Ray Young (Alameda St. Joseph) Jr.
1996 – Eddie House (Hayward)
1995 – Frank Knight (Oakland Fremont)
1994 – J.R. Henderson (Bakersfield East)
1993 – Darnell Robinson (Emeryville Emery)
1992 – Jason Kidd (Alameda St. Joseph)
1991 – Jason Kidd (Alameda St. Joseph) Jr.
1990 – Dwayne Fontana (San Francisco Riordan)
1989 – Calvin Byrd (Alameda St. Joseph)
1988 – Rich Manning (North Highlands Center)
1987 – Gerald Madkins (Merced)
1986 – Terrence Mullins (San Francisco Riordan)
1985 – Todd Lichti (Concord Mt. Diablo)
1984 – Craig McMillen (Cloverdale)
1983 – Eric Holloway (Oakland Bishop O’Dowd)
1982 – Tony Jackson (Oakland Bishop O’Dowd)
1981 – Lathen Wilson (Oakland Castlemont)
1980 – Mike Norman (Mountain View St. Francis)
1979 – Dave Mosebar (Visalia Mt. Whitney)
1978 – Guy Williams (Oakland Bishop O’Dowd)
1977 – Cliff Robinson (Oakland Castlemont)
1976 – Kurt Rambis (Cupertino)
1975 – Bill Cartwright (Elk Grove)
1974 – Bill Cartwright (Elk Grove) Jr.
1973 – Cliff Pondexter (Fresno San Joaquin Memorial)
1972 – Cliff Pondexter (Fresno San Joaquin Memorial) Jr.
1971 – Roscoe Pondexter (Fresno San Joaquin Memorial)
1970 – Roscoe Pondexter (Fresno San Joaquin Memorial) Jr.
1969 – Mark Wehrle (Carmichael Jesuit)
1968 – Phil Chenier (Berkeley)
1967 – Charlie Johnson (Redwood City Sequioa)
1966 – Dennis Awtrey (San Jose Blackford)
1965 – Bob Portman (San Francisco St. Ignatius)
1964 – Russ Critchfield (Salinas)
1963 – Bob Krulish (Sacramento El Camino)
1962 – Joe Ellis (Oakland McClymonds)
1961 – Joe Ellis (Oakland McClymonds) Jr.
1960 – Paul Silas (Oakland McClymonds)
1959 – Steve Gray (San Francisco Washington)
1958 – Phil Hart (El Cerrito)
1957 – Tom Meschery (San Francisco Lowell)
1956 – Fred LaCour (San Francisco St. Ignatius)
1955 – Fred LaCour (San Francisco St. Ignatius) Jr.
1954 – Willie Davis (Alameda)
1953 – Charlie Bogle (Burlingame)
1952 – Willie Rock (Oakland McClymonds)
1951 – Ken Sears (Watsonville)
1950 – Don Bragg (San Francisco Galileo)

Cal-Hi Sports SoCal Player of the Year

Ryan Anderson of Long Beach Poly was the 2011 Mr. Basketball choice.

2018 – Onyeka Okongwu (Chino Hills) Jr.
2017 – Ethan Thompson (Torrance Bishop Montgomery)
2016 – Lonzo Ball (Chino Hills)
2015 – Lonzo Ball (Chino Hills) Jr.
2014 – Stanley Johnson (Santa Ana Mater Dei)
2013 – Stanley Johnson (Santa Ana Mater Dei) Jr.
2012 – Katin Reinhardt (Santa Ana Mater Dei)
2011 – Ryan Anderson (Long Beach Poly)
2010 – Allen Crabbe (Los Angeles Price)
2009 – Kawhi Leonard (Riverside Martin Luther King)
2008 – Jrue Holiday (North Hollywood Campbell Hall)
2007 – Taylor King (Santa Ana Mater Dei)
2006 – Chase Budinger (Carlsbad La Costa Canyon)
2005 – Amir Johnson (L.A. Westchester)
2004 – Jordan Farmar (Woodland Hills Taft)
2003 – Trevor Ariza (L.A. Westchester)
2002 – Hassan Adams (L.A. Westchester)
2001 – Tyson Chandler (Compton Dominguez)
2000 – Tyson Chandler (Compton Dominguez) Jr.
1999 – Casey Jacobsen (Glendora)
1998 – Tayshaun Prince (Compton Dominguez)
1997 – Baron Davis (Santa Monica Crossroads)
1996 – Corey Benjamin (Fontana)
1995 – Paul Pierce (Inglewood)
1994 – Jelani Gardner (Bellflower St. John Bosco)
1993 – Charles O’Bannon (Lakewood Artesia)
1992 – Charles O’Bannon (Lakewood Artesia) Jr.
1991 – Chris Ford (L.A. Fremont)
1990 – Ed O’Bannon (Lakewood Artesia)
1989 – Tracy Murray (Glendora)
1988 – Chris Mills (L.A. Fairfax)
1987 – LeRon Ellis (Santa Ana Mater Dei)
1986 – Scott Williams (Hacienda Heights Wilson)
1985 – Tom Lewis (Santa Ana Mater Dei)
1984 – John Williams (L.A. Crenshaw)
1983 – John Williams (L.A. Crenshaw) Jr.
1982 – Eldridge Hudson (Carson)
1981 – Dwayne Polee (L.A. Manual Arts)
1980 – Ralph Jackson (Inglewood)
1979 – Darren Daye (Granada Hills Kennedy)
1978 – Greg Goorjian (Crescenta Valley)
1977 – Purvis Miller (Compton)
1976 – Rich Branning (Huntington Beach Marina)
1975 – David Greenwood (L.A. Verbum Dei)
1974 – Mark Wolfemeyer (Fullerton Troy)
1973 – Marques Johnson (L.A. Crenshaw)
1972 – Tim Patterson (Santa Maria)
1971 – Raymond Lewis (L.A. Verbum Dei)
1970 – Bill Walton (La Mesa Helix)
1969 – Keith Wilkes (Ventura) Jr.
1968 – Paul Westphal (Redondo Beach Aviation)
1967 – Curtis Rowe (L.A. Fremont)
1966 – Sam Robinson (L.A. Jefferson)
1965 – Lynn Shackelford (Burbank Burroughs)
1964 – Walt Simon (L.A. Roosevelt)
1963 – Edgar Lacey (L.A. Jefferson)
1962 – Bob Bedell (Bell Gardens)
1961 – Gail Goodrich (L.A. Poly)
1960 – Joe Caldwell (L.A. Fremont)
1959 – Darrell Sutherland (Glendale)
1958 – Billy McGill (L.A. Jefferson)
1957 – Bill Kilmer (Azusa Citrus)
1956 – Jim Hanna (Long Beach Poly)
1955 – Fred Crabtree (Covina)
1954 – Larry Hauser (L.A. Mt. Carmel)
1953 – Bill Bond (Long Beach St. Anthony)
1952 – Willie Naulls (San Pedro)
1951 – J.C. Gipson (L.A. Jefferson) Soph.
1950 – Mark Costello (El Monte)

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