As is our custom, we like to release at least four and often more finalists among those who are being considered the most strongly for the annual Mr. Basketball and Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year selection. In some years it’s more obvious who’s going to get the final nods, but in other years it isn’t. We’ll let you go over this list of four boys and six girls. One of these four will be the Mr. Basketball honoree for California for 2019 while one of these six will be Ms. Basketball. Look for winners to be announced several days after we have announced the annual State Coach of the Year for boys and girls hoops.
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Congratulations to the following four players who have been chosen as finalists for the 2019 selection as Mr. Basketball in California. This is also the Cal-Hi Sports State Player of the Year, which dates back to 1905 and includes Lonzo Ball, Tyson Chandler, Paul Pierce, Jason Kidd, Bill Walton, Paul Silas, Jim Pollard and Hank Luisetti as previous winners.
(All listed in alphabetical order)
Jalen Green (San Joaquin Memorial, Fresno) 6-5 Jr.
We wanted to give Jalen a bit of a sendoff as he starts out his career at Prolific Prep (the non-CIF prep school in Napa he will be playing for next season). He’s been considered one of the top Class of 2020 talents in the nation (along with Evan Mobley, another Californian) and completed a fantastic three-year run at San Joaquin Memorial. In fact, even with missing two games this season and not playing next season at all, he’s the school’s career scoring leader with 2,350 points. According to CIF Central Section historian Bob Barnett, Green broke the previous SJM record of 2,288 set by Roscoe Pondexter in the early 1970s. That total also gets him onto the all-time state list and if he wasn’t leaving would project to be top five on that all-time state list. Green averaged 27.9 ppg as a sophomore when he was State Sophomore of the Year and this year he hit for 28.3 ppg. He had 42 points in a section playoff game and had 39 when the Panthers topped Dublin in a CIF NorCal D1 playoff game.
Evan Mobley (Rancho Christian, Temecula) 6-9 Jr.
He’s already been annointed as the Gatorade State Player of the Year, and he has two favorable matchups from early in the season when Rancho Christian topped Chino Hills and 2018 Mr. Basketball winner Onyeka Okongwu. He also has to be Rancho Christian’s lone Mr. Basketball finalist ahead of his older brother, Isaiah Mobley, who is the only California player who will be in this year’s McDonald’s All-American Game. For the season, Evan had averages of 19.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.7 blocks and 3.3 steals per game. Last summer, Mobley was one of the top players for the USA U17 national team that won a World Cup title. ESPN has him ranked as the No. 1 player nationally in the Class of 2020 and we have him ranked tops in that class for California. Others do have Fresno’s Jalen Green ranked higher as a national prospect, however, and Green was last season’s State Sophomore of the Year.
Onyeka Okongwu (Chino Hills) 6-8 Sr.
He was the Mr. Basketball for the state as a junior and once again has greatly strengthened his case with a dominant series of outings in the playoffs. Okongwu, known as the Big O and headed to USC, led Chino Hills to its second straight CIF Division I state title. He might have had a legendary outing such as 40 points and 20 rebounds in the state final, but fouled out just before the fourth quarter started and then had to watch as his teammates held on to beat James Logan of Union City. Still, he had 26 points, 15 rebounds and five assists in that game. In four SoCal regional playoff games, the Big O had averages of 30.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 6.5 blocks per game. Over the course of his prep career, Onyeka was part of three CIF state title teams at Chino Hills and helped the Huskies win 31 times with just three losses in playoff games. For the season, his averages were 27 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, 4.3 blocks and 1.3 steals per game.
Cassius Stanley (Sierra Canyon, Chatsworth) 6-4 Sr.
It was a difficult process sifting through everything at the end of last season as far as post season honors were concerned for Sierra Canyon’s CIF Open Division state title team. Part of the reason for that is that Stanley missed nearly half the season before he became eligible due to his transfer from Harvard-Westlake. This year, with all of that behind him, he had a stellar season and would be the top honors candidate from a squad that repeated as CIF Open Division state champions. On Monday, Cassius was named the CIF Southern Section Open Division Player of the Year, which makes sense because he had 29 points and five rebounds in the title game of that division. That’s also an honor that could have gone to Gatorade State Player of the Year Evan Mobley. For the season, Stanley averaged nearly 18 ppg to lead the scoring for the Trailblazers. And like Onyeka Okongwu of Chino Hills, he also ended his prep career with three CIF state titles. Stanley got the first of those when he was a freshman at Harvard-Westlake in 2016 in Division IV.
Congratulations to the following six players who have been chosen as finalists for the 2019 selection as Ms. Basketball in California. This is also the Cal-Hi Sports State Player of the Year, which dates back to 1972 and includes Sabrina Ionescu, Diana Taurasi, Lisa Leslie, Cheryl Miller, Jackie White and Ann Meyers:
Madison Campbell (Clovis West, Fresno) 6-1 Sr.
This future USC Trojan was part of Clovis West’s 2017 team that won the CIF Open Division state title. The daughter of 2017 State Coach of the Year Craig Campbell primarily plays point guard but still accomplished the feat of averaging a double-double this season of 19.9 points and 10.9 rebounds to go with 6.3 assists. For her career, she set school records with 1,993 points, 617 assists and 324 made three-pointers. Her three-point total also is second all-time in the section. Madison’s four years also saw her and a couple of classmates win 127 games, which is the best in section history and one of the best in state history.
Vanessa DeJesus (Sierra Canyon, Chatsworth) 5-8 Jr.
Although teammate Ashley Chevalier came on later in the season, DeJesus was the leading scorer for the season for the best team in the state and one of the best in the nation. The team’s stats aren’t on MaxPreps, but head coach Alicia Komaki reported that DeJesus averaged 15.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists and shot 37.8 percent on three-pointers for her 33-1 squad. In three games that Sierra Canyon played against Windward, DeJesus perhaps was at her best. She had 32 points in the first of those games (a Sierra Canyon win) and averaged 20.3 points with 4.3 rebounds and made 60 percent of her three-point shots.
Angel Jackson (Salesian, Richmond) 6-5 Sr.
Highly regarded as the best “big” girl in the state and joining fellow Ms. Basketball finalist Madison Campbell at USC, Jackson was as dominant a defensive presence as we’ve seen in the state in recent years. That was one of the reasons Salesian was a threat to win any game, such as when the Pride knocked off Archbishop Mitty and Haley Jones in the CIF NorCal Open Division semifinals. Angel put up averages this year of 16.2 points, 12.0 rebounds and 3.6 blocks per game. She had one triple-double of 26 points, 21 rebounds and 10 blocks vs. Sacred Heart Cathedral. For her career, Jackson had 1,309 rebounds and 572 blocks. That’s more than Ms. Basketball 2005 Courtney Paris had at Modesto Christian & Piedmont (566) but not as many as Jayne Appel had at Concord Carondelet (680) between 2003 and 2006.
Haley Jones (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose) 6-2 Sr.
Already named as the Gatorade State Player of the Year (for the second time) and already getting national honors, Jones stepped up her game as a senior for the Monarchs. She finished with averages of 26.1 points, 12.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 3.7 steals and 2.8 blocks per outing. The McDonald’s All-American who is headed to Stanford also put up impressive career totals. In her four years, she set the Mitty school record with 2,127 points and also had more than 1,000 rebounds and 400 assists. The only asterisk if you can call it that is that Jones wasn’t able to get a CIF state title onto her resume. This year’s team fell short in a 44-41 CIF NorCal Open Division semifinal contest to Salesian of Richmond.
Hannah Jump (Pinewood, Los Altos Hills) 5-11 Sr.
People throughout the Bay Area all know that Haley Jones of Mitty will have to be ahead of Hannah for player of the year consideration, but we still felt that she did enough for her four years at Pinewood that she deserved to be considered a Ms. Basketball finalist. It was Jump, after all, who was the leader of back-to-back CIF NorCal Open Division championship teams. Among her best outings this season were 36 points vs. Incarnate Word of Missouri and 35 vs. eventual CIF D2 state champ Menlo School. Hannah averaged 15.2 points for her career and 16.7 as a senior, but it’s her 3-point shooting that also sets her apart. For her career at Pinewood, she sank 357 of 848 shots from long range for a 42 percent rate. The 357 three-pointers aren’t a school record, but Pinewood has several of the top totals in state history and Hannah’s will be up there. She also is going to Stanford and will be a teammate there with Haley Jones.
Charisma Osborne (Windward, Los Angeles) 5-8 Sr.
She’s the Big O on the girls side, but she isn’t an inside player like the Big O for the boys. Osborne essentially forced herself to be Ms. Basketball last season for a series of playoff outings that lifted Windward to the CIF Open Division state title. It looked like it might happen again after she scored 27 points and had four assists to lead the Wildcats past Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth for the CIF Southern Section Open Division championship. In a third game with the Trailblazers for the SoCal Open crown, though, Charisma went down early with an ankle injury. She got back into the game, but Windward lost 49-36 and its season was over. Osborne, who also was State Freshman of the Year in 2016 and then was runner-up to Haley Jones as State Sophomore of the Year in 2017, hit for 17 points, 5.4 rebounds and four assists per game this season. She’ll play next at UCLA.