More Boys BB State Players of Year

D2 State Player of the Year Jaime Jaquez of Camarillo tries a finger roll during team’s win against Mater Dei in regular season. Photo: @ACHS_BoysHoops / Twitter.com.


Here’s where to go to see the Cal-Hi Sports 2019 honorees for seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen and for each CIF division. Unlike Mr. Basketball, there are no repeat honorees, but this time there was no senior of the year. The hardest decisions were to have to pick one of two dynamic juniors leading a fantastic Class of 2020, going through the several candidates among the freshmen and sorting through top contenders for Division IV.

For official writeup on the 2019 Mr. Basketball State Player of the Year, CLICK HERE.

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Congratulations to these boys players for being selected as a Cal-Hi Sports State Player of the Year. Writeups by Mark Tennis and Ronnie Flores. Stay tuned for the upcoming release of the 40th annual Cal-Hi Sports All-State Teams. Here is a complete list of our boys basketball individual players of the year for the 2018-19 season:

(Note: For this year, we have considered the Open Division and Division I to be a mixed category. The Open/D1 all-state team also will be much larger than the other divisions to accommodate all worthy players.)

SENIORS & CIF D1/OPEN DIVISION
Onyeka Okongwu (Chino Hills)

When the Big O took top honors as a junior, that forced us to have to select a Senior of the Year in addition to him being the automatic D1/Open Division honoree. That went to James Akinjo of Richmond Salesian. No such task was required this time. So far, since the advent of the Open Division and competitive equity seeding by the CIF, we haven’t done separate categories for the Open Division and Division I since there are so few teams in the Open Division. We tend to make up for the difference in there being so many top players in the Open Division and in Division I by expanding the numbers of players in the top divisions compared to the others on the various all-state teams.

Evan Mobley already is being compared to some of the top big men in California history. Photo: Ronnie Flores.


JUNIORS
Evan Mobley (Rancho Christian, Temecula) 7-0 C

This was a tough selection, as California’s 2020 class has long been considered one of the best to come down the pike in years with many playing key roles on highly-regarded teams. The seven-foot Mobley gets the nod over San Joaquin Memorial’s Jalen Green because of his production and team’s success. Mobley’s team played a national schedule and he was a big reason why it went 25-6 and spent the entire season nationally ranked in the FAB 50, while Green’s team started in the state Top 20 but played at just a level below that despite his production.

It’s hard to ignore Mobley’s slew of honors, as well, after averaging 19.2 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 4.7 bpg and 3.3 apg and making the 10-man L.A. Times All-Star team over his older brother 6-foot-9 senior Isaiah Mobley, who was California’s lone McDonald’s All-American. The only other junior to make the list was Mayfair’s Josh Christopher. Mobley was also chosen the Gatorade State Player of the Year over Mr. Basketball Onyeka Okongwu and he averaged 29.5 ppg and 13 rpg in two victories over the Huskies. Mobley also went up against eventual Gatorade National Player of the Year James Wiseman of Memphis East and matched him, going for 13 points and three rebounds as the Eagles won the game in West Memphis, Ark.

At times, Evan was also the most dominant player on a Compton Magic travel ball club that won the mythical grassroots national title last summer and included his brother, The Big O, Harvard-Westlake’s Johnny Juzang, Corona Centennial’s Jaylen Clark and Bakersfield Liberty’s Isaiah Hill. However, Rancho Christian was upset in the opening round of the SoCal Open playoffs versus L.A. Westchester and it’s conceivable had Rancho Christian won the CIFSS or CIF Open state crowns, Mobley might have had a strong enough case to unseat his friend for Mr. Basketball honors.

Mobley, who some consider the best overall prospect in high school basketball regardless of class, is the first ever honoree from Riverside County as State Junior of the Year. He’s also the fifth post player in the last six years to receive highest honors among juniors, as the Lakers’ Lonzo Ball is the only guard honored in that time frame after the Chino Hills standout was just edged by Ivan Rabb for Mr. Basketball honors in 2014-15. The Mobley family did consider re-classifying Evan up to join his older brother at USC this fall, but ultimately decided against it. It will be interesting to see just how dominant and what kind of numbers he can put up with a solid nucleus returning and Isaiah in college next season.

Last 13 State Juniors of the Year (for obvious reason want to continue listing 2006): 2018 Onyeka Okongwu (Chino Hills); 2017 Marvin Bagley (Sierra Canyon, Chatsworth); 2016 Brandon McCoy (Cathedral Catholic, San Diego); 2015 Lonzo Ball (Chino Hills); 2014 Ivan Rabb (Oakland Bishop O’Dowd); 2013 Stanley Johnson (Santa Ana Mater Dei); 2012 Aaron Gordon (San Jose Archbishop Mitty); 2011 Brandon Ashley (Oakland Bishop O’Dowd); 2010 Josiah Turner (Sacramento); 2009 Jeremy Tyler (San Diego); 2008 Renardo Sidney (Lakewood Artesia); 2007 Jrue Holiday (North Hollywood Campbell Hall); 2006 James Harden (Lakewood Artesia).

Sophomore point guard Devin Askew doesn’t have to score big points for Mater Dei’s offense to shine, but he can. Photo: @1550sports / Twitter.com.


SOPHOMORES
Devin Askew (Mater Dei, Santa Ana)

Last season, Askew’s 10th grade teammate, Wilhelm Breidenbach, was in consideration for freshman of the year (an honor that eventually went to La Verne Damien’s Malik Thomas), but this season he took on a bigger role to take home top sophomore honors over his teammate, Thomas, Ribet Academy’s Tyler Powell, and Clovis West’s Cole Anderson. Askew not only transitioned into the starting point guard role previously occupied by CIFSS Open Division POY Spencer Freedman (Harvard), he took his game to another level in the playoffs, as the young Monarchs made a run to the SoCal Open final and finished ranked No. 2 in the state with a 29-5 mark.

Askew was Mater Dei’s leading scorer at 14.0 ppg and also led the team in assists (6.8) and steals (2.1) while grabbing 3.5 rpg. Breidenbach and Askew were the only two sophomores to earn all-CIFSS Open Division honors, but it was Askew who was named first team all-county by the Orange County Register while Mater Dei’s big man received second team honors. The Mater Dei duo are also the two top-ranked sophomores by Cal-Hi Sports and will be elite team all-state candidates next season when the Monarchs should field one of the best teams in the Western U.S.

Askew is the first State Sophomore of the Year from Mater Dei and Orange County since 2012, when current NBA forward Stanley Johnson was the choice. He’s also the fourth honoree from the famed Orange County program, joining Johnson, Schea Cotton (1995) and Tommie Lewis (1983). With his combination of size, strength, stamina, and skill, Askew projects as the most dominant guard in California’s 2021 class and could go down as the best guard ever to come from a program that has won 11 CIF state titles.

Last 10 State Sophomores of the Year: 2018 Jalen Green (Fresno San Joaquin Memorial); 2017 La’Melo Ball (Chino Hills); 2016 Jordan Brown (Roseville Woodcreek); 2015 Cody Riley (Chatsworth Sierra Canyon); 2014 Lonzo Ball (Chino Hills); 2013 Ivan Rabb (Oakland Bishop O’Dowd); 2012 Stanley Johnson (Santa Ana Mater Dei); 2011 Aaron Gordon (San Jose Archbishop Mitty); 2010 Brandon Ashley (Oakland Bishop O’Dowd); 2009 Angelo Chol (San Diego Hoover).

Many along press row thought the best player on the floor during the CIF D2 state final was freshman Aidan Mahaney from victorious Campolindo of Moraga. Photo: Willie Eashman.


FRESHMEN
Aidan Mahaney (Campolindo, Moraga)

For the second straight year, we went back and forth between several players for State Freshman of the Year. It certainly helped in Mahaney’s case that the L.A. Daily News Freshman of the Year, Skyy Clark of North Hills Heritage Christian, essentially played in the same CIF division (D2) that Campolindo won. And in the CIF state final vs. Colony of Ontario, Mahaney scored 19 points with seven rebounds and four assists.

Mahaney joined older brother Carter on the Cougars’ varsity roster this season and it was obvious he was one of the best ninth graders in California. The 6-foot-2 point guard averaged a team-best 15.8 ppg with 2.8 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals. Mahaney had other outings that especially stood out: 22 points vs. Sacramento in the CIF NorCal D2 playoffs and 23 points vs. Salesian of Richmond in the CIF North Coast Section D3 championship game when that team was still unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in the state.

Here’s some other facts that should pump up Aidan and his family: It’s been since 1992 when a player from the NCS has been named State Freshman of the Year. That year it was point guard Raymond King of El Cerrito. The one before that was in 1989, when another point guard by the name of Jason Kidd from St. Joseph of Alameda (one of the greatest point guards in NBA history), was the honoree.

Last 10 State Freshman Players of the Year: 2018 Malik Thomas (Damien, La Verne); 2017 Kyree Walker (Moreau Catholic, Hayward); 2016 Onyeka Okongwu (Chino Hills); 2015 Jordan Brown (Roseville Woodcreek); 2014 Cody Riley (Chatsworth Sierra Canyon); 2013 Trevor Stanback (West Hills Chaminade); 2012 Marcus LoVett Jr. (Burbank Providence); 2011 Parker Jackson-Cartwright (Los Angeles Loyola); 2010 Roschon Prince (Long Beach Poly); 2009 Gabe York (Orange Lutheran).

DIVISION II
Jaime Jaquez (Camarillo) 6-8 Sr.

At first glance, one may notice that Camarillo was not in the CIF D2 regional playoffs. This is the division the Scorpions would have been in, however, had they not lost in a tight CIF Southern Section D2AA quarterfinal contest to Rancho Cucamonga. They were the top seed in that section bracket when it began and had a win over Mater Dei (Santa Ana) in January.

Once we saw that Jaquez would qualify for D2 for this year’s state player of the year honors, the process of choosing him was rather easy. The UCLA-bound forward averaged 31.7 points per game with a high of 54 and ended his four-year prep career with 2,653 points, which is 25th on the all-time state list (according to our own Cal-Hi Sports state records).

After averaging 31 ppg as a junior, Jaquez got this season out to a great start with outings of 36, 36, and 40 points. He finished the season with 916 points, which is the second highest in Ventura County history behind 1,008 by Simi Valley’s Don MacLean in 1988. Jaquez also averaged 12.7 rebounds per game this season.

Most of the other top players who’ve ever come from Ventura County have been D1/Open Division. That’s one reason why Jaquez has become the first ever D2 State Player of the Year from the county. The other reason is that he’s also one of the best to ever come from the county.

Last 11 State D2 Players of the Year: 2018 Shareef O’Neal (Santa Monica Crossroads); 2017 Kezie Okpala (Anaheim Esperanza); 2016 Solomon Young (Sacramento); 2015 T.J. Leaf (El Cajon Foothills Christian); 2014 Daniel Hamilton (Bellflower St. John Bosco); 2013 Aaron Gordon (San Jose Archbishop Mitty); 2012 Aaron Gordon (San Jose Archbishop Mitty); 2011 Angelo Chol (San Diego Hoover); 2010 Tyler Johnson (Mountain View St. Francis); 2009 Brendan Lane (Rocklin); 2008 DeMar DeRozan (Compton).

Sharp-shooting Ryan Langborg of La Jolla Country Day will play next at Princeton. Photo: PrepHoops.com.


DIVISION III
Ryan Langborg (La Jolla Country Day) 6-4 Sr.

Just like the La Jolla Country Day boys team became the first from the school to win a CIF state title, Langborg has become the first boys player from the school to be a state player of the year. The Torreys, of course, have been known for their girls teams and girls players, including two, Kelsey Plum and Candice Wiggins, who were Ms. Basketball, respectively, for 2013 and 2004.

Langborg became a somewhat obvious choice for this selection in the D3 category with 25 points (including six 3-pointers) in the team’s victory over Fairmont Prep of Anaheim in the SoCal D3 semifinals. He added 20 points in the regional final vs. Crescenta Valley of La Crescenta and in the state final, a 67-39 win against University of San Francisco, Ryan had 23 points and 17 rebounds. He certainly showed he was more than just a long-range shooter, which has been more of his trademark the last three seasons.

A first team overall all-San Diego Section choice, Langborg went over the 2,000-point career scoring mark and ranks among the section’s all-time leaders. He will play next at Princeton.

And here’s a piece of trivia Langborg and Torrey fans will enjoy: He’s the first D3 State Player of the Year from San Diego since Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach Luke Walton earned the nod for University of San Diego High in 1998.

Last 11 State D3 Players of the Year: 2018 Kevin Kremer (Chico Pleasant Valley); 2017 Jules Bernard (Los Angeles Windward); 2016 Jaelen Ragsdale (Stockton Weston Ranch); 2015 Ivan Rabb (Oakland Bishop O’Dowd); 2014 Ivan Rabb (Oakland Bishop O’Dowd); 2013 Isaac Hamilton (Bellflower St. John Bosco); 2012 Marqueze Coleman (Mission Hills Alemany); 2011 Brandon Ashley (Oakland Bishop O’Dowd); 2010 Deonta Burton (Compton Centennial); 2009 Chase Tapley (Sacramento); 2008 Klay Thompson (Rancho SM Santa Margarita); 2007 James Harden (Lakewood Artesia).

DIVISION IV
Ben Knight (Mission, San Francisco) 5-11 Sr.

A key holdover from Mission’s historic 35-1 team from two years ago that won the CIF D3 state title and became the first public school from the city to win a state title in boys basketball, Knight now becomes the the first player from San Francisco to be D4 state player of the year.

The point guard with great quickness and scoring punch knocked down 20.5 points this season with 5.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 3.4 steals per game in leading the Bears to a perfect record in the Academic Athletic Association and to a spot in the CIF NorCal D4 semifinals.

It was what Knight did in his last two games that ended up being the difference for him gaining this honor. In that 88-86 overtime loss to Immanuel of Reedley (which lost in the D4 state final to Ribet Academy of Los Angeles), Knight poured in 42 points to go with eight rebounds, nine assists and six steals. In his previous outing, which was a 75-72 win over top-seeded St. Mary’s of Berkeley, Ben was big with 29 points and 11 assists.

Last 10 State D4 Players of the Year: 2018 Ryan Turell (Valley Village Valley Torah); 2017 Matt Bradley (San Bernardino); 2016 Colin Slater IV (Reedley Immanuel); 2015 Tyler Dorsey (Sierra Madre Maranatha); 2014 Justin Bibbins (Torrance Bishop Montgomery); 2013 Jabari Bird (Richmond Salesian); 2012 Grant Jerrett (La Verne Lutheran); 2011 Wesley Saunders (Los Angeles Windward); 2010 Allen Crabbe (Los Angeles Price); 2009 Justin Cobbs (Torrance Bishop Montgomery); 2008 Jrue Holiday (North Hollywood Campbell Hall).

Senior Edward Turner looks to shoot short jumper during CIF D5 state championship. Photo: Willie Eashman.


DIVISION V
Edward Turner (Foothill, Bakersfield)
6-8 Sr.

They call him Squid and it was what Squid did over a four-year career that was too much to ignore in him gaining the D5 player of the year selection. When he began as a freshman, Foothill won only eight games. As a senior, his inside presence made the Trojans one of the top teams in the CIF Central Section regardless of division. Sure, they shouldn’t have been placed in D5, but they took advantage of that placement and went on a historic run to the CIF state title.

Turner averaged 17.5 points with 9.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 2.4 steals and 4.7 blocks per game. He almost had a triple-double in the SoCal D5 semifinals with 10 points, 14 rebounds and nine blocks vs. Santa Clara of Oxnard. His season highs were 37 points, 14 rebounds (three times) and a whopping 17 blocks vs. Mira Monte (a mark that will go into the state record book).

Offers for the athletic center are showing from Cal State Northridge, Fresno State, Long Beach State and University of San Diego. Cal State Bakersfield could be a destination as well.

Turner is only the second player ever from the CIF Central Section to be D5 State Player of the Year. The only other one (based on retroactive picks done in the 1980s by Cal-Hi Sports founder Nelson Tennis) is Shaun Floyd of Lindsay for 1965.

Last 10 State D5 Players of the Year: 2018 Jordan Starr (Canyon Country Santa Clarita Christian); 2017 Jimmy Beltz (Lodi Elliot Christian); 2016 Jade’ Smith (Alameda St. Joseph Notre Dame); 2015 Cody Riley (Chatsworth Sierra Canyon); 2014 Temidayo Yussuf (Alameda St. Joseph Notre Dame); 2013 Mamadou Ndiaye (Huntington Beach Brethren Christian); 2012 Brandon Randolph (Playa del Rey St. Bernard); 2011 Brendan Keane (Alameda St. Joseph Notre Dame); 2010 Troy Leaf (El Cajon Foothills Christian); 2009 Darius Morris (Los Angeles Windward) .

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at markjtennis@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports


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2 Comments

  1. Sean Redfield
    Posted April 4, 2019 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    That’s Isaiah Mobley in your photo not Evan.

    • Ronnie Flores
      Posted April 4, 2019 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for catching that, just an editing mistake when posted. Thanks Sean.

      -Ronnie

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