SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s honorees are sophomore Niamey Guillory from Ygnacio Valley of Concord and senior Wayne McKinney of Coronado. Photos: Courtesy family & Kel Casey /

There were no state record book entries this week but we found some diamonds in the rough and some budding young stars in our four winners, and that’s part of what this feature is all about. We start out in the island city of Coronado just across the bay from San Diego, and then head to Camarillo for our other SoCal winner, before going up north to Berkeley and the shadow of Mt. Diablo in Concord for our final NorCal honoree.

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Note: For these honors, we consider CIF Central Section players for Northern California. This is the second week for basketball honorees. This feature too a break for the Holidays and now returns after the conclusion of major tournaments just before New Year’s day. To nominate someone by 12 noon on most Mondays, email

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

Wayne McKinney III (Coronado) Jr.

The CIF San Diego Section and the island city of Coronado is where we land for our Southern California boys honoree.

Since moving to Coronado from Oregon over the summer, McKinney has wasted little time making his presence known and establishing himself as one of the top players in the San Diego Section.

Last week, in a 69-59 victory over San Diego Mira Mesa, Wayne was a bit of a pain to the host Marauders after he went for 37 points, six rebounds and three assists with two steals.

McKinney, who has interest from San Diego State and interest in them, had 35 points prior to that in a 70-48 win over San Diego Hoover.

The last two games are not the only ones in which Wayne has made it rain on the opposition. So far in a 13-9 season for the Islanders, McKinney has gone for 30 points eight times with a high-water mark of 39, and Coronado needed every one of them in a 52-51 victory over La Jolla. He has four double-doubles this season, including one with 17 points and 10 assists and his best game was a monster double-double 32 points and 17 rebounds that came in a close loss to Serra of San Diego.

McKinney leads the Islanders in every statistical category and is averaging 27.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.8 steals per game.

Berkeley’s Thomas certainly was crushing it in the valley. Photo: Daniel Poulter.

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

Jamir Thomas (Berkeley) Sr.

A few blocks west of the University of California at Berkeley is our destination for the Northern California boys award winner, but it wasn’t in a Yellowjackets home or away West Alameda County – Foothill Conference game that Thomas shined, it was at the Crush in the Valley event at Solano College where he had his performance.

Last Saturday, in the first of seven high school games contested along with four prep school games played that day at the Crush in the Valley, Thomas exploded for 43 points and six steals in a 74-63 victory over Edison of Stockton.

The 43 points was the most scored in any of the 21 games contested over three days of Crush in the Valley competition, and although the Thomas effort came in a high school game it outdid the 41 points scored on Sunday by the top recruit in the nation, senior Jalen Green from Prolific Prep of Napa.

The Yellowjackets needed the Thomas performance to help snap a three-game losing streak that hasn’t been Jamir’s fault.

On Friday, Thomas went for 21 points in a league loss to Piedmont, and last week he had 31 points in a league defeat at the hands of San Leandro.

So far this season, Jamir is averaging 27.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.1 steals per game.

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

Niamey Guillory (Ygnacio Valley, Concord) Soph.

Coming back from a broken finger injury Guillory sustained in October that required surgery and pins has not been easy, but that’s what she has done. Despite getting a late start to the season, Niamey is now being rewarded by being honored as the Northern California Girls Player of the Week.

Last week, in a huge win over Berean Christian of Walnut Creek, the Warriors’ 5-foot-9 sophomore guard had a season-high game in all statistical categories despite not playing the entire contest. Niamey had a double-double 30 points and 11 rebounds with seven assists and eight steals.

On the season, Guillory is averaging around 15 points and five rebounds per game in helping Ygnacio Valley to an 11-7 record overall and now a 4-0 record in the Diablo Athletic League – Valley Division.

Last season as a freshman, Guillory led Ygnacio Valley in scoring at 14.5 points per game for a Warriors’ team that finished 20-7 and 8-2 in league to tie with Benicia and earn a share of the league title for the first time since 1981.

Gabriella Jaquez already is one of the top players in Ventura County as a sophomore. Photo:

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

Gabriella Jaquez (Camarillo) Soph.

Ventura County and the historic coastal city of Camarillo is where we land for this week’s SoCal girls choice, and it’s not the first time the Jaquez family’s name has graced the Cal-Hi Sports web site since Gabriella is the younger sister of current UCLA freshman and former Camarillo standout and scoring machine Jaime Jaquez.

Now, little sis is making a name for herself as a Scorpions’ scorer and glass cleaner and is a big reason Camarillo is 20-3, 6-0 in the Coastal Canyon League, and on the bubble of the girls state rankings.

Last week, in a 79-34 victory over host Simi Valley, the Scorpions’ 5-foot-10 sophomore wing put a sting in the Pioneers after going for a double-double 27 points and 13 rebounds with six steals and three assists.

Stats were not available for the 65-39 victory later in the week over Royal of Simi Valley, but we’re sure Gabriella was a major contributor since on the season she’s had 19 double-doubles and is averaging 19.1 points, 13.5 rebounds and 3.4 steals a game. We’ll still look to honor Gabriella’s Camarillo teammate, Alyssa Marin, a top player in Ventura County as well for the past two years, at a later date.

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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