All-State BB: Best of the Best

Two of those on first team all-state overall are USC-bound Harry Hornery (left) from Mater Dei of Santa Ana and one of state’s best three-point shooters ever — Fresno Clovis West’s Cole Anderson. Photos: Twitter.com & Michael Ford / Clovis Roundup.


Mr. Basketball State Player of the Year Amari Bailey of state power Sierra Canyon and two terrific seniors from the CIF Southern Section’s Baseline League headline the 42nd annual Cal-Hi Sports all-state boys basketball teams. Go inside to see why these 10 have finished their careers as First Team Overall honorees out of the thousands who played in this unique spring season.

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RELATED All-State Boys Basketball All-State Teams:
2nd & 3rd Team Overall/Elite (Gold Club) | Underclass (Gold Club) | All-State by Divisions | All-Time Regional POYs

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2021 CAL-HI SPORTS ALL-STATE
ELITE BOYS BASKETBALL TEAMS

FIRST TEAM OVERALL

G – Cole Anderson (Clovis West, Fresno) 6-3 Sr.
If there were Mr. Basketball finalists this season, Anderson would have likely been one of the candidates, as his numbers and overall success are just too much to ignore. He goes down as one of the state’s better shooters in recent memory and ended his career with 464 career 3-pointers, the reported No. 3 total on the all-time state list. As a freshman, the sharp-shooter made 92, he canned 125 as a sophomore, 137 as a junior and 110 this past season, while shooting no lower than 39.7 % in any of the four seasons. As a senior, he made 110-of-266 3-point field goal attempts (41.4 %), shot 84.3 % from the free throw line and scored 662 points, good for 26.5 ppg for the state’s No. 26 ranked team. Anderson also averaged 3.6 rpg, 2.1 apg and 1.7 spg while leading the team in minutes. This followed up a terrific junior season in which he averaged 27.0 ppg and shot 44.6 % from 3-point range (137-of-307). For his career, Anderson scored 2,730 points, which places him at No. 2 in CIF Central Section history behind Easton Washington Union’s Tre’Von Willis (2,842), while averaging 22.6 ppg in 121 career games. Anderson is headed to UC-Santa Barbara.

G – Amari Bailey (Sierra Canyon, Chatsworth) 6-5 Jr.
This year’s Mr. Basketball choice has played with a plethora of talented players in his three years at Sierra Canyon. This year, however, when he was asked to carry more of the scoring load because of injuries and player defections, Bailey answered the call while still being a defensive force. The CIFSS Open Division co-Player of the Year averaged 29.2 ppg, 9.1 rpg and 6.5 apg for the state’s No. 4 ranked team. Some of his ex-teammates are already in the NBA, some are on the way and if history is indication, so is Bailey. Since the CIF state tournament began in 1982, the juniors that have earned Mr. Basketball honors (John Williams of L.A. Crenshaw, Jason Kidd of Alameda St. Joseph, Tyson Chandler of Compton Dominguez, Aaron Gordon of Archbishop Mitty and Onyeka Okongwu of Chino Hills) have all later played in the NBA.

Emmanuel Callas was one of the most improved players in California despite the hardships of the pandemic over the past 18 months. Photo: SportStarsMag.com.


F – Emmanuel Callas
(Campolindo, Moraga) 6-6 Sr.

Bursting onto the scene as a sophomore, Callas helped Campo to the CIF D2 state crown with 19 points, nine rebounds, two assists and two blocks. He controlled the paint then, but has expanded his game to become a solid threat from the outside and his improved handle and offensive skill took his game to a new level as a senior. After making the All-Bay Area News Group second team as a junior, Callas was named the Player of the Year as a senior and first team all region by NorCalPreps.com after leading Campo to a 15-0 record as NorCal’s top-ranked team. For the season, Callas averaged 15.9 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 2.5 apg, 2.0 spg and also did the little things to help his team win such as taking charges or making the extra pass. What made his season even more impressive is highly-regarded junior teammate Aidan Mahaney played in only six games and even though teams eventually keyed on Emmanuel, they still couldn’t slow him down.

F – Harry Hornery (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) 6-8 Sr.
It was another successful season for the Monarchs, who won their 33rd consecutive league title, and Hornery was a big part of it. Hornery improved his game and shooting range over the past two seasons and hit plenty of big shots when the Monarchs needed it the most. He led the team in scoring (18.6) and rebounds (7.8) and assists (3.3) while stepping up his game in the post-season after fellow all-stater Wilhelm Breidenbach went down with injury. He averaged 24.5 ppg and shot 53% from 3-point range to go along with 8.5 rpg and 3.5 apg as Mater Dei went 27-4 and finished No. 6 in the state. Hornery had 24 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals in the season-ending loss to Etiwanda in the SoCal open playoffs. The Orange County Register Player of the Year, the native of Australia also made the all-CIFSS Open Division team and the L.A. Times All-Star team. He’s headed to USC.

G – Chris Howell (Torrey Pines, San Diego) 6-5 Sr.
Sometimes individual numbers doesn’t do a player justice when it comes to how valuable he was to his team, nor does it display individual talent. That is clearly the case with the St. Mary’s-bound Howell, who did a bit of everything for one of the best teams in CIF San Diego Section history. He can score, pass, rebound, defend, and make the right play and usually did for a 30-1 team that captured the section’s open division title. In helping Torrey Pines become the first San Diego County team to reach the SoCal major division regional final, Howell’s versatility was on display vs. La Verne Damien as he blocked four shots, took four charges and helped limit all-stater Malik Thomas to 10 points, 12 below his season average as the Spartans were held to a season low points in the Falcons’ 63-42 victory. Howell could not only draw charges or guard the ball, he could also defend the interior and make a key play on both ends of the court. For the season, Howell averaged 13.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 5.0 apg and 3.7 spg. For his efforts, he was named the all-San Diego Section Player of the Year.

G – Joseph Hunter (San Joaquin Memorial, Fresno) 6-4 Jr.
It would be a close call between Anderson and Hunter as the Central Section Player of the Year and Hunter’s talent and team success dictates a first 10 slot. He is one of the state’s best all-around scorers, has good rebounding instincts, is a willing passer and one of the best in the state at anticipating passing lanes. For the season, Hunter averaged 24.2 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 4.4 apg and 2.2 steals in leading the Panthers to a spot in the Central Section open championship game. San Joaquin Memorial then took on CIFSS power Harvard-Westlake in the SoCal D1 regional playoffs and after falling behind early, Hunter led his team back with a barrage of long range shots and steals that led to dunks. He scored 17 points in the third period alone and had 31 for the game. The County/Metro League MVP, Hunter continued to up his stock with college recruiters at the Section 7 event in Arizona after the regional finals, including a 44-point effort in one game.

F – Jahmai Mashack (Etiwanda) 6-4 Sr.
What gave Mashack (16.3 ppg, 10 rpg, 5.6 apg) the nod as our State Senior Player of the Year was his playoff performances and what makes it even more impressive is he played in the post-season while he was already taking a full load of online courses at the University of Tennessee. It had to be extra satisfying for him to lead the Eagles to the SoCal open title with a road win over then state No. 1 Torrey Pines because he was part of plenty of heartache in the regional finals during his four-year career. As a freshman, Etiwanda played Sierra Canyon to within one possession after holding a lead in the SoCal open final, his sophomore year Chino Hills scored the final 13 points of the game to win the SoCal D1 final by two points and the one that hurt the most came last season when Sierra Canyon came from 11 points down with two and a half minutes remaining in the SoCal open final. Mashack, one of 10 players selected to the L.A. Times All-Star team, wasn’t going to be denied, as he had 20 points, 14 rebounds and six assists in an avenging win over Sierra Canyon and 21 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists vs. Torrey Pines to finally capture that elusive regional crown. Sure, those were tough pills to swallow, but looking at it another way, he played a big role on teams that played in four regional finals and only one of those teams finished ranked lower than No. 3 in the state, as Etiwanda sported a 102-16 mark in his career.

Damien’s Malik Thomas was a state player of year for his class as a freshman and junior. Photo: @DamienBasketbal1 / Twitter.com.


G – Mikey Mitchell
(Archbishop Mitty, San Jose) 6-3 Sr.

It was a close call, but we’ve considered this cerebral point guard as our NorCal Player of the Year. The powerful West Catholic Athletic League (WCAL) didn’t pick an all-league team but had that happened, this Pepperdine recruit would have been the likely choice for POY. This four-year standout and three-year starter was named player of the year by the San Francisco Chronicle after leading the Monarchs to the WCAL title and Central Coast Section open crown to finish ranked No. 9 in the state. Both those victories came over No. 14 Riordan and Mitchell closed out his career in fine fashion with 27 points, eight rebounds and six assists. On the season, Mitchell averaged 14.7 ppg on a balanced team (four players averaged between 10-14.7 ppg) to go along with 5.1 rpg and 6.4 apg. Coach Tim Kennedy was particularly impressed with his +/- of +15.6 when he was on the floor.

G – K.J. Simpson (Chaminade, West Hills) 6-3 Sr.
Capping an honored-filled four year career, Simpson became ‘Nade’s all-time leading scorer (2,342 points) and according to coach Bryan Cantwell, he’ll hold numerous school records when the books are finalized. Two moments stick out in Simpson’s senior season. One, Chaminade was awful for three quarters in its first league game vs. Harvard-Westlake but he led an amazing comeback that fell a bit short after trailing by as much as 32 points. He then scored 22 points in the avenging win over Harvard-Westlake. Simpson also had a game-high 26 points, including 15 in the fourth quarter, to lead his team to the CIF Southern Section D1 title over Capistrano Valley of Mission Viejo. For the season, Simpson averaged 22.5 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 5.4 apg and 3.1 spg. For his efforts on a 20-4 team that won a share of the Mission League title, he was named league MVP, CIFSS D1 Player of the Year and named to the L.A. Times All-Star team. He’s headed to Colorado.

G -­ Malik Thomas (Damien, La Verne) 6-4 Sr.
Moving up from the second team last season, Thomas also was the state junior player of the year over Long Beach Poly’s Peyton Watson. It should be noted that Watson did not play in enough games for the Jackrabbits to be all-state eligible and neither did a few other prodigious talents and that affected the selections on this year’s elite team. Thomas was in the running for Mr. Basketball honors after averaging 21.8 ppg for a 29-4 team that earned a berth and a win in the SoCal open playoffs. Thomas played in many fall league type games to keep his skill sharp and over his four-year career at Damien improved his shooting and ball-handling skills enough to earn a USC scholarship. He started out his career as the state freshman of the year and last year scored a school record 888 points. This season he added 610 points to finish his career with 2,469 points while averaging 19.8 ppg in 125 career games. Thomas drew raves from opposing coaches for his relentless scoring and made the L.A. Times’ All-Star team for the second consecutive season. He was also selected to the all-CIFSS open division team.

Ronnie Flores is the managing editor of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at ronlocc1977@yahoo.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores

Note: Co-founder Mark Tennis contributed to this report.


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