NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s honorees are Sharon Nejad (left) from Atherton Menlo School & Andrew Gill from Harbor City Narbonne. Photos: @MenloKnights & @Narbonne Hoops /

It’s a CIF Central Coast Section sweep for our two NorCal headline players in boys and girls basketball. For Southern California, it’s a trip down 101 from the S.F. peninsula to Santa Barbara and then further south to the harbor area of Los Angeles.

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Note: For these honors, we consider CIF Central Section players for Northern California. We also remind readers that for all of our Player of the Week features in all sports, girls and boys, we use it to uncover hidden talent that doesn’t always make the limelight, and for tracking entries into the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book. To nominate anyone, email



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

Sharon Nejad (Menlo School, Atherton) Sr.

Our destination in search of the Northern California Girls Basketball Player of the Week takes us to the lower Peninsula portion of the CIF Central Coast Section. We land a couple of blocks west of the El Camino Real at a school with a rich athletic tradition including girls basketball where the Knights have won four CIF state championships under former multi-sport star alum and head coach John Paye, who went on to star at quarterback for Stanford and then had a short NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers.

The fourth CIF state championship came the last year the event was held. In 2019, when Nejad was a freshman, she had a double-double 12 points and 10 rebounds in a Division II 70-63 victory over Rolling Hills Prep of San Pedro.

The Menlo story, what Nejad did back in 2019, and what she’s done since is interesting history since she’s been an integral part of the Menlo game plan, but we’re honoring her for what she did last week.

The 6-foot center started off on Tuesday with a huge double-double 31 points and 16 rebounds in a 58-49 non-league victory over Harker of San Jose. On Friday, Nejad came back with another double-double 24 points and 16 rebounds with four blocks in a 49-36 West Bay Athletic League – Foothill Division win over Notre Dame of Belmont.

Nejad missed some games early in the season and the last two games stats haven’t been reported, but doing the arithmetic we calculate her averages at a team-leading 14.2 points and 13.3 rebounds per game. Nejad and the Knights also won a Tuesday contest this week vs. Crystal Springs Upland.

Including first game of this week, Riordan’s King-Njhsanni Wilhite has had back-to-back-to-back outings of 34, 35 and 41 points. Photo:

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

King-Njhsanni Wilhite
(Archbishop Riordan, San Francisco) Jr.

The Ingleside District directly across the street from City College of San Francisco is where we find our Northern California Boys Basketball Player of the Week and at Riordan we find a player named King who recently has been sitting on the throne for West Catholic Athletic League scorers.

Njhsanni-Wilhite started last week right with a 34-point effort in a 76-68 overtime win at Serra in San Mateo. Two days later in the home-and-home rematch, the Padres sort of bottled him up but Wilhite still had over half the Crusaders points after going for 21 in a 41-38 home loss.

On Saturday, the King was really in the swing with a 35-point effort in a 71-58 victory over St. Ignatius for Riordan’s sixth-straight win over its cross-town rivals. In that game, Wilhite tied a school record for made free-throws after going 15-of-16 from the charity stripe.

Monday games almost always count in the current rankings but not usually for Athlete of the Week features other than on a few occasions including MLK Day, so the King’s performance on Monday is technically not part of the reason he’s being honored. But we have to tell you, in an 80-64 victory over visiting crosstown rival Sacred Heart Cathedral, Wilhite, a three-year standout starter, was flying higher than a kite after going for 41 points (school record in a league game) with seven three-pointers.

Wilhite currently has offers from Washington State and San Jose State and more should be coming.

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

Andrew Gill (Narbonne, Harbor City) Sr.

For our Southern California Boys Basketball Player of the Week we find ourselves right off the Pacific Coast Highway just about half way between Torrance and Long Beach in Harbor City. At Narbonne we find a 6-foot senior guard named Gill who recently has been giving Gauchos fans a big thrill.

Last week, in a 76-62 victory over Rancho Dominguez of nearby Long Beach, Andrew burned the nets for 41 points with eight three-pointers plus eight rebounds, four steals and three assists.

Narbonne does not report stats but a quick look at its Twitter feed shows this was not just a one time performance for Gill. The apparent leader of the 12-9 Gauchos was named the team’s player of the game after hitting some clutch shots down the stretch of a 44-40 victory over Los Angeles Hamilton two weeks ago, and he led the way with 26 points in a 58-50 victory over Fairfax (Los Angeles) three weeks ago.

Narbonne has a game on Wednesday this week vs. San Pedro. Another Gill on the team’s roster is junior guard Christian, who also has led the team in scoring in some of the games.

Elle Stone was an athlete of the week in Santa Barbara after her first two varsity games. Photo:

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

Elle Stone (Santa Barbara) Fr.

The Gold Coast and the historic city of Santa Barbara is where we land in search of our Southern California Girls Basketball Player of the Week.

The reality is we didn’t have to really search since the nomination of Stone came from Cal-Hi Sports managing editor and national boys basketball guru and BallIsLife grass roots editor Ronnie Flores. He has a lot of friends in Santa Barbara and it was one of them that directed his attention to Stone.

We’ve stated this many times before, and that is we usually don’t honor very many freshmen, not because we don’t want to, but because not a lot of them are doing what Elle did in a recent performance.

In a game last week against Lompoc the 5-foot-9 wing drained the nets for 37 points (15-of-21 from field) and dished out eight assists, plus she had nine rebounds and blocked three shots. That means Stone had a hand in 53 of the Dons points and between her offense and defense they needed every bit of her production in a 68-63 victory.

Santa Barbara doesn’t post stats but according to local media her previous high water mark this season was 27 points and Flores’ sources report she’s averaging around 19 points a game and on a path to set the school’s freshman scoring record. Santa Barbara’s result from a Tuesday game this week vs. Cabrillo of Lompoc was not reported.

Stone’s first two varsity outings were both 27-point totals, which made her the first girls basketball weekly honoree this season by the Santa Barbara Round Table, a local luncheon program that goes back in the area for many years.

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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