After a year in 2021 in which the Phoenix Suns did not have a player from a California high school, both the Golden State Warriors & Boston Celtics for 2022 each have at least one. The Warriors, of course, have a player who is headed to the Hall of Fame and who was inspirational in his comeback from two devastating injuries. All three of the players for 2022 were seen in high school by Cal-Hi Sports, but not surprising since two were in CIF state finals and the other was in a NorCal final.
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Malik Fitts (Damien, La Verne)
When the current NBA season began, Malik may not have envisioned being on a roster for a team in the NBA Finals. However, he got a shot with the Celtics on a 10-day contract in February, signed another 10-day contract after that and got one for two years back on March 15. Malik probably won’t play much during the NBA Finals, but he’s there and he’s made it into the league. At Damien in 2015, he averaged 16 ppg and eight rebounds per game as the Spartans won their first CIF state title with a 70-57 triumph over Campolindo of Moraga in D3. Fitts had nine points in that game. He later went to a prep school and then South Florida for college.
Klay Thompson (Santa Margarita, Rancho SM)
Regarded as one of the greatest shooters in NBA history, Thompson is playing in his sixth NBA Final, which puts him on the all-time list, but is only half of the total of California’s Bill Russell (Oakland McClymonds). The rest of the list includes Michael Cooper of Pasadena with eight, KC Jones of San Francisco Commerce with eight, Dennis Johnson of Compton Dominguez with six and Kurt Rambis of Cupertino with six. That fifth NBA Finals appearance for Thompson is one he’d like to forget as he suffered a torn achilles injury that caused him to miss the 2020 season. He then missed the 2021 season with a torn ACL. At Santa Margarita, Thompson had one of the best CIF state finals performances ever with 37 points and seven three-pointers when the Eagles (30-2) defeated Sacramento, 72-55, in the 2008 D3 championship.
Juan Toscano-Anderson (Castro Valley)
He wasn’t with the Warriors when they last played in the NBA Finals in 2019, but has made many in the Bay Area happy with his rise to be on the roster and a key contributor. Known as Juan Anderson at Castro Valley, he was the team’s second leading scorer in 2011 for a group that seemed poised to get to the 2011 CIF D1 state title, but lost in the NorCal final to a De La Salle (Concord) squad that the Trojans had defeated only a few weeks earlier. Anderson had 17 points in a NorCal playoff win over Bishop O’Dowd. He averaged 17.4 ppg. Teammate Roderick Bobbitt was the team’s leading scorer at more than 19 ppg.