Boys BB: More State Players of the Year

State Junior of the Year Trent Perry (left) is shown driving the lane for Harvard-Westlake during CIF Open Division state final. At right, State Sophomore of the Year Tounde Yessoufou from St. Joseph of Santa Maria is shown getting ready to play CIF Central Section D1 final. Photos: Samuel Stringer / Cal-Hi Sports &

Here’s the place to see the Cal-Hi Sports 2023 honorees for seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen and for each CIF division with Open & D1 combined. CIF Open Division champion Harvard-Westlake gets its first major winner with point guard Trent Perry landing State Junior of the Year selection. All of the CIF state champions from D2, D3, D4 and D5 have players of the year and one of these state players of the year is listed twice.

For official writeup on the 2023 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. Stay tuned for the upcoming release of the 44th annual Cal-Hi Sports All-State Teams. Here is the complete list of our boys basketball individual players of the year for the 2022-23 season:

(Note: For this year, we have again considered the Open Division and Division I to be a single category. Cal-Hi Sports editor Mark Tennis did the writeups for juniors, D2 and D3. Managing editor Ronnie Flores did the others.)

Jared McCain (Centennial, Corona) 6-3 G

Unlike last year’s honoree in this division, McCain entered high school with plenty of fan-fare and delivered each season. His teammate and last year’s honoree in this division, Donovan Dent, started out on the freshman team, but what both Centennial guards do have in common is they work tirelessly on their craft.

McCain was first team all-state underclass each season and is a two-time overall all-state choice. McCain has gained tremendous popularity through social media similar to Sierra Canyon’s Bronny James and San Ysidro’s Mikey Willams and is the most accomplished player of the well-known trio. Against national level competition, McCain was a big reason why Centennial was 111-12 over his career with a final overall state ranking no lower than No. 6.

The Duke-signee has impacted as many big-time games over four years as much as some of the state’s best overall players since the turn of the century.

McCain is this division’s fifth honoree from the greater Inland Empire region in the last eight years. NBA guard Lonzo Ball was a junior when this run of Inland Empire dominance began. The last time the honoree in this division was not named Mr. Basketball, the choice was Ivan Rabb of D3 Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland.

Perry was part of a terrific backcourt for Harvard-Westlake along with senior wing Brady Dunlap. Photo:

Trent Perry
(Harvard-Westlake, Studio City) 6-4 PG

At the start of the season, and based on various Class of 2024 player rankings, the expected top two candidates for this honor were 2022 State Sophomore of the Year Jamari Phillips of Modesto Christian and guard Isaiah Elohim from Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth. Even if Phillips had not left for a prep school in Arizona and Elohim had not suffered an injury-plagued season, it’s very likely that Perry still may have gotten this top junior honor. In fact, the way he was playing at the end of the season in leading the Wolverines as a floor general it could be argued that Perry could have been Mr. Basketball.

Here’s what Trent did in three huge performances late in the season: 24 pts vs eventual D1 state champion Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks in the title game of the Mission League tourney; 25 pts and perfect shooting from the field in a 80-61 win over Centennial of Corona in the CIF SoCal Open Division final that knocked out the defending state champions; and then 16 pts with 10 assists and eight rebounds in the 76-65 triumph over St. Joseph of Santa Maria in the CIF Open Division state final. Trent’s 10 assists also set a record for a CIF Open Division state final, although that division has been played since only 2013. The CIF D1 state record is 14 assists.

Perry was not the leading scorer for the 33-2 Wolverines, but his season averages of 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists were nonetheless impressive considering the other teams in the Mission League. It was therefore not surprising that he was named the Mission League MVP shortly after the state championships. Perry’s development over the course of the season into an even more elite-level point guard than he already looked at the start of the season also resulted in him gaining an official offer in February from UCLA.

Harvard-Westlake is a school with an impressive boys basketball tradition, but Trent is the school’s first-ever State Junior of the Year. The only other state players of the year that the Wolverines have had is former NBA player Jason Collins, who was back-to-back for D3 in 1996 and 1997, plus Alex Stephenson for 2006 and Bryce Taylor for 2003 (both D3 as well). Harvard-Westlake head coach David Rebibo also was State Coach of the Year for the 2020 season.

Last 17 State Juniors of the Year): 2022 Jared McCain (Corona Centennial); 2021 Amari Bailey (Chatsworth Sierra Canyon); 2020 Malik Thomas (La Verne Damien); 2019 Evan Mobley (Temecula Rancho Christian); 2018 Onyeka Okongwu (Chino Hills); 2017 Marvin Bagley (Chatsworth Sierra Canyon); 2016 Brandon McCoy (San Diego Cathedral Catholic); 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).

Yessoufou gained fame as a freshman for breaking a backboard on a dunk. Photo: Joe Bailey / Santa Maria Times.

Tounde Yessoufou (St. Joseph, Santa Maria)

If this powerful athlete didn’t quite have a season like he did last year as a freshman, nobody would have held it against him and it wouldn’t have meant he didn’t have a fine 10th grade campaign. However, the native of Benin actually expanded his game and was even more spectacular as a sophomore than he was as a freshman.

Tounde also played for a club that went further in the playoffs than last year when St. Joe’s finished ranked No. 17 in the state. In fact, if Yessoufou had a monster CIF state final vs. Harvard-Westlake, the super soph would have been right in the thick of the Mr. Basketball race. He’s that good and this season averaged 27.8 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 2.9 apg, 3.7 spg, and 1.3 bpg for the NorCal open champions.

Those totals are similar to last season (26.4 ppg, 12.3 rpg, 2.1 spg, 2.9 bpg) but Yessoufou expanded his perimeter game with better handling and deeper perimeter shooting while not compromising his powerful play around the basket on a better team.

Last year’s choice in this class, Jamari Phillips of Modesto Christian, transferred out but the Crusaders still had a terrific team and Yessoufou made a big impact in both games against that club. He had 27 points in each contest, including a 27-point, 10-rebound performance in the NorCal open final victory.

Already a two-time Mountain League MVP, Yessoufou led the Knights to the state’s No. 9 ranking and to a 28-7 mark and unbeaten record vs. CIF Central Section foes. Yessoufou is the first choice among sophomores from a CIF Central Section program since the Houston Rockets’ Jalen Green at San Joaquin Memorial in 2018. He is the second ever sophomore choice from Santa Barbara County, joining Bruce Coldren of Goleta Dos Pueblos in 1970. Coldren went on to play at Oregon and Yessoufou will have his choice of top colleges after his career at St. Joe’s.

Last 14 State Sophomores of the Year: 2022 Jamari Phillips (Modesto Christian); 2021 Kylan Boswell (Corona Centennial); 2020 Amari Bailey (Chatsworth Sierra Canyon); 2019 Devin Askew (Santa Ana Mater Dei); 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).

Jason Crowe Sr. & Jason Crowe Jr. definitely enjoyed Junior’s historic freshman season at Lynwood. Photo: Dinos Trigonis.

Jason Crowe Jr. (Lynwood) 6-4 G

There have been freshmen who have scored tons of points before, but nothing close to what Jason did this season for the Knights.

Ironically, his single-season point total is also No. 3 on the all-time state list for any class or division behind a future NBA and MLB player. For a team that finished 27-11 (the freshman missed two games), Crowe scored 1,295 points in 36 games, to finish with averages of 36 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 5.4 apg, 3.5 spg.

Crowe had a historic season any way you look at it, but when it comes to top honors among freshmen, this state pick wasn’t an easy slam dunk. That’s because Santa Ana Mater Dei’s Brannon Martinsen deserved serious consideration and would have been a fine choice in many seasons. Mater Dei was a state Top 20 ranked team for the whole season and battling for a CIF Southern Section Open Division berth and Martinsen averaged 12.4 ppg (second on team) and 4.6 rpg against better overall competition Crow faced.

From a pure talent standpoint, however, Crowe has shown he’s on the top tier of the state’s freshman in travel ball and grassroots events and is being rewarded for the sheer production and historic season he had.

The CIFSS D5AA Player of the Year is the first D5 choice from the CIF Southern Section since Jordan Starr from Santa Clarita Christian in 2018 and just the second ever freshman to earn divisional state player of the year honors, following Mikey Williams of San Ysidro in IV in 2019-20. Crowe also is the first choice among freshmen from the Long Beach/Southeast region of L.A. County since Long Beach Poly’s Roschon Prince in 2010.

The only player of the year honoree from Lynwood prior to Crowe was the late Earnest Killum in 1990. He was the D1 State Player of the Year that season (the Mr. Basketball was Ed O’Bannon from D2 Lakewood Artesia) and passed away in 1992 from an acute stroke.

Last 14 State Freshman Players of the Year: 2022 Tounde Yessoufou (Santa Maria St. Joseph); 2021 Isaiah Elohim (Northridge Heritage Christian); 2020 Mikey Williams (San Ysidro); 2019 Aidan Mahaney (Moraga Campolindo); 2018 Malik Thomas (La Verne Damien); 2017 Kyree Walker (Hayward Moreau Catholic); 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).

Mike Davis is shown with his younger brother Dre Davis (junior) after one of team’s regional playoff wins. Photo:

Mike Davis Jr. (San Joaquin Memorial, Fresno) 6-7 Sr.

There’s a rather impressive group of players from San Joaquin Memorial that includes NBA brothers Brook and Robin Lopez, emerging NBA superstar Jalen Green along with State Players of the Year Roscoe and Cliff Pondexter (back-to-back for 1971 and 1972). For various reasons, due to the categories they were in, not all of those players have been able to be named as a state player of the year. With the Panthers being in the D2 state playoffs and winning their first-ever CIF state title and with Davis leading the way, there was nothing preventing him to becoming an easy choice in this category.

Green was the State Sophomore of the Year in 2018 after narrowly missing out in 2017 as a freshman (don’t remind us). The Pondexter brothers also are listed as D3 players of the year twice. Quincy Pondexter is on the list as well for being D4 player of the year in 2006. Davis this year also joins Rich Turney of SJM, who is considered the D3 player of the year for 1960.

Mike’s first major eye-opening performance of the season came in January at the MLK Classic played at De La Salle of Concord. He went for 25 points and had seven rebounds, six assists and four steals in a win over Moreau Catholic of Hayward. Some of his outings in the CIF NorCal regional playoffs also were impressive: 21 of 29 points in the second half of a 72-59 victory against California of San Ramon; and 25 points in the overtime win over Vanden of Fairfield.

In the CIF D2 state final, Davis led the Panthers in scoring (17 points) and rebounds (14). They rallied in the second half to post a 58-47 triumph over Pacifica Christian of Newport Beach. It was their first-ever CIF state title, which is something obviously that none of the other state players of the year at the school were able to get.

Going over San Joaquin Memorial’s career records also shows the impact that Davis has made at the school. He not only ranks among the best for scoring with 1,653 points, but also is near the top for rebounds with 1,074.

Davis remains unsigned as a D1 college prospect, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be someday soon being heard from playing for a D1 college program.

Last 15 State D2 Players of the Year: 2022 Ameere Britton (Elk Grove); 2021 Brenton Knapper (Ontario Colony); 2020 Andre Henry (La Canada St. Francis); 2019 Jaime Jaquez (Camarillo); 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).

Money Williams had the net around his neck and got to hold CIF state title trophy after Oakland High’s win over Buena of Ventura. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Money Williams (Oakland) 6-3 Sr.

Saying that Money is the first-ever State Player of the Year from Oakland High is going to create an obvious question. What about Damian Lillard? Yes, the NBA superstar is from the same school, but remember that when Lillard was there that was when Oakland High and the rest of the Oakland Athletic League were all viewed as D1 by the CIF and by us. Lillard was an all-state player (third team overall as a senior), but he wasn’t Mr. Basketball. Williams led the Wildcats to the D3 state title and thus was a more obvious choice for D3 player of the year.

In selecting Williams, however, a mention also has to made about Oakland Tech senior guard Ahmaree Muhammad. He already has been named the OAL player of the year and deservedly so based on he and his team getting three earlier wins (two in league games, another in the section final) over Williams and the Wildcats. Still, in the end, Williams was the one with the CIF state title and he also had 31 points to lead all scorers in one of those losses to Tech.

Williams, who has a scholarship to the University of Montana, was like all of our divisional state players of the year in that they saved the best for last. After the third loss to Tech in the section title game, Money led the way with 24 points and eight rebounds in a regional victory vs Ponderosa of Shingle Springs. He had 24 and eight again in the second round vs Carlmont of Belmont, then it was 23 points, six rebounds and seven assists in a regional semifinal victory over The King’s Academy of Sunnyvale.

In the D3 NorCal championship that sizzled with excitement at Laney College, the Wildcats finally got over their Oakland Tech hump and defeated the Bulldogs, 77-61. Williams racked up 25 points in that one.

The state final vs Buena of Ventura turned into a one-sided affair in the second half with Oakland pulling away for a 59-43 triumph. Money had game-highs of 22 points and nine rebounds.

For the season, Williams posted averages of 17.4 points. 5.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.

Last 16 State D3 Players of the Year: 2022 Giovanni Goree (Calabasas Viewpoint); 2021 Sheldon Grant (San Bernardino Aquinas); 2020 Austin Patterson (Sonora); 2019 Ryan Langborg (La Jolla Country Day); 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).

Micah Ballew scored more than 1,500 points during his seasons at Alemany (Mission Hills) and Valencia. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Mikah Ballew (Valencia) 6-4 Sr.

Last year’s winner was Johny Dan of Valley Torah and this year we stay in the greater San Fernando Valley to honor a CIF state champion.

Valencia is actually in the Santa Clarita Valley and Ballew’s game is fast-growing just as is that region of Southern California. After transferring over from Alemany of Mission Hills, where he was already a terrific scorer, Ballew continued to punish defenders with his frame and physical play, but added so much more for a championship team.

The big wing guard improved his overall defense and was locked in on both ends of the floor for a team that captured the CIF Southern Section D4AA title with a 30-point, 3-rebound, 3-assist performance in a 65-62 victory over St. Bonaventure of Ventura. The Vikings defeated the Seraphs once again on their way to capturing the CIF D4 state crown, and even though he didn’t have as big an outing in the second contest, his play was instrumental in Valencia’s state title run.

Ballew had 26 points in the regional semifinal win over Long Beach Jordan and 25 points in the state title game win over Half Moon Bay. On the season, the strongman averaged 20 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.5 apg and 2.1 spg for a 27-10 club that actually finished No. 37 in the overall state rankings despite being in D4 for the regional. Ballew also was named CIFSS D4AA Player of the Year and scored over 1,500 points in his high school career (counting his years at Alemany). He is the first ever choice from the Santa Clarita Valley in D4 and the 13th choice from the Southern Section since 2000. Micah has been unsigned, but just committed to the University of Portland.

Last 15 State D4 Players of the Year: 2022 Johny Dan (Valley Village Valley Torah); 2021 Wayne McKinney (Coronado); 2020 Mikey Williams (San Ysidro); 2019 Ben Knight (San Francisco Mission); 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).

Jason Crowe Jr. (Lynwood) 6-4 Fr.

Yes, there is one state player of the year this season who has honors in two separate categories. For Crowe Jr., he’s also the State Freshman of the Year.

Similar to D4, the pick in D5 wasn’t going to be so difficult if the top seed went on to win the CIF state crown. The Wood ended up rolling to the state title with a 89-58 win over Sierra of Tollhouse and it was apparent that the freshman guard was a cut above not only any underclassmen in that game, but among all players (even seniors) in this division.

Fans at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento were treated to what scouts, sportswriters and fans witnessed all season long in Southeast L.A.: an explosive lefty who gets downhill and can shoot with the range of a seasoned professional player. Crowe made an NBA range 3-pointer on the big court, finished around the rim from various angles and when it was all said and done, his 36 points tied the CIF D5 state championship game record and tied for No. 3 in any division.

For more on the history of Lynwood’s state players of the year, see the freshman writeup.

Last 13 State D5 Players of the Year: 2022 Brandon Lum (San Francisco Stuart Hall); 2021 Wayne Hampton (San Diego Hoover); 2020 Grant Tull (Gridley); 2019 Edward Turner (Bakersfield Foothill); 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) .

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

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