Boys BB: More State Players of the Year

State D4 Player of the Year Alijah Arenas of Chatsworth (left) looks to score during CIF state finals’ loss to Monterey. At right, State Sophomore of the Year Brandon McCoy of St. John Bosco blocks a shot during CIF D1 state finals’ win vs San Ramon Valley. Photos: Willie Eashman.

Here’s where to go to see the Cal-Hi Sports 2024 top honorees for juniors, sophomores and freshmen and for each CIF division with Open & D1 combined. Three different sophomores have collected a player of the year honor since two of them have been chosen for their CIF divisions.

For official writeup on the 2024 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 45th annual Cal-Hi Sports All-State Teams. Here is the complete list of our boys basketball individual players of the year for the 2023-24 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 D2, D3, D4 & D5. Managing editor Ronnie Flores did the others.)

Trent Perry (Harvard-Westlake, North Hollywood) 6-4 G

This year’s Mr. Basketball choice had quite an impressive career resume, even though his freshman season and introduction to the state’s media and scouts as a well-known middle school player got delayed because of COVID-19. The four players graded ahead of Perry in our initial 2024 Top 25 all transferred at least once or moved out of state, but he kept developing and eventually emerged as a two-time all-state choice.

In fact, Perry was good enough last year to be seriously considered for Mr. Basketball honors as a junior. His penchant for clutch play didn’t just start this season, either, as he had 24 points in the 2023 Mission League title game vs. Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks, didn’t miss a shot and had 25 points in the SoCal open final win over Corona Centennial and an open division record 10 assists in the CIF state final vs. Santa Maria St. Joseph to go along with 16 points and eight rebounds.

This season’s CIFSS Open Division Player of the Year is a two-time Mission League Player of the Year and led Harvard-Westlake to a 108-15 mark against tough competition in his four years on the varsity, including two CIF open crowns.

The McDonald’s All-American recently re-opened his recruitment after USC head coach Andy Enfield left for SMU.

Brayden Burries played the fifth game of his junior season at the NorCal Tip-Off Classic held in Dublin. Photo: Willie Eashman.

Brayden Burries (Roosevelt, Eastvale) 6-5 G

After earning freshman all-state honors as a ninth grader, Burries firmly established himself as one of the best players in his class in the West Region and there was plenty of anticipation for his sophomore campaign at Poly of Riverside. He wasn’t able to play for the Bears, however, due to administration eligibility issues and headed to Roosevelt with classmate Isaac Williamson.

Instead of sulking for having to sit out his sophomore campaign, Burries got stonger and better and it all paid off as an 11th grader. On a talented team expected to compete for Big VIII League and CIF Southern Section titles, Burries delivered, and then some. He was named Most Outstanding Player of The Classic at Damien after leading the Mustangs to the title over St. John Bosco of Bellflower. He then went for 31 points in the league title game where Roosevelt ended Corona Centennial’s 70-game league winning streak after losing to the Huskies during the regular season.

Burries ended up leading his team to the CIFSS and SoCal open championship games, where Roosevelt lost both to preseason state No. 1 Harvard-Westlake. Burries, who can score from the outside, dominate around the basket and is a powerful rebounder, finished the season averaging 24.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 3.5 apg and 2.7 apg a 31-4 outfit that finished ranked No. 2 in the state.

His main competition for this honor came from Tounde Yessoufou of Santa Maria St. Joseph, the honoree in this class as a sophomore and freshman. The two players matched up twice this season, in a January showcase game and in the SoCal open semifinals. In the first meeting in which we evaluated with a first row seat, Burries was a bit more efficient (10-16 FG, 26 points) than Yessoufou (10-26 FG, 27 points) but in the game that mattered, it was Burries who gained the big advantage as part of a terrific defensive effort by his team to limit the St. Joseph star to 13 points while he netted 29.

The all-CIFSS open choice and the Big VIII’s best player is Roosevelt’s first POY honoree ever in any class and the eighth consecutive selection from the CIF Southern Section.

Last 18 State Juniors of the Year: 2023 Trent Perry (Studio City Harvard-Westlake); 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).

Brandon McCoy Jr. (St. John Bosco, Bellflower) 6-4 G

As a freshman, this talented young man who grew up in the Bay Area wasn’t really considered for top honors among ninth graders because he only played 15 games after joining the Braves in the second semester of the school year. That’s not the case now.

McCoy made a big impact for Bosco in its run to the 2023 Trinity League title and CIFSS open title game with his big-play ability on both ends of the floor. It was evident he was a special talent and that he would be a serious candidate for top honors among tenth-graders in one of the best California classes to come down the pike in a long time.

There is some other serious top-end talent in this class and plenty of competition for McCoy, particularly from Lynwood’s Jason Crowe, last year’s top freshman. Crowe had another fantastic season and is on track to become the state’s all-time leading scorer, but Lynwood didn’t qualify for the regional playoffs and that’s where McCoy did his best work after Mater Dei of Santa Ana won the league crown.

Even as a sophomore, McCoy is the best vertical athlete in California and one of the state’s most explosive players around the rim in quite some time, but he improved his play-making and his talented teammates worked better together to end up as CIF D1 state champs, including a 71-68 overtime victory over the Monarchs in the SoCal D1 final.

In the regional playoffs, this high-flying shooting guard averaged 19.7 ppg and 11 rpg and wowed the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento with a few highlight plays en route to 18 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots in the CIF D1 state final victory over San Ramon Valley of Danville.

For the season, McCoy averaged 18.6 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.4 apg, 2.5 spg and 1.5 bpg for the state’s No. 3 ranked team. Numbers, however, don’t completely tell the story of a player whose ability can turn around a game or demoralize opponents who some recruiting experts feel is the No. 1 player nationally in the 2026 class. He was co-Trinity League Player of the Year with fellow sophomore Brannon Martinsen of Mater Dei, was all-CIFSS open division, and is the first ever player from the Braves to earn State Player of the Year in any class. Brothers Isaac and Daniel Hamilton were divisional state players of the year from Bosco for 2013 (D3) and 2014 (D2).

Last 15 State Sophomores of the Year: 2023 Tounde Yessoufou (Santa Maria St. Joseph); 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).

Gene Roebuck just had too many explosive outings against top competition to be denied top frosh honor. Photo: The Hoop Spill /

Gene Roebuck (La Mirada) 6-5 G

As a whole, this year’s freshman class doesn’t quite have as many standouts on quality teams nor did it make the big splash the ballyhooed 2026 class did at the same time last season, but Roebuck is an exception and would be a standout in any class.

There were a couple of other talented first year players that turned heads and will be closely watched by college coaches in the coming years, particularly Temecula Valley’s Jeremiah Profit and San Gabriel Academy’s Mahamodou Diop. Profit actually led the Golden Bears to their first ever CIF Southern Section title (4AA) and was named the division’s player of the year. From a production and skill level standpoint vs. top-notch competition, however, Roebuck gets the nod.

In fact, digging deeper into Roebuck’s resume it’s not hard at all to honor this wing guard who made a big splash right away for the Mats. In fact, he’s far and away the most productive ninth-grader among teams that finished in the Cal-Hi Sports Final Top 40 rankings. He averaged 29 ppg in the top division at The Classic at Damien tournament, including 44 against NorCal open participant Branson of Ross. Roebuck also had a 25-point performance vs. SoCal open entrant St. Pius X of Downey and 33 points vs. eventual D1 state champ St. John Bosco of Bellflower.

For the season, the high-scoring wing guard averaged 24.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.6 apg and 1.1 spg for the state’s No. 25 ranked team. On a team that returned overall all-state candidate Julien Gomez, it was quite an impressive freshman debut for Roebuck, who led the Mats to an unbeaten run in the Gateway League and was named league MVP in the process while also earning all-CIFSS D1 honors. He’s the second consecutive choice from the Long Beach/Southeast region of L.A. County for this honor, following Lynwood’s Jason Crowe last season.

Last 15 State Freshman Players of the Year: 2023 Jason Crowe Jr. (Lynwood); 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).

ArDarius Grayson (Oakland Tech) 6-0 Jr.

Big plays by ArDarius weren’t needed when the Bulldogs rolled over Centennial of Bakersfield last month, 79-55, to win the CIF D2 state title. He did make them throughout the season and he had plenty of other impressive outings to gain a divisional state player of the year selection.

For almost all of Oakland Tech’s long history, the school has been D1 in basketball so there haven’t been very many state player of the year honors. Grayson is the first to gain a state player of the year honor in any division since the first ones went out in 1980. There are two from Tech, however, on the all-time Mr. Basketball list — Don Lofgren for 1946 and Hall of Famer Jim Pollard for 1939.

Grayson had 20 points in the state final to match the same total as teammate Caleb Rollins, but he also had 12 rebounds, seven assists and five steals. ArDarius already has been named Oakland Athletic League Player of the Year.

Some of those big plays that Grayson did make this season included a blocked shot with 39 seconds left in overtime vs Oakland High with the NorCal title on the line plus a three-pointer in the final seconds of a win vs Oakland that clinched the OAL crown. Oakland High’s Money Williams was the D3 state player of the year last season.

Grayson averaged 20 points this season to go with six assists, six rebounds and 2.5 steals per game. He had a season-high of 31 points against Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland.

It was only at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year when ArDarius legally changed his last name from Gates to Grayson. He now shares the same last name as his grandfather, Victor Grayson, who has been raising ArDarius and three other siblings since they were very young.

Last 16 State D2 Players of the Year: 2023 Mike Davis Jr. (Fresno San Joaquin Memorial); 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).

ArDarius Grayson of Oakland Tech goes up for a scoop lay-up against the defense of Centennial’s Jaxton Santiago. Photo: Willie Eashman.

Jason Crowe Jr. (Lynwood) 6-3 Soph.

This is the second straight year that Crowe Jr. has earned a state player of the year selection. Last year, though, he had two, which was for freshmen and for CIF Division V. This year, while the sophomore honor was seized by St. John Bosco’s Brandon McCoy, Jason has once again been honored for a CIF division.

The state’s leading scorer at 37.4 ppg, Lynwood went out in the CIF Southern Section D3A playoffs to Alemany of Mission Hills, 77-71, and since Alemany went on to win the CIF D3 state title, then Crowe and Lynwood clearly also would be D3. He had 42 points in that game. Crowe had 50 points or more in a game three times, including a season high of 54 in a win vs Firebaugh of Lynwood.

In just two seasons, Crowe’s scoring has become the stuff of legend. He would have set an all-time state sophomore record this season with 1,084 points in 29 games, but there was another sophomore who scored more points than him (see below). The previous record of 1,010 was set in 2002 by DeMarcus Nelson of Sacramento Sheldon. Crowe set the state freshman record last year and moved to No. 3 all-time with 1,296 points in 36 games. The extra games are because Lynwood was in D5 and went all the way to the CIF state title.

The funny part is that if Jason scores the same total of points next season as he did this season then he’d already break the all-time state record record of 3,462 set in 2004 by DeMarcus Nelson before his junior season is done. That’s with an entire senior season beyond that still to go. His father, Jason Crowe Sr., has been Jason’s coach at Lynwood for both seasons.

Last 17 State D3 Players of the Year: 2023 Money Williams (Oakland); 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).

There is good chance that after the 2025-26 season that Alijah Arenas (left) and Jason Crowe Jr. (right) will end their prep careers as the No. 2 and No. 1 scorers in California history. Photo:

Alijah Arenas (Chatsworth) 6-4 Soph.

Another member of California’s loaded Class of 2026 is another of the CIF divisional state players of the year. This one for D4, however, is much easier to explain than Jason Crowe Jr. of Lynwood for D3 since Arenas played in the CIF D4 state championship game and although his team lost, 74-66, to Monterey, it was an epic performance by the 6-foot-4 guard.

Arenas not only set the CIF D4 state championship game record with 44 points vs the Toreadores, but he also moved to No. 2 on the all-time state list for all divisions combined. The only outing higher has been 64 points by Glendora’s Tracy Murray in the 1989 CIF D2 championship. Murray’s team didn’t win on that day, either.

If Arenas stays on his present path, he could easily surpass the listed state career scoring record of Sacramento Sheldon’s DeMarcus Nelson set in 2004 but he’s about 300 points behind Crowe. Alijah, who is the son of former NBA standout Gilbert Arenas, followed up the 817 points he had as a freshman in 27 games last year with 1,154 points in 35 games this season. That is a new state sophomore scoring record. Nelson had the previous record of 1,010, which also was surpassed this season by Crowe (1,084).

For the season, Alijah knocked down 31.8 ppg to go with 8.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists. He had a season high of 53 points in a 74-69 victory over Washington Prep of Los Angeles in the CIF D4 regional playoffs. He also had 38 points in a 90-76 non-league loss to Lynwood. He also is the younger brother of Sierra Canyon girls basketball standout Izela Arenas.

Last 16 State D4 Players of the Year: 2023 Mikah Ballew (Valencia); 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).

Athenian’s Evan Lucas goes up for a shot during CIF D5 state championship. Photo: Willie Eashman / Cal-Hi Sports.

Evan Lucas (Athenian, Danville) 6-3 Sr.

This is a similar selection to the one from two years ago when Brandon Lum of San Francisco Stuart Hall led that team to the CIF D5 state title. Evan plays at a school that is from the same league as Stuart Hall, but from Bay Counties East as opposed to Bay Counties West.

Lucas was not the leading scorer for D5 state champion Athenian, but he was just a tick behind senior teammate Surya Devasenapathy (16.4 to 16.1 ppg) and in the CIF state final it took about 10 seconds to see that Lucas was the best player on the floor. In the 67-49 victory over Verdugo Hills, Evan ended with 20 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, three blocks and two steals.

There are D3 college offers for Lucas and some reportedly from D2, but he has no announced plans as of now. “Whoever picks him up, you have a diamond right there,” said head coach Jordan Boreman.

The 6-foot-3 point guard/shooting guard also completed a four-year career at Athenian and said at the state championship press conference that he’s been at the school since sixth grade. Lucas scored more than 1,000 career points and compiled a 3.35 GPA. Last summer, Evan played for a USA international youth team in the Team USA vs UK Showcase that was staged in London.

Last 14 State D5 Players of the Year: 2023 Jason Crowe Jr. (Lynwood); 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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