Mr. Basketball 2024: Trent Perry

It wasn’t for sure that Harvard-Westlake’s Trent Perry was going to be Mr. Basketball for the 2024 season after his team won the CIF Open Division state title, but a quick photo at the press table was taken in case that’s what happened. Photo: Mark Tennis.

In another close race for Mr. Basketball, what Trent Perry did for CIF Open Division state champ Harvard-Westlake is just too hard to ignore. Today, the two-time state champion edges another San Fernando Valley standout who played in the same league for California’s most prestigious, long-running individual honor.

For this season’s State Players of the Year in boys basketball among juniors, sophs, frosh and for each CIF division, CLICK HERE.

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When choosing an individual accolade as big and important as California Mr. Basketball, it’s important that the entire season be considered and the entire resume of top candidates. When pouring over the resumes of the top candidates, it’s always a key factor when one’s team keeps advancing in the post-season, while the other candidate’s team is knocked out and done for the season. Head-to-head matchups are also paramount, and that Mr. Basketball factor makes this year’s race one of the closest we’ve had to decipher in a long time.

Remember, when it comes to Cal-Hi Sports individual honors, it is never about the easy route or to satisfy as wide an audience as possible through clicks and web site traffic. We’ll leave that to local selections, as we don’t have ties or co-Players of the Year in any of the sports we’ve covered for more than 40 years. And that isn’t changing now. Last season, the race between Jared McCain of Corona Centennial and future Duke teammate Caleb Foster of Sherman Oaks Notre Dame was real close, but this year’s Mr. Basketball race was even closer.

Perry takes a shot during CIF Open Division state final against Salesian of Richmond’s Elias Obenyah. Photo: Willie Eashman / Cal-Hi Sports.

Once again a player from Notre Dame is involved in the Mr. Basketball deliberations with another player from the Mission League, which incredibly had three of its teams reach No. 1 in the state status during the course of the season. For a while, it looked like the seasons of the top two candidates was going to come to an end on the night of March 2. Notre Dame was playing state power Mater Dei of Santa Ana in the SoCal D1 regional semifinals, while Harvard-Westlake of Studio City was battling Carlsbad in the SoCal open semifinals. Mater Dei got out to an early lead and went on to defeat the Knights and end the season of Houston-bound guard Mercy Miller, who carried the Knights to a terrific season, including a CIF Southern Section D1 crown. That same night, the defending CIF open state champs were in a dogfight with the CIF San Diego Section open champs. In fact, the Wolverines were down by as many as 13 points in the first half.

That’s when senior guard Trent Perry went to work.

In crunch time of Harvard-Westlake’s biggest games over the past two seasons is when Perry was at his best. Nobody in the state was better when it mattered than this 6-foot-4 point guard who eventually led his team to a second consecutive CIF open state crown. On that night, Perry kept Harvard-Westlake’s season alive with a 42-point performance in its 73-72 win. For his overall skill level on both ends of the floor, and his ability to make clutch plays for the state’s best team, today Perry has been honored as California Mr. Basketball State Player of the Year by Cal-Hi Sports.

“I’m very honored to receive the award,” Perry told Cal-Hi Sports on his way back to the West Coast after the McDonald’s All-American Game in Houston. “Just nothing but appreciation to God, my family, and the entire program at Harvard Westlake. Winning section and state meant everything to everyone. (Coach Dave) Rebibo constantly reminded us throughout the season that we didn’t win everything the previous season and that just became the chip on our shoulder.”

Perry had more to add to his resume in the two biggest games of the season. Against Roosevelt of Eastvale in the SoCal open final, which was a rematch of the CIFSS open title game, Harvard-Westlake trailed Roosevelt at halftime, 35-25. But once again Perry came through with a big second half, scoring 21 of his 28 points after intermission when Harvard-Westlake needed it the most. He didn’t miss a free throw in that 63-59 win or the victory over Carlsbad, going 24-of-24. A year earlier, he didn’t miss a shot from the field and had 25 points in the same game, a victory over Corona Centennial and eventual Mr. Basketball McCain.

In reality, Perry probably should have received a bit more consideration last year, but McCain was deserving. The third top candidate this year is like Perry was last season, a junior on the outside looking in. That player is Roosevelt’s Brayden Burries and just as his selection for state junior player of the year (also announced today) was based on his performances in wins over the other top junior candidate (Tounde Yessoufou), Harvard-Westlake’s two big wins over Roosevelt essentially made 2024 Mr. Basketball a two-horse race.

Perry put a stamp on his Mr. Basketball candidacy and his high school career by his closing performance in the Wolverines’ 50-45 win over Salesian of Richmond in the CIF open title game. Rebibo’s club trailed 45-44 when Perry went to work. He scored with 1:18 remaining to give Harvard-Westlake the lead, then came up with a loose ball with 56 seconds remaining by getting on the floor while Rebibo quickly called timeout. With 25 seconds remaining, Perry hit an elbow jumper from 14-feet out to give Harvard-Westlake a 48-45 lead. After a critical Salesian turnover, Perry was then fouled with 9.5 seconds remaining and it was as if his teammates and coaches just knew he was going to nail the free throws to seal the CIF open title.

Perry let out a big smile as he walked toward the line.

“It’s an awesome honor that he really deserves,” Rebibo said. “Trent didn’t miss a game all year, he fought through injuries, and prepared as though every game was a championship game. He let us from start to finish and dominated games in ways coaches usually dream their point guards would dominate a game. His selflessness was contagious and I am so proud of him and the leader, person and winner he is.”

This is Trent as an underclassman. At the time, he was part of a terrific backcourt for Harvard-Westlake along with senior wing Brady Dunlap. Photo:

Making Perry the choice was made even more difficult by Harvard-Westlake and Notre Dame playing twice during the season. They split games, with Notre Dame winning the regular season matchup and Harvard-Westlake winning the Mission League title game. In the first game, Miller had 29 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and four turnovers, while Perry had 22 points, eight rebounds, two assists and four turnovers. In the rematch, Miller played well again, with 33 points, five rebounds, one assist and one turnover, while Perry had 22 points, six rebounds, one assist and zero turnovers.

Miller outscored Perry, but that was mainly by necessity because Perry played on the stronger team. We believed that in the preseason and it showed at the end of the season. Miller averaged 29.8 ppg and 9.3 rpg and those numbers were consistent against the best teams on Notre Dame’s schedule, including Harvard-Westlake. Perry’s individual numbers were not as spectacular, but he was just as effective a player and played in bigger games that Miller was not able to participate in (some would argue based on off-court decisions and not because of on-court results by Notre Dame). Perry did have the better, more experienced players around him, but it was no coincidence that it was him that led the way in the clutch moments of the big games.

“Trent’s willingness to facilitate, defend, rebound and make his teammates better made him an absolute pleasure to coach,” Rebibo said.

This individual honor is also about how good and dominant a player is and make no mistake, Miller was that. It’s not his fault when his team wasn’t selected for the CIFSS open playoffs as the Knights probably should have been. It then definitely impacted their seeding in the SoCal D1 regional and who knows what would have happened if Notre Dame was put in the CIFSS open playoffs and/or the open regional afterwards. We’ll never know because Miller was denied that opportunity, while Perry took advantage of every opportunity he had and left nothing to chance for this team.

“It’s not as if Trent is not deserving of it, I would never argue that,” Notre Dame coach Matt Sargeant said. “It’s a case of a coach vouching for his player who I think is just more deserving. Mercy needed to be good every game and throughout the whole game for us and he was. Mercy shouldn’t be penalized because Trent was on the better team or had the better coach. It’s a shame we didn’t have the opportunity to run it back a third time.”

For the season, Perry averaged 18 ppg, 6 rpg, 5.8 apg and 1.2 spg for a 33-3 club that will finish in the top 10 of the FAB 50 National Team Rankings. The point guard who carries a GPA over 3.4 was also a first team all-state underclass choice in each of his first three seasons and emerged as an all-state and State Player of the Year finalist as a junior. For his career, Perry scored 1,439 points, grabbed 583 rebounds, dished 418 assists and came up with 145 steals, none bigger than the one in the closing minutes of the game vs. Salesian that sealed Harvard-Westlake’s second consecutive CIF state title. In basketball, sometimes raw numbers doesn’t do a player justice and that is the case when watching Harvard-Westlake this year. It was expected to defend the CIF open crown and did that while also winning the CIFSS open title, while individually Perry was a better player than he was as a junior when he was a Mr. Basketball finalist.

Other major local or national honors don’t often influence our decision because they are often chosen before the conclusion of the season, but Perry was named Gatorade State Player of the Year, as well as Player of the Year by the L.A. Times. He was also named Player of the Year on the all-CIFSS open team. More importantly, Perry won two CIF state titles and was also named Mission League MVP twice playing in the same league as Miller.

When the dust settled, Perry’s winning resume and the clutch plays that led to his individual accolades was just too much to ignore in the decision for the one accolade that is based on on-court production and results. Pure individual numbers don’t do justice to Perry’s impact on the court, but the results he got all season long certainly do display the impact he had on the Harvard-Westlake program that will be remembered for years to come.


Note: All selections by Cal-Hi Sports; All-time list before 1978 compiled by our founder, the late Nelson Tennis, based on research.

2023 Mr. Basketball Jared McCain raises trophy after team won CIF Open Division state title in 2022 at the Golden 1 Center. Photo: Nick Koza.

2024 – Trent Perry,
Studio City Harvard-Westlake, 6-4 Sr.
2023 – Jared McCain, Corona Centennial, 6-3 Sr.
2022 – Donovan Dent, Corona Centennial, 6-3 Sr.
2021 – Amari Bailey, Chatsworth Sierra Canyon, 6-5 Jr.
2020 – Brandon Boston Jr.,
Chatsworth Sierra Canyon, 6-8
2019 – Onyeka Okongwu, Chino Hills, 6-9
2018 – Onyeka Okongwu, Chino Hills, 6-9 Jr.
2017 – Ethan Thompson,
Torrance Bishop Montgomery, 6-4
2016 – Lonzo Ball, Chino Hills, 6-6
2015 – Ivan Rabb, Oakland Bishop O’Dowd, 6-10
2014 – Stanley Johnson, Santa Ana Mater Dei, 6-6
2013 – Aaron Gordon, San Jose Archbishop Mitty, 6-8
2012 – Aaron Gordon,
San Jose Archbishop Mitty, 6-8 Jr.
2011 – Ryan Anderson, Long Beach Poly, 6-8
2010 – Allen Crabbe, Los Angeles Price, 6-6
2009 – Kawhi Leonard,
Riverside Martin Luther King, 6-7
2008 – Jrue Holiday,
North Hollywood Campbell Hall, 6-3
2007 – Taylor King, Santa Ana Mater Dei, 6-8
2006 – Chase Budinger, Carlsbad La Costa Canyon, 6-8
2005 – Amir Johnson, L.A. Westchester, 6-10
2004 – DeMarcus Nelson, Sacramento Sheldon, 6-3
2003 – Trevor Ariza, L.A. Westchester, 6-8
2002 – Hassan Adams, L.A. Westchester, 6-4
2001 – Tyson Chandler, Compton Dominguez, 7-1
2000 – Tyson Chandler, Compton Dominguez, 7-0 Jr.
1999 – Casey Jacobsen, Glendora, 6-6
1998 – Tayshaun Prince, Compton Dominguez, 6-8
1997 – Baron Davis, Santa Monica Crossroads, 6-2
1996 – Corey Benjamin, Fontana, 6-6
1995 – Paul Pierce, Inglewood, 6-7
1994 – Jelani Gardner, Bellflower St. John Bosco, 6-6
1993 – Charles O’Bannon, Lakewood Artesia, 6-7
1992 – Jason Kidd, Alameda St. Joseph, 6-4
1991 – Jason Kidd, Alameda St. Joseph, 6-4 Jr.
1990 – Ed O’Bannon, Lakewood Artesia, 6-9
1989 – Tracy Murray, Glendora, 6-8
1988 – Chris Mills, L.A. Fairfax, 6-7
1987 – LeRon Ellis, Santa Ana Mater Dei, 6-11
1986 – Scott Williams, Hacienda Heights Wilson, 6-10
1985 – Tom Lewis, Santa Ana Mater Dei, 6-7
1984 – John Williams, L.A. Crenshaw, 6-8
1983 – John Williams, L.A. Crenshaw, 6-7 Jr.
1982 – Tony Jackson, Oakland Bishop O’Dowd, 6-4
1981 – Dwayne Polee, L.A. Manual Arts, 6-5
1980 – Ralph Jackson, Inglewood, 6-3
1979 – Darren Daye, Granada Hills Kennedy, 6-7
1978 – Greg Goorjian, Crescenta Valley, 6-2
1977 – Cliff Robinson, Oakland Castlemont, 6-7
1976 – Rich Branning, Huntington Beach Marina, 6-2
1975 – Bill Cartwright, Elk Grove, 7-1
1974 – Bill Cartwright, Elk Grove, 7-0 Jr.
1973 – Marques Johnson, L.A. Crenshaw, 6-5
1972 – Cliff Pondexter, Fresno San Joaquin Memorial, 6-7 Jr.
1971 – Roscoe Pondexter, Fresno San Joaquin Memorial, 6-6
1970 – Bill Walton, La Mesa Helix, 6-10
1969 – Keith Wilkes, Ventura, 6-5 Jr.
1968 – Paul Westphal, Redondo Beach Aviation, 6-2
1967 – Curtis Rowe, L.A. Fremont, 6-6
1966 – Dennis Awtrey, San Jose Blackford, 6-9
1965 – Bob Portman, S.F. St. Ignatius, 6-5
1964 – Russ Critchfield, Salinas, 5-10
1963 – Edgar Lacey, L.A. Jefferson, 6-6
1962 – Joe Ellis, Oakland McClymonds, 6-5
1961 – Gail Goodrich, L.A. Poly, 5-11
1960 – Paul Silas, Oakland McClymonds, 6-6
1959 – Steve Gray, S.F. Washington, 6-4
1958 – Billy McGill, L.A. Jefferson, 6-9
1957 – Tom Meschery, S.F. Lowell, 6-5
1956 – Fred LaCour, S.F. St. Ignatius, 6-4
1955 – Fred LaCour, S.F. St. Ignatius, 6-4 Jr.
1954 – Willie Davis, Alameda, 5-11
1953 – Bill Bond, Long Beach St. Anthony, 6-1
1952 – Willie Naulls, San Pedro, 6-5
1951 – Ken Sears, Watsonville, 6-7
1950 – Don Bragg, S.F. Galileo, 6-3

Note: List extends back to 1905 in the Cal-Hi Sports State Record Book and Almanac.

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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