Monday, April 16, 2012
More State Boys BB Players of the Year
By Mark Tennis & Ronnie Flores
We choose honorees for seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen and for each CIF division. Toughest picks were for Division IV and freshmen.
Congratulations to these boys players for being selected as an ESPNHS Cal-Hi Sports State Player of the Year. Stay tuned for the release next week of the 34th annual ESPNHS Cal-Hi Sports All-State Teams and for our announcement of Ms. Basketball 2012 on Wednesday. Here is a complete list of our boys basketball individual honorees for the 2011-12 season:
Seniors – Katin Reinhardt (Mater Dei, Santa Ana)
On those rare occasions when an underclassman is named Mr. Basketball, an entry for state senior player of the year is added to the Cal-Hi Sports state record book. That player for this season is Reinhardt, the unofficial runner-up to Aaron Gordon of Mitty for Mr. Basketball honors after leading Mater Dei to its second consecutive Division I state title with only two losses to out-of-state foes.
Reinhardt averaged a team-best 18.6 points per game, but it was his improved decision-making and more efficient, less flashy style of play that made him so dangerous. There have been only eight juniors selected Mr. Basketball since 1955, and Reinhardt is the first official senior of the year since DeShawn Stevenson of Washington of Easton in 1999-2000, the year his former NBA teammate Tyson Chandler of Dominguez of Compton was the best player in the state.
Juniors – Aaron Gordon (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose)
He’s also the 2012 Mr. Basketball State Player of the Year. He was the State Sophomore of the Year last season and was the State Freshman Athlete of the Year for 2009-10.
Sophomores – Stanley Johnson (Mater Dei, Santa Ana)
Last season, Parker Jackson-Cartwright of Loyola edged out the Monarchs' bruising forward, but this season an improvement in his overall game and Mater Dei's success against Loyola gives Johnson the nod.
Armed with an improved jumper, Johnson stepped up and played a big role after fellow 10th grader Shaqquan Aaron transferred out, averaging 13.4 points and 7.5 rebounds. In a 61-58 victory over Loyola, Johnson made 2-of-3 on 3-pointers and finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists and had a 17-point, 11-rebound performance in the regional semifinal victory over the Cubs.
Johnson also had a big performance (21 points, 11 rebounds, 5 blocks) in the state title game when senior teammate Xavier Johnson fouled out early. Johnson is the first sophomore selection from a CIF Southern Section program since Renardo Sidney of Artesia of Lakewood in 2007. He's also the first selection from Mater Dei and Orange County since Vernon "Schea" Cotton in 1994-1995 when Mater Dei also won the Division I state title.
Freshmen – Marcus LoVett Jr. (Providence, Burbank)
This is one of the toughest picks we've had to make in recent memory and the deciding factors ended up being head-to-head results and local honors.
There is no question the pick could have been either Tyler Dorsey (Ribet Academy, Los Angeles) or Aaron Holiday (Campbell Hall, North Hollywood), two other freshman guards from the San Fernando Valley/Glendale region who put tremendous numbers and were all-section picks, but Lovett had the most spectacular outputs. He went over 30 points 17 times and over 40 six times, including a 57-point performance against St. Joseph (Santa Maria) in his sixth varsity game.
In another of those signature performances, Lovett scored 45 points in a 73-66 victory over Holiday's Campbell Hall team, which was routed by Dorsey's Ribet Academy team in a game Holiday scored 31 points. Talking to area coaches about these three players, some feel Holiday and Dorsey might be better prospects down the line, but for what transpired on the court this season Lovett, the CIFSS Division V-A Player of the Year, is the logical choice. He averaged 32.4 points per game and netted 1,036 points, the highest reported point total for a ninth-grader in state history. He's the fourth consecutive freshman choice from a CIF Southern Section school.
CIF Division I – Katin Reinhardt (Mater Dei, Santa Ana)
After leading Mater Dei to state team of the year honors, Reinhardt edges teammate Xavier Johnson for this honor as well as senior of the year. Johnson was named the Orange County Register Player of the Year and picked up his game in the post-season, while Reinhardt was named player of the year by the L.A. Times and was Mater Dei's most consistent player.
It looked like Reinhardt would miss the regional playoffs with a broken shooting thumb and concede post-season honors to Johnson, but the sweet-shooting guard averaged 22 points over Mater Dei's final three victories over Loyola, Bullard, and Sheldon to rise up for this honor. He is the fourth Division I honoree from Mater Dei and the first since local legend Schea Cotton in 1995, the only 10th-grader ever named Div. I state player of the year.
CIF Division II – Aaron Gordon (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose)
As a sophomore, Gordon got edged out by San Diego Hoover’s Angelo Chol for this honor. He’s the Mr. Basketball honoree for this season.
CIF Division III – Marqueze Coleman (Alemany, Mission Hills)
Not only did Coleman help lead the Warriors to their first-ever state championship appearance, but they captured the Division III state championship with a 71-67 win over Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco as he scored 27 points.
On the season, Coleman averaged more than 21 points with seven rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. He also had big games in Mission League play and was voted co-Player of the Year along with teammate Max Guercy for the league, section and state champions.
Before transferring to Alemany, played last season at Dorsey of Los Angeles. Ranked as the 12th best senior in the state by ESPN, he will head to Nevada next season. Coleman the first player from the San Fernando Valley region selected in this division since Alex Stephenson of Harvard-Westlake of North Hollywood in 2006.
CIF Division IV – Grant Jerrett (Lutheran, La Verne)
There was an abundance of talent in this division with regards to teams and individuals and the 6-foot-10, 220-pound center edges junior wing Jabari Bird of state champ Salesian (Richmond).
After helping the Trojans win back-to-back state titles in Div. V and III as an underclassman, Jerrett became the focal point on a team that lost its depth this season. He responded by averaging 22.3 points, 10 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game for a 25-8 team that played strong competition in advancing to the CIFSS Division IV-AA final and SoCal regional final.
California's first boys' McDonald's All-American during the Obama Administration, he scored eight points while making 4-of-5 shots in Chicago. A two-time Player of the Year by the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Jerrett is the sixth consecutive selection from a CIF Southern Section program in this division. He’ll play next at Arizona.
CIF Division V – Brandon Randolph (St. Bernard, Playa del Rey)
This was a close call between Randolph and sophomore Bryan Alberts, who was the leading player for D5 state champ Village Christian of Sun Valley.
Randolph, who was a sophomore standout last season in leading St. Bernard to the D5 state final when the Vikings lost to St. Joseph Notre Dame of Alameda, pumped in a game-high 31 points when St. Bernard was edged by Village Christian in this year’s D5 South final.
The 6-foot-3 junior guard also was voted the CIF Southern Section Division 5AA player of the year. He averaged 19 points, five rebounds and three assists per game, which includes a 26-point performance in a game against state-ranked Serra of Gardena.
The last St. Bernard player to be named tops in his division was Corey Gaines for Division II in 1982. Randolph has numerous college offers, including one from San Diego State.
Comments or corrections? Email Mark.Tennis@espn.com.