High-SchoolCalifornia: California High School Boys Basketball

Five questions: CIF basketball open division

May, 14, 2012
California high school boys basketball, CIF state championshipsMark Tennis/ESPNHSMario Dunn and Jabari Bird are juniors and have a chance to do this again.
California hoops may never be the same with the addition of the open division next season. If it works well, it could have ramifications across the nation.

There’s no secret that the CIF state basketball playoffs, for both boys and girls, has needed a shot in the arm for a long time.

Two weekends ago, the CIF Federation Council may have provided that boost by voting in favor of adding an open division as a sixth division to the state playoffs.

There’s a good chance that adding an open division will result in increased attendance and TV viewership. Two years ago, for example, the Mater Dei of Santa Ana and St. Mary’s of Stockton girls possibly would have played in an open division final that also would have determined which team was going to be No. 1 in the nation.

The open division will be for teams from any division, any section and regardless of enrollment.

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All-State Basketball: Boys Super Elites

April, 30, 2012
California high school boys basketball,2012 all-state teamsWillie Eashman/ESPNHSIt's a minefield of Monarchs for all-state player Dakarai Allen in D1 state final.
The five finalists for Mr. Basketball are joined by 25 others on the overall Cal-Hi Sports All-State teams regardless of CIF division or year in school. Click here for All-State Underclass or All-State by CIF Divisions.


F Jabari Bird (Salesian, Richmond) 6-6 Jr.
The first team all-state junior and Mr. Basketball State Player of the Year finalist was the catalyst to Salesian’s Division IV state title appearance. He scored 24 points to lead his team to a come-from behind win over Price of Los Angeles in the championship. Salesian's leading scorer (18.7 points per game) and rebounder (4.8) is the No. 8 player in the nation for the 2013 class by ESPN.

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All-State Basketball: Boys CIF Divisions

April, 29, 2012
California high school boys basketball,2012 Cal-Hi Sports all-state teamsMark Tennis/ESPNHSDivision III all-state players Marqueze Coleman and Max Guercy of Alemany flank coach Tray Meeks.
This is the second group of 2012 Cal-Hi Sports all-state boys basketball teams, which breaks down best of the best within each CIF state playoff division. Click here for the all-state underclass teams.


First Team

G Aaric Armstead (Bullard, Fresno) 6-4 Sr.
F Anthony January (Taft, Woodland Hills) 6-7 Sr.
F Xavier Johnson (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) 6-7 Sr.
G Katin Reinhardt (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) 6-5 Sr.
G Gabe York (Lutheran, Orange) 6-2 Sr.

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California high school boys basketball,All-State Team nominationsWillie Eashman/ESPNHSMarsalis Johnson tosses pass for Village Christian in 2012 CIF Division V championship.
Here is a look at our updated board of those under consideration for our various all-state teams, which will be done within the next week for the 34th season. More than 400 players now on the list.

Note: It is still not too late to send in a nomination. Each one should include each athlete's height, position, year in school, significant statistics. Comparing a player not on the board yet to one who already is can be very important toward eventual selection. Limit each nomination to one page please. Send to: Mark.Tennis@espn.com or FAX (209) 463-1219 or call (209) 463-9050.

Also, be aware that not all freshmen, sophomores or juniors we are considering for all-state underclass may be on this list. We also normally wind up choosing players who aren't on this list for some of the smaller CIF enrollment divisions as well. These players will come to light when all of the various major newspaper-based honor squads are released.

Don't assume we know all there is to know about a player on the list, either. Send us info to make sure all facts are turned in and placed into our files.

Here is the updated list of nominations currently on our board for the various 2012 all-state boys basketball teams:

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Bill Mellis: State Coach of the Year

April, 11, 2012
California high school boys basketball,Cal-Hi Sports State Coach of the YearSalesian H.S./ESPNHSMellis' team at Salesian could be even better next season.
Salesian of Richmond boys hoops mentor is sixth from the S.F. East Bay to earn the honor from Cal-Hi Sports since 1997. Other coaches singled out for each CIF Division.

Going back to the legendary George Powles in the 1950s and Paul Harless in the 1960s at McClymonds of Oakland, the East Bay region of the CIF North Coast Section has continued to be blessed with some of the best boys basketball coaches anywhere.

The latest from the East Bay to be chosen as the State Coach of the Year is Bill Mellis from Salesian of Richmond. Mellis, in his 14th season with the Pride, guided this year’s team to a 33-2 record (on-the-court) and its second CIF Division IV state title in the last four years.

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California high school basketball,33rd annual Cal-Hi Sports all-state nomineesWillie Eashman/ESPNHSStanley Johnson (41) and D'Erryl Williams (2) scramble for loose ball in CIF state final.
It’s time to get rolling toward the selection of the 33rd annual all-state teams. The first step is our list of nominees, which includes more than 350 players. Previous all-state picks have included Jason Kidd, Reggie Miller, Paul Pierce, Kevin Johnson, Jeremy Lin and many more.

Note: This list is compiled so that coaches, parents and readers can submit additions, corrections and make comments (anonymously of course) about which players should be selected when all information is received. Nominations are always welcome. This list will be updated and posted one more time prior to the teams being finalized on April 20 and announced over the following weekend.

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California high school boys basketball, Final state rankingsWillie Eashman/ESPNHSAmadi Udenyi of No. 10 De La Salle drives the key.
Teams getting a bump for the final expanded rankings of the 2011-12 season include Bullard of Fresno, Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco and Serra of Gardena.

Other highlights of this week’s expanded, final overall rankings include:

All 10 teams from the final Division IV state rankings get spots in the top 36 with nine of those 10 in the top 22.

Taft of Woodland Hills comes up since loss to Bullard doesn’t look as bad and because of that one win over Loyola.

Among those in expanded rankings are a group from Ventura County, led by Oak Park of Agoura Hills.

Get all the details in the ESPNHS rankings tool.

Final State Division Boys BB Rankings

April, 3, 2012
For each division in the final rankings, we have expanded the number of teams by five and take a look at a few teams to watch for the 2012-13 season. The most changes for the final rankings were in Division III and Division V due to the outcome of the CIF state championship and due to a couple of head-to-head wins that were discovered from early in the season.

With help from Stockton office assistant editor Paul Muyskens, here are the ninth and final listings of the top-ranked boys teams in the state this season for each division (records listed after state championship games played on Saturday, March 24; previous ranking in parentheses):

CIF Division I
1. (1) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 34-2
2. (2) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 29-3
3. (4) Loyola (Los Angeles) 26-6
4. (3) Sheldon (Sacramento) 29-6
5. (5) Bullard (Fresno) 32-4
6. (7) De La Salle (Concord) 28-3
7. (9) Taft (Woodland Hills) 29-4
8. (6) Jesuit (Carmichael) 27-6
9. (8) Etiwanda 30-3
10. (10) Lutheran (Orange) 22-11
11. (11) Mission Viejo 28-5
12. (15) Crenshaw (Los Angeles) 24-6
13. (12) Capistrano Valley (Mission Viejo) 25-7
14. (13) McClymonds (Oakland) 19-11
15. (14) Dorsey (Los Angeles) 27-9
Drops: None.
Expanded Next 5 Teams: 16. Santa Monica 21-9; 17. Fairfax (Los Angeles) 20-10; 18. Westchester (Los Angeles) 22-9; 19. Deer Valley (Antioch) 28-9; 20. Palisades (Pacific Palisades) 17-11.
Honorable Mention: Bellarmine (San Jose) 18-12, Castro Valley 22-8, Clovis West (Fresno) 22-7, Crescenta Valley (La Crescenta) 26-8, Foothill (Tustin) 24-6, Piedmont Hills (San Jose) 28-4, Upland 20-10.
Teams to Watch Next Season: Long Beach Poly, Mater Dei, Loyola, Sheldon, De La Salle, Woodland Hills Taft, Deer Valley.

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Mr. Basketball State Player of Year Finalists

March, 31, 2012
Just like the girls, a group of five boys are in line to be selected as the 2012 honoree by Cal-Hi Sports. The Mr. Basketball State Player of the Year list now goes back almost 100 years and includes numerous NBA superstars.

Two players from CIF Division I state champion Mater Dei of Santa Ana plus two highly ranked juniors from the San Francisco Bay Area and a McDonald’s All-American have been chosen by Cal-Hi Sports as finalists for the 2012 Mr. Basketball State Player of the Year.

The Mater Dei seniors – Katin Reinhardt and Xavier Johnson – aren’t the only members of a CIF state championship team to be a Mr. Basketball finalist, either.

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Cal-Hi Sports State Athlete of the Week

March, 30, 2012
California high school boys basketball,CIF Division III state championship,State Athlete of the WeekWillie Eashman/ESPNHSAlemany's senior star looks to drive the baseline in CIF state final.
Huge second half of state final by Marqueze Coleman puts icing on the cake for memorable season by himself and Alemany team.

Although Marqueze Coleman from Bishop Alemany of Mission Hills had big outings all season, none was bigger than his second half feats of the Warriors’ 71-67 victory over Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco last Saturday in the CIF Division III state championship.

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CIF Friday Boys BB Championships

March, 23, 2012
California high school boys basketball, CIF state championshipsMark Tennis/ESPNHSMario Dunn and Jabari Bird are juniors and have a chance to do this again.
Mitty repeats in Division II with Aaron Gordon leading the way. NorCal wins in Division IV as well with Salesian of Richmond topping Price.

The CIF Division IV and Division II state title games in boys basketball were played at Power Balance Arena in Sacramento. The Division I, Division III and Division V titles will be decided on Saturday.

Division II:
Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 78, La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 57

It was a vintage performance for Aaron Gordon, one of the nation’s top-ranked juniors, and the rest of the Monarchs’ starting lineup.

The 6-foot-8 point forward dominated the boards, nailed a couple of 3-pointers and scored a game-high 33 points. Gordon’s point total makes the top 10 on the all-time state title game list. He also grabbed 20 rebounds, one short of the Division II record he tied last season.

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California high school boys basketball,CIF state championshipsWillie Eashman/ESPNHSTaylor Johns slams one home for Sacred Heart Cathedral
As is our custom prior to CIF state finals in football and basketball, we take a crack at choosing which teams we think will win.

Note: All of the following writeups and selections are done with the highest level of respect to both teams and all coaches. We never use point spreads and, sure, some of the scores might be a bit more lopsided than we might think. But you also never know what might happen. After all, these are teenagers.

We had one of our worst years ever in last year’s CIF finals (boys and girls combined) with just six correct and four wrong. We were 7-for-10 in 2010 and were 9-for-10 in 2009.

The following writeups were completed by Ronnie Flores, Harold Abend, Mark Tennis, Paul Muyskens.

Boys Division I
(Saturday, March 24, 8 p.m.)

Cal-Hi Sports’ predicted score:
Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 77, Sheldon (Sacramento) 66

The marquee game of the 2012 CIF boys state championships could live up to its billing as both teams look for historic victories.

Mater Dei, the top-ranked team in the state and the No. 8 team in the country in the POWERADE FAB 50, is gunning for its second consecutive CIF state title. Sheldon is looking to become the first Sacramento-area Division I state champion ever.

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State Divisional Boys BB Rankings

March, 22, 2012
With one game to go, Mater Dei (D1), Archbishop Mitty (D2), Alemany (D3), Salesian of Richmond (D4) and St. Joseph Notre Dame (D5) look to complete almost wire-to-wire runs atop their state divisions.

More highlights from this week’s lists include:

Our picks of which teams in the north and which teams in the south can still move up in the final rankings depending on which team wins in the CIF state championships.

With help from Stockton office assistant editor Paul Muyskens, here is the eighth and next-to-last listing of boys teams this season for each division (records listed after regional championship games played on Saturday, March 17; previous ranking in parentheses):

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California high school boys basketball,Mater Dei vs. Fresno BullardScott Kurtz/ESPNHSXavier Johnson skies for a rebound during SoCal final.
Mater Dei pulls away in second half to beat Bullard in Division I. La Costa Canyon wins all-San Diego final while Alemany, Price and Village Christian are all heading to state as well.

The CIF Southern Regional title games were played at Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario (Divisions 1-3) and at Colony High School in Ontario (Divisions 4-5). Writeups by Ronnie Flores.

Division I:
Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 85, Bullard (Fresno) 66

The top-ranked team in the state, the Mater Dei Monarchs, faced a Bullard Knights team looking to pull of their third consecutive upset and advance to their first-ever state title game in boys' basketball.

Bullard was not only facing an experienced team that won a state title last year with the same nucleus, it was also facing the most talented team it had seen all season long.

For one half, in front of 5,712 fans, the CIF Central Section Div. I champions hung with Mater Dei (champions of the CIF Southern Section Div. I-AA bracket), but a 23-10 advantage in the third quarter spelled doom for Bullard.

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California high school basketball, Sacred Heart Cathedral vs. Bishop O'DowdWillie Eashman/ESPNHSHerman Pratt looks for opening against Bishop O'Dowd defense.
Sheldon turns back upset bid in Division I final. Other victors are Archbishop Mitty in D2, Sacred Heart Cathedral in D3, Salesian in D4 and St. Joseph Notre Dame in D5.

The CIF Northern Regional title games were played at Power Balance Arena in Sacramento (Divisions 1-3) and at Folsom High School (Divisions 4-5). Writeups by Mark Tennis and Paul Muyskens.

Division I:
Sheldon (Sacramento) 61, Jesuit (Carmichael) 56

All the clichés about the fourth time being the charm for Jesuit in the NorCal final after going 0-3 during the season against the Huskies were getting dusted off in the first half of this matchup.

The Marauders came out of the locker room on fire, making eight of their first 11 shots and were up by as much as 17 points at 23-6 early in the second quarter.

A 10-point run later in the second period got Sheldon within striking distance with a 25-16 halftime score. The team’s two main standouts, juniors Dakarai Allen and D’Erryl Williams, then came through in the second half and especially down the stretch.

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