Who is the best high school boys basketball player in Southern California over the past 20 years? Over the next two weeks we’ll give you a chance to decide.
Our 32-player bracket tipped off Tuesday with first-round matchups in the Ed Azzam region. The first round continued on Wednesday with matchups in the Gary McKnight region, beginning with Long Beach Poly’s Ryan Anderson, an eight seed going up against Mater Dei’s Stanley Johnson, a one seed.
Here’s a look at the matchup:
(8) Ryan Anderson, Long Beach Poly
Anderson earned Gatorade State Player of the Year honors as a senior at Long Beach Poly. He was also named California Mr. Basketball Player of the Year as well as Los Angeles Times’ Player of the Year in 2011. Anderson led Long Beach Poly to the Southern Section I-AA championship in 2011 averaging 16.4 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. He shot 55 percent from the field that season. Long Beach Poly went 31-2. As a junior, Anderson averaged 12.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocked shots per game. He went on to play collegiately at Boston College and Arizona before beginning a professional career overseas.
(1) Stanley Johnson, Mater Dei
Johnson is regarded as one of the best high school basketball players in the history of the state. He was a McDonald’s All-American in 2014, a two-time John R. Wooden Award winner for California Division I High School Player of the Year (2013, 2014) and a four-time California first-team all-state pick. That’s only the beginning, Johnson was one of three national finalists for the Naismith Trophy High School Player of the Year award in 2014. He was named California Mr. Basketball and Gatorade California Player of the Year in 2014 as well as The Los Angeles Times Player of the Year and Orange County Boys’ Athlete of the Year that same year.
Johnson led Mater Dei to a 135-5 record and four CIF Division I state titles during his time at the school, becoming the first player in California history to win four-straight upper-division state titles. The Monarchs were 70-0 during his final two high school campaigns He averaged 25.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.5 steals per game as a senior to lead Mater Dei to a No. 1 final national ranking by USA Today. Johnson was also named CIF Division I State Player of the Year and State Junior of the Year, CIF Division I-AA co-Player of the Year and Orange County Register Player of the Year in 2013. He averaged 19.4 points and 8.7 rebounds per game as a junior to propel Mater Dei to a third-consecutive state title and a No. 1 final national ranking from USA Today. He was named Cal-Hi Sports California Sophomore of the Year in 2012 after posting averages of 16.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game and propelling Mater Dei to another title.
Johnson played college basketball at Arizona. He was drafted eighth overall by the Detroit Pistons in the 2015 NBA Draft. He now plays for the Toronto Raptors.
Stanley Johnson won the total vote across Scorebook Live, Instagram and Twitter 95-39.