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, then moved to the Gary McKnight region on Wednesday.
The first round continued on Thursday with matchups in the Harvey Kitani region, beginning with Harvard-Westlake’s Bryce Taylor, an eight seed going up against Chino Hills’ Lonzo Ball, a one seed.
Here’s a look at the matchup:
(8) Bryce Taylor, Harvard-Westlake
Taylor was a two-time all-state selection for Harvard-Westlake, a three-time CIF Division III player of the year and two-time Mission League MVP. He averaged 25 points, seven rebounds and five assists per game as a senior. Taylor hit nearly 50 percent of his shots from three-point range as a senior. The guard averaged 28.6 points per game as a junior and broke former Stanford star Jason Collins’ Harvard-Westlake season scoring record with 1,003 points. Taylor also set a school record by scoring 54 points in a game that year. The Wolverines won three straight CIF championships during his time at the school from 2002-2004.
Taylor played collegiately at Oregon from 2005 to 2008 before beginning a professional career overseas.
(1) Lonzo Ball, Chino Hills
Ball was named the 2016 CIF Southern Section Open Division Player of the Year following Chino Hills’ perfect 35-0 season. As a senior, Ball was named the Naismith High School Player of the Year, the Morgan Wootten Player of the Year and the Gatorade State Player of the Year. He also earned McDonald’s All-America honors. Ball was a first-team All-CIF Southern Section selection as a senior, junior and sophomore. As a senior, he registered 23.9 points, 11.3 rebounds, 11.5 assists and 5.1 steals per game shooting 54 percent from the field. Yes, he averaged a triple double. Ball totaled 15 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and five steals in the 70-50 state championship victory over De La Salle. He averaged 24.3 points, 11.3 rebounds and 9.1 assists per game as a junior (2014-15) leading Chino Hills to the Division I state title game in 2015.
Ball went on to play collegiately at UCLA. He was picked second overall in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. He now plays for the New Orleans Pelicans.
Lonzo Ball won the total vote across Scorebook Live, Instagram and Twitter 73-11.