Who is the best high school boys basketball player in Southern California over the past 20 years? Over the next five days we’ll give you a chance to decide.
Our 32-player bracket tipped off last week with first-round matchups in all four regions: the Ed Azzam region, the Gary McKnight region, the Harvey Kitani region and the NBA region.
We now move into the Sweet 16.
Finishing up in the NBA region, three seed DeMar DeRozan from Compton takes on Kawhi Leonard, a two seed out of Riverside King, to complete the second round.
Here’s a look at the matchup:
(3) DeMar DeRozan, Compton
DeRozan was named a 2007-08 McDonald’s All-American and an L.A. Times All-Star. He won the McDonald’s All-American slam dunk contest in 2008. DeRozan shared the 2008 Southern California Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association I-AA Player of the Year honors, was named to the California All-State team and also Moore League MVP.
As a senior, DeRozan averaged 29.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 3.0 steals per game leading Compton to a 24-6 record and its second consecutive Moore League championship. Compton reached the Southern Section DI-AA quarterfinals that year where they lost 62-55 to No. 5 Santa Margarita, snapping a 14-game winning streak. DeRozan scored 30 or more points 12 times, with a high game of 47 in a 100-88 win vs. Gahr on Dec. 27. He led Compton back from an 11-point deficit against JSerra with only 1:22 left by scoring 16 straight points in a 74-73 win on Dec. 15. He finished with 45 points in the win.
As a junior, DeRozan averaged 22.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 3.2 steals per game to lead Compton to a 26-7 record and the Moore League championship. As a sophomore he averaged 22.6 points and 8.4 rebounds per game and scored 26.1 points and grabbed 8.4 rebounds per game as a freshman.
DeRozan played collegiately at USC before being drafted ninth overall in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Toronto Raptors. He now plays for the San Antonio Spurs. DeRozan is a four time All-Star.
(2) Kawhi Leonard, King (Riverside)
Leonard averaged 22.6 points, 13.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 3.0 blocks per game as a senior at King. He was named the L.A. Times Player of the Year in 2009. Leonard had at least 20 points and 20 rebounds six times as a senior for a team that went 30-3, won the CIF-Southern Section Division I-AA title and finished in second place in the Southern California Regional State tournament. He was also named the CalHiSports.com Mr. Basketball State Player of the Year and was one of seven L.A.-area players to receive the John R. Wooden High School Player of the Year Award (CIF-SS Div. I)
Leonard led King to a 32-3 record as a junior and another Southern Section title. He averaged 17.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game that year.
Leonard attended San Diego State and he led the Aztecs to the 2011 Sweet 16, where they lost to eventual champion UConn. He was drafted 15th overall in the 2011 NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs. Leonard won an NBA title with the Spurs in 2014 and another with the Toronto Raptors in 2019. He was named Finals MVP both times. Leonard now plays for the Los Angeles Clippers.
VOTING IS CLOSED.
Kawhi Leonard: 86
DeMar DeRozan: 43