No. 5 Jared Dudley vs. No. 2 Kawhi Leonard: Vote for the best SoCal high school boys basketball player of the 21st Century (Elite Eight)

Who is the best high school boys basketball player in Southern California over the past 20 years? Over the next few 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. Sweet 16 voting wrapped up on Tuesday.

We now move into the Elite Eight.

The biggest upset of the tournament took place on Tuesday with Jared Dudley knocking off top-seeded James Harden. Now Dudley, a five seed, will try to do it again as he takes on No. 2 Kawhi Leonard in the Elite Eight.


(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 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.

(Photo by SD Dirk)

(5) Jared Dudley, Horizon (San Diego)

Dudley averaged 23.2 points and 14.0 rebounds per game as a senior at Horizon earning All-State honors. He captured 2002-03 San Diego Section Player of the Year honors from the Union-Tribune newspaper. He was also Cal-Hi Sports magazine’s 2002-03 state Division IV Player of the Year. Dudley led the Panthers to back-to-back Division IV San Diego Section and State titles (2002 and 2003) registering 16 points and 14 rebounds against Hercules in the 2003 state title game from Sacramento’s Arco Arena.

Dudley went on to play for four years at Boston College leading the Eagles to the NCAA Tournament each season and a Sweet 16 appearance in 2006. Dudley was drafted 22nd overall in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Bobcats. He now plays for the Los Angeles Lakers.

(Photo by Verse Photography)


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