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. Sweet 16 voting wrapped up on Tuesday.
We now move into the Elite Eight.
The Gary McKnight region has been filled with upsets and in the Elite Eight, six seed Russell Westbrook from Leuzinger takes on Santa Margarita’s Klay Thompson, a five seed.
(6) Russell Westbrook, Leuzinger
Westbrook played at Leuzinger High in Lawndale. He was a two-time MVP of the Bay League. As a senior at Leuzinger, he led his team to a 25-4 overall record and a CIF Southern Section Division I-AA quarterfinal playoff appearance. Westbrook averaged 25.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 2.3 assists per game that season. He made 57 three-point shots and shot 76.0 percent from the free throw line as a senior. He totaled 14 double-doubles scoring 30 or more points eight times. His career high came against Carson when he put in 51 points in January of 2006.
Westbrook played college basketball at UCLA before being drafted fourth overall by the Seattle SuperSonics, the team that later became the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008. He now plays for the Houston Rockets. He’s a nine time All-Star and was named League MVP in 2017.
(5) Klay Thompson, Santa Margarita
Thompson led Santa Margarita to the Division III State Championship in 2008. The Eagles finished the season with a 30-5 record. Thompson was a first-team All-State and Division III State Player of the Year honoree. He was also the Trinity League MVP. Thompson averaged 21 points per game that season and in the state title game, he set a state finals record with seven three pointers made in a 72-55 win over Sacramento.
He went on to play at Washington State where he set the school’s all-time mark in 3-point field goals made with 242. He was drafted by the Golden State Warriors eleventh overall in the 2011 NBA Draft after playing for three seasons in Pullman. He has won three NBA titles with Golden State.
Russell Westbrook won 57-46 over Klay Thompson.