The most dominant and talented big men throughout California high school boys basketball are hitting their strides as teams across the state look to lock up postseason berths in the coming weeks. From Torrey Pines’ Otto Landrum to Vanden’s Takai Hardy, California is stocked with bigs.
The main criteria for SBLive’s top centers are 2021-22 statistics, film review, discussions with coaches and college interest. The list was compiled by SBLive reporter Connor Morrissette.
We will continue to release lists of the top players in California at every position, including power forward. Since there is so much crossover between centers and power forwards, some bigs won’t be listed as centers but will be included in our power forwards list. Players like Crean Lutheran’s Koat Keat, St. Anthony’s Elijah Price and Serra San Mateo’s Garret Keyhani fall into that category.
TOP CENTERS IN CALIFORNIA BOYS BASKETBALL
(Players are listed in alphabetical order)
Collins Acheampong – Fairmont Prep – Junior
Acheampong is a true bruiser in the paint. He scored 14 points in a 72-67 win over Capistrano Valley Christian earlier this season. He put in 17 in a loss to St. Bernard earlier this year as well.
Henri Adiassa – Crossroads – Senior
Adiassa is a Lehigh signee. In the championship game of the Beverly Hills Tournament on Dec. 12, a 74-56 win for Crossroads over Santa Clarita Christian, Adiassa scored 13 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.
James Agany – Crean Lutheran – Senior
Agany is one of the many 7-footers on the list. He grabbed 11 rebounds in Crean Lutheran’s 73-64 Tarkanian Classic championship win over John Paul II on Dec. 21.
Kwabena Banahene – Rancho Cucamonga – Senior
Banahene oftentimes finishes with more rebounds than points for Rancho Cucamonga, like when he grabbed 12 boards and scored six points in the Cougars’ 48-36 Baseline League win over Los Osos on Jan. 4.
Tee Bartlett – Mater Dei – Freshman
Bartlett starts at Mater Dei as a freshman. The 6-10 center has high major potential and he should improve every season he plays under Gary McKnight.
Jake Bennett – Tesoro – Junior
Bennett’s had multiple double-doubles this season for a Tesoro team that’s started the year 18-3.
Bronson Burrow – Ripon – Senior
Burrow also plays tight end at Ripon. On the hardwood, he scored 23 points and grabbed ten rebounds against Escalon on Jan. 13. Five days earlier he scored 14 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in a win over Riverbank.
Cahal Connolly – Bishop O’Dowd – Senior
Connolly is committed to Claremont McKenna.
Sidy Diallo – St. Paul – Senior
Diallo is another 7-footer. The senior scored 21 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and recorded five blocks in St. Paul’s 79-57 win over La Salle on Jan. 10.
Xavier Edmonds – Bishop Montgomery – Junior
Edmonds has received scholarship offers from New Mexico and Portland State. He scored 18 points in Bishop Montgomery’s 76-41 win over Capital Christian earlier this season at the Mission Prep Christmas Classic.
Joseph Espy – Pleasant Grove – Senior
Espy has been dominant for Pleasant Grove in his senior year. He scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the Eagles’ 52-39 win over Franklin on Jan. 12. Two games prior to that, he scored 13 points and snagged 16 rebounds in a 63-56 win over Cosumnes Oaks.
Christian Estrada – St. John Bosco – Senior
Estrada is one of the Braves senior leaders this season. He scored 23 points in St. John Bosco’s 69-61 win over Orange Lutheran on Jan. 12. Estrada also led the Braves with 13 points in their 62-56 loss against Corona Centennial at the Classic at Damien.
Dennis Evans – Hillcrest – Junior
Evans averages 7.3 blocks per game, which leads the nation. He blocked a school record 16 shots in Hillcrest’s 74-38 win over Norte Vista on Jan. 13. Evans has received a scholarship offer from UC Riverside.
Jazz Gardner – Los Altos – Junior
Gardner has a brilliant offensive game for a seven-footer. He has strong handles and can step out and shoot threes in addition to performing the usual duties required of a center. Gardner has five triple doubles in 13 games so far this year.
Pierre Geneste – Heritage Christian – Junior
Geneste led Heritage Christian with 14 points in the Warriors’ 61-40 win over San Marcos earlier this year.
Takai Hardy – Vanden – Senior
Hardy has a handful of Division 1 offers. He averages double-digit points per game and is one of the most athletic bigs on this list.
Otto Landrum – Torrey Pines – Senior
Landrum is a Boston University signee. In Torrey Pines’ 2021 Holiday Classic Tip Off Night game against San Ysidro, Landrum recorded a triple-double with 17 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in a 67-62 loss.
Landon Lewis – Harvard-Westlake – Senior
Lewis is committed to Brown. He’s battled injuries in his high school career but is healthy as a senior and playing well. Lewis scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds in a 61-53 win over Crossroads earlier this season.
Andrew McKeever – Granada – Senior
Mckeever is a 6-foot-11 big man who can shoot. He scored 18 points and grabbed ten rebounds in a 59-56 loss to Dublin on Jan. 12.
Jeremiah Nyarko – Sierra Canyon – Senior
Due to transferring from St. John Bosco, Nyarko had to sit out at Sierra Canyon until a few weeks ago. He’s now eligible and will help the Trailblazers Southern Section Open Division Division playoff push next month. Nyarko has received scholarship offers from Cal Poly, San Jose State and USC.
Jimmy Oladokun – Damien – Junior
Oladokun is player that’s improved every season he’s been in high school. The junior scored 19 points in an 80-57 win over Jesuit at the Classic at Damien.
Larry Olayinka – Birmingham – Senior
Olayinka is the top big in the LA City Section. Last season, he led the Patriots to an Open Division City title. Olayinka scored 12 points and had five blocks in a 57-56 win over Oxnard on Jan. 12.
Prince Oseya – Modesto Christian – Junior
Oseya is one of the top junior bigs in the state. He scored 10 points, snagged 12 rebounds and had six blocks in a 73-46 win over Clovis East earlier this season.
John Squire – St. Ignatius – Junior
Squire is arguably the top big man in the San Francisco area. He scored 13 points in a 65-48 win over Marin Catholic earlier this season.
Devin Williams – Corona Centennial – Junior
Williams was named a Classic at Damien All-Tournament first team selection by SBLive last month. Here’s the write up on the junior center: “Williams scored 16 points in the Huskies’ final game of the week, a 66-56 win over Crean Lutheran. Prior to that, he put in 20 points in Corona Centennial’s win over St. John Bosco. Unofficially, Williams led the tournament in blocks and dunks.”
Williams has received scholarship offers from five schools including Nevada and New Mexico.
Kijani Wright – Sierra Canyon – Senior
Wright is committed to USC and is arguably the top big man in the state. He scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in Sierra Canyon’s 63-46 win over Missouri Parkview at the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions on Jan. 13.