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. The voting continued Wednesday with first-round matchups in the Gary McKnight region. In the final matchup in the region, Mater Dei’s Taylor King, a four seed, faced Klay Thompson, a five seed from Santa Margarita.
Here’s a look at the matchup:
(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.
(4) Taylor King, Mater Dei
King scored 3,214 points in his career at Mater Dei, which ranks in the top ten in the history of the state. He also grabbed 1,224 rebounds. King averaged 26.7 points and 10.9 rebounds per game as a senior in 2007 and was named a McDonald’s All American. He was also named Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Basketball that year despite Mater Dei losing 77-68 to a James Harden and Renardo Sydney led Artesia team in the Southern Section Division 1-AA title game. Mater Dei did win a Division 2 state title that year though with with King putting up 29 points, 15 rebounds, and three blocks in an overtime win over Archbishop Mitty. King led the Monarchs to Southern Section championships in 2005 and 2006 as well.
He averaged 26.7 points, 12.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.1 blocks per game, while shooting 45 percent from the field and 79.8 percent from the foul line as a junior. That year, King helped lead Mater Dei to a 33-3 record and state runner-up finish. He received numerous honors as a junior including the 2006 California Junior Player of the Year award. King was also named the California Sophomore Player of the Year after averaging 24.7 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.4 block per game, while shooting 42.6 percent from the field and 75.2 percent from the foul line in 2005. As a freshman, King averaged 14.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.1 blocks per game.
He went on to play college basketball at Duke for a season and then Villanova before starting a professional career overseas. He dealt with substance abuse issues while in college and in the pros that he overcame to continue playing. You can read more about King’s story here.
Klay Thompson won the total vote across Scorebook Live, Instagram and Twitter 99-60.