Why the CIF Southern Section’s boys basketball class of 2020 is projected by NBA scouts to go down as one of its best ever (column)

The CIF Southern Section has a laundry list of alumni who are established stars in the NBA.

From Russell Westbrook (Leuzinger ’06) to James Harden (Artesia ’07) to Kawhi Leonard (M.L. King ’09), the CIFSS can currently claim several of the top basketball players in the world.

In 2008 the Southern Section produced one of the best classes to ever come out of any region of the country: Paul George (Palmdale Knight), Klay Thompson (Santa Margarita), Jrue Holiday (Campbell Hall), and DeMar DeRozan (Compton). That foursome already has a combined 16 NBA All-Star appearances, with more to come.

And there’s a chance that the CIFSS class of 2020 could be even better.

If you’re an NBA fan, you’ve probably heard the rumblings about the 2021 NBA Draft. For several years now, college scouts, NBA scouts, and other NBA front office members have been at a consensus that 2021 projects as a generational draft class, one that could be the best of its decade. Many teams have been building their future plans around the promise of this draft class.

Kevin O’Connor on Twitter

Golden State ended up getting the draft pick that it wanted, as I reported earlier this week. Minnesota was originally offering a protected 2020 first-round pick, which was a non-starter for the Warriors. The 2021 draft class is stronger and deeper than what is a weak 2020 class. https://t.co/ucIOTeiCvB

SB Nation NBA on Twitter

The 2021 NBA Draft will be loaded. Start planning (or tanking) now. https://t.co/EGVtwemghH

And in this hyped-up draft class, five Southern Section seniors, about to be college freshmen, are projected to go in the first round. And there’s a chance that all five get picked in the top 20.

Three of them – Rancho Christian C/F Evan Mobley (USC), Sierra Canyon SG/SF Brandon Boston Jr. (Kentucky), and Sierra Canyon SF/PF Ziaire Williams (Stanford) are projected to go in the top 10. Mater Dei PG/SG Devin Askew (Kentucky) and Mayfair SG/SF Josh Christopher (Arizona State) are both projected first-round picks with a chance of going in the lottery.

In a draft class widely considered to have so much top-end talent and also depth, that means there’s a real chance that every one of those five guys ends up being a big-time NBA player.

Another player in the Southern Section’s graduating class who has been talked about within NBA circles as a serious draft candidate a few years from now is Rancho Christian 4-star SG Dominick Harris (Gonzaga). He realistically could be a strong first-round prospect as early as 2022, and my personal opinion is that he is well suited to have a successful NBA career.

It will be difficult to surpass the 2008 class that could finish with close to 25 NBA All-Star appearances — and three rings and counting from Klay Thompson alone. But I would be surprised if 10 years from now — looking through an NBA lens — we don’t look back at this group as one of the very best the CIFSS has ever produced.

Looking beyond the projected NBA prospects, the Southern Section class of 2020 is historically deep. It has a long list of nationally-ranked players with great chances to be future college stars and potential overseas pros — and maybe even NBA players down the line.

There are several players who aren’t currently drawing NBA buzz, but could have big futures playing basketball. To name a few: 4-star SGs Ian Martinez (Utah) of JSerra and Jaylen Clark (UCLA) of Etiwanda, 3-star PF Terren Frank (TCU) of Sierra Canyon, and 3-star C Boubacar Coulibaly (USC) of San Gabriel Academy.

Scorebook Live will keep you in the loop as Mobley, Boston, Williams, Askew, and Christopher progress towards the 2021 NBA Draft, and dozens of other 2020 CIFSS alumni move forward in their promising basketball careers.

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