Mark Tennis and Ronnie Flores/ESPNHS offer up their five finalists for California's Mr. Basketball, plus list 25 other players. Here are the NorCal talents:
Among the First Five:
F Jabari Bird (Salesian, Richmond) 6-6 Jr.
The first team all-state junior and Mr. Basketball State Player of the Year finalist was the catalyst to Salesian’s Division IV state title appearance. He scored 24 points to lead his team to a come-from behind win over Price of Los Angeles in the championship. Salesian's leading scorer (18.7 points per game) and rebounder (4.8) is the No. 8 player in the nation for the 2013 class by ESPN.
F Aaron Gordon (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose) 6-8 Jr.
The great thing about being Mr. Basketball State Player of the Year is you get to be first team on everything else that applies. On the same court as the current NBA star, Gordon elicited memories of 1991 and 1992 Mr. Basketball Jason Kidd in the way he dominated play in leading his team to a second straight D2 state title. He's not as skilled as Kidd, but he dominates in similar fashion. Now he gets a chance to one up Kidd when he brings his 22.7 points, 12.8 rebounds and 2.6 blocks from this season back next year for a shot at a three-peat.
F Josh Fox (Sacred Heart Cathedral, San Francisco) 6-5 Sr.
Had things gone a little differently, Fox could have been one of the heroes of a Division III state championship. He still kept the Irish in the title-game loss to Alemany of Mission Hills with a team-high 19 points and seven rebounds. The team’s leading scorer (16 ppg) on the CIF Central Coast Section and NorCal D3 champions had an even better game in the NorCal title-game win over Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland. Fox had team-highs of 21 points and 13 rebounds.
F Dakarai Allen (Sheldon, Sacramento) 6-4 Jr.
His teammate, D’Erryl Williams, received a few more honors, but this talented junior led the way on the offensive end for the Huskies as they captured the school's first Division I NorCal championship. Both Allen and Williams averaged 14 points per game, but it was Allen, and not Williams, who was voted as the league MVP. The good news for us is that we ended up picking both players to the same teams so we didn’t have the problem of picking between them. Among those who have offered Allen include San Diego State, USC and Oregon State.
G Amadi Udenyi (De La Salle, Concord) 5-11 Sr.
When a coach like the Spartans’ Frank Allocco says a player is one of the best defensive and overall guards he’s ever coached, that certainly has some meaning based on who Allocco has had in his backcourt over the years. The defensive stopper that can penetrate and dish was also an excellent threat from outside after shooting 37 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. The team’s leading scorer (16.1 ppg) led De La Salle to a CIF North Coast Section Div. I championship as a junior and to a 10th this year as a senior.
G D’Erryl Williams (Sheldon, Sacramento) 6-2 Jr.
It was a year to remember for the Huskies, as they reached the state finals for the first time in school history where they lost in the Division I title game to Mater Dei. Williams averaged 14 points, seven rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. He is a guard who can penetrate, find open teammates and shoot from the outside. He already has been named the Sacramento Bee Player of the Year and joins teammate Dakarai Allen on three separate all-state teams. With the two of them and more returning, next year could be even better for the Huskies.