Video: Beyond the X with Aaron Gordon
Documentary of Gordon's quest for a state championship his senior year at Archbishop Mitty.
MORAGA, Calif. —
The Martin Luther King Jr. Classic hosted by De La Salle (Concord)
has been a Bay Area prep basketball jewel for the past 20 years.
We at MaxPreps are honored to be a part of one of the best one-day showcases in the state, if not West Region, which takes place Monday at McKeon Pavilion on the campus of St. Mary's College.
I've been lucky enough to attend all but a couple of the Classics since 1997, and every one of them since 2003, the first full year that MaxPreps was a national high school website.
With that in mind, here is my all-alumni list for those who have played in the event since that time. The games were played at St. Mary's College in Moraga before moving to Cal's Haas Pavilion in 2006. The games returned to McKeon last season.
This promises to be one of the best series of games yet. Live stream of the 2018 games
The criteria for these teams is fairly simple but of course subjective: 50 percent is weighed upon what these players accomplished in high school — not just what they did in MLK Classic games (though that helps) — and 50 percent of what they accomplished after.
FIRST TEAMLeon PowePosition:
CenterHigh School: Oakland Tech (Oakland)Years at MLK Classic:
2003Beyond high school:
A two-time San Francisco Chronicle Metro Player of the Year, the 6-8 post led Tech to two Northern California Division I titles. Following a great career at Cal, he helped the Celtics to an NBA title in 2008.
In six career seasons with the Celtics and Cavs, he averaged 6.2 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.
ForwardHigh School: Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills)Years at MLK Classic:
2006Beyond high school:
One of the greatest Sac-Joaquin Section players ever, Anderson led his team to a state Division II title as a junior in 2005. The 6-foot-10 power forward averaged 17.4 as a junior and 28.9 points and 10.9 rebounds as a senior. One of those games was a 65-60 win over San Leandro in the premier game of the MLK Jr. contest at Haas and Anderson had 29 points and 16 rebounds. Ben Braun was in the stands that day and gave his future star a bear hug afterward. Anderson went on to lead Cal in scoring at 21.6 per game in 2007-08 and declared himself eligible for the NBA draft shortly after. He’s had a notable NBA career that included being voted the Most Improved Player in 2011-12. His career scoring high was 2013-14 when he averaged 19.8 for New Orleans. Through 32 games this seasons with the Houston Rockets,
Anderson is averaging 10.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.
Aaron Gordon Position:
ForwardHigh School: Archbishop Mitty (San Jose)Years at MLK Classic:
2012, 2013Beyond high school:
is the only three-time Chronicle Metro Player of the Year while leading
the Monarchs to two state championship and three NorCal titles. He was
selected the 2013 McDonald’s All-American MVP. A regular on
SportCenter's Top 10 Plays of the Day segment while starring at Arizona,
Gordon played only one season for the Wildcats before being taken with
the fourth overall pick of the 2014 NBA draft by the Orlando Magic. He
earned global fame by finishing second in the 2016 NBA All-Star game
slam dunk contest. He’s considered one of the most improved players in the
2017-18 season. Through 27 games, he averaged 18.1 points and 8.0 rebounds per
game while shooting 49 percent from the field and 74.3 percent from the line.
He had a career 40 points to go with 15 rebounds in a 121-108 home win over
Oklahoma City on Nov. 29.
GuardHigh School: San LeandroYears at MLK Classic:
2007Beyond high school:
Oregon State, NBA
One of the smoothest and polished players in Northern California, Cunningham appeared at the MLK Classic as an unfinished product in 2007. He was only a sophomore. He really took off the next two seasons, averaging 17.8 points and a junior and 20.4 as a senior. He flourished at Oregon State, earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors as a sophomore (14.2 points, 2.83 steals) and first-team as a junior (17.9 points, 3.8 rebounds. 2.53 steals). He declared for the draft in 2012 and was the No. 24 pick overall by the Cavaliers who traded him to Dallas, who later dealt him to the Hawks. He played 44 games last season split between the Cavs and Bucks.
He’s currently playing overseas with Bayern Munich of the
GuardHigh School: Vallejo, Sheldon (Sacramento)Years at MLK Classic:
2003Beyond high school:
Duke, NBA, overseas
He graduated from Sheldon as California's career scoring leader before a productive four-year college career at Duke. the final two years there he averaged 14.1 and 14.5 points per game. He had short bouts in the NBA with the Warriors, Bucks and Bulls, but greater success in Europe. He was named first team All-Euroleague in 2014 and last season was named a 2016 French League All-Star. He currently plays for ASVEL Basket of the LNB Pro A
ForwardHigh School: Galena (Reno, Nev.)Year at MLK Classic:
2008Beyond high school:
Nevada, overseas, NBA
A three-time All-State player and two-time Gatorade Nevada Player of the Year, Babbitt scored a state-career best 2,616 points. He was the No. 13 recruit in the country his senior year and after two seasons at Nevada (in 2010 he was the WAC Player of the Year) was the 16th pick of the 2010 NBA draft. After three seasons with the Trailblazers, he played a season in Russia before catching on in the NBA. He's played in parts of seven NBA season, last year averaging 4.8 points and 2.1 rebounds in 68 games for the Miami Heat. Through 28 games — nine starts — for the Atlanta Hawks in 2017-18, the rugged 6-9 forward is averaging 6.8 points and 2.5 rebounds. Dior LowhornPosition:
ForwardHigh School: International Studies Academy (San Francisco)
, Archbishop Riordan (San Francisco)
, BerkeleyYears at MLK Classic:
2004, 2005Beyond high school:
Texas Tech, USF, overseas.
One of the most dynamic and chiseled players of his era, the rugged 6-foot-6 scoring machine led Berkeley to its first NCS title since 1978 with a crown in 2005. As a sophomore at Riordan, he broke the school's single-game scoring record with 48 before transferring to Berkeley, where he was the Metro Player of the Year in 2005 when he averaged 26.9 points per game. Lowhorn played a season for Bobby Knight at Texas Tech and then for legendary Eddie Sutton at USF. He's the only player in NCAA history to play for two coaches with more than 800 wins. In three seasons at USF, he averaged 20.5, 20.1 and 18.9 points per game and was the fastest in school history to score 1,000 points, breaking the mark of Bill Russell. Lowhorn was invited to pre-draft workouts with the Trailblazers, Kings and Warriors but eventually played professionally overseas for six years
Jabari Bird Position:
GuardHigh School: Salesian (Richmond)Years at MLK Classic:
2011, 2012, 2013Beyond high school:
A McDonald's All-American, the lean 6-6 guard was a three-time first-team All-Metro selection and he scored more than 2,000 points in his prep career. He led the Pride to a state title in 2012 and to a 100-8 record in three seasons. He was picked one of the top 20 players in the country by several scouting services. At Cal, he finished 25th all-time in career points (1,227) and was the team's top scorer last year as a senior (14.3). He was drafted by the Celtics in 2017 with the 56th selection overall and now splits time between the big squad and G-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.Jabari Brown Position:
Salesian, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)
, OaklandYears at MLK Classic:
2008, 2009Beyond high school:
Oregon, Missouri, NBA, overseas
Brown led Salesian to a state championship as a very polished sophomore, before heading to Findlay Prep for a half-season. He returned to Oakland, where he averaged 24.8 points per game his senior year. As a junior at Missouri, the 6-6 shooting guard averaged 19.9 points per game, earned first team All-SEC honors and declared for the NBA Draft. He eventually signed two 10-day contracts with the Lakers, scored 32 points in the team’s 2014-15 season-finale, but was the final cut in 2015-16. He signed with the Milwaukee Bucks, was cut Oct. 5, but signed the next day with the Jilin Northeast Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association. Ivan RabbPosition:
CenterHigh School: Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland, Calif.)
Years at MLK Classic:
2013, 2014Beyond high school:
A three-year starter at O’Dowd, the 6-10 post had an illustrious prep career, leading the Dragons to a combined record of 82-13, won three NCS, two Northern California and one state title. A two-time Metro Player of the Year, he averaged 24.5 points, 16.3 rebounds and 4.5 blocks his senior year. A McDonald’s All-American, he chose to stay at Cal for his sophomore season after earning second-team All-Pac 10 honors as a freshman. He earned first-team All-Pac 12 honors, averaging 12.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. He was the No. 35 pick overall by the Indiana Pacers in the 2017 draft and played on three of the team's first 35 games splitting time between the Pacers and the G League. THIRD TEAM
CenterHigh School: Deer Valley (Antioch)Years at MLK Classic:
2012, 2013Beyond high school:
current redshirt senior at Cal, Lee was a dynamic talent at Deer
Valley, where he averaged 17.7 points, 19.5 rebounds and 6.7 blocks as a
senior and 13.9 points, 13.1 rebounds and 9.1 blocks as a junior. He
led Deer Valley to its first North Coast Section crown in 2013 and was a
McDonald's All-American. In his junior season at Kentucky, he’s
averaged 8.4 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game and shot 68
percent from the field. He transferred to Cal where he redshirted for one season. This season through 13 games, Lee is third on the team with a 12.0 scoring average. He leads Cal in rebounds (8.8 per game) and field goal percentage shooting (57 percent). Brandon AshleyPosition:
ForwardHigh School: Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland)
, Findlay PrepYears at MLK Classic:
2010, 2011Beyond high school:
University of Arizona, NBA, overseas
The multi-talented 6-8 forward and three-year starter at Bishop O'Dowd transferred to Findlay Prep his senior season and averaged 15.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, leading his team to a 32-1 record and ESPN NHSI national title. At Bishop O'Dowd he led the Dragons to three straight NCS titles. A McDonald's All-American, Ashley played on the USA Basketball's U19 World Championship team before a solid three-year college career at Arizona. He was named the Most Outstanding player at the 2015 Pac-12 tournament before declaring for the NBA draft. He joined the NBA Hawks and Mavericks before being waved. He played for Alba Berlin of the Basketball Bundesliga last season, but now plays for the Texas Legends in the NBA's G-League. Through 17 games, he averaged 14.8 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Theo RobertsonPosition:
De La SalleYears at MLK Classic:
2003, 2004, 2005Beyond high school:
Cal, NBA coach
A three-year starter at both De La Salle and Cal, the 6-6 small forward was an All-Metro player as a senior when he averaged 17.1 points and 6.3 rebounds. He finished stellar high school career with 1,220 points and was school 3-point record holder when he left high school. At Cal, he was voted second-team All-Pac 10 as a senior and left as the school's best career three-point shooter at 44 percent. His scoring average increased every season at 6.0, 8.8, 13.1 and 14.4. He spent two years as Cal's Director of Operations, worked two seasons with the Golden State Warriors and another season as player development coach with the Lakers. He rejoined the Cal staff to start the season.
GuardHigh School: McClymonds (Oakland)Years at MLK Classic:
2007, 2008, 2009Beyond high school:
University of Montana, NBA, overseas
One of the Bay Area's most complete and unsung guards, the 6-foot point guard led McClymonds to a perfect 33-0 season and state Division I title by averaging 12.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 4.0 steals per game. He scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the state title win. The four-year starter led McClymonds to more than 110 wins but was highly under-recruited. He had a stellar college career, and finished first in school history in steals, fourth in assists and seventh in scoring. He averaged 14.1, 15.8 and 13.3 points per game in scoring his final three years at Montana and was considered its top defender. Cherry was a three-time first-team All-Big Sky performer. He played briefly for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014 and now plays professionally in the Croatian League. Alex HarrisPosition:
GuardHigh School: St. Joseph Notre Dame (Alameda)Years at MLK Classic:
2004Beyond high school:
The 6-5 shooting guard led the Pilots to the 2004 Division V state championship, hitting the game-winning 3-pointer in the final minute. He averaged 19.1 points per game and was the 2004 Metro Player of the Year. Not a blue-chip recruit, Harris found a home in Santa Barbara where he really blossomed his junior season, averaging a Big West Conference-best 21.1 points per game. He averaged 20.2 as a senior and was Big West co-Player of the Year and gained HM All-American status. He went undrafted but has a successful All-Star professional career overseas in Poland, Germany, Greece, Italy and is currently in Argentina. FOURTH TEAM
CenterHigh School: Newark Memorial (Newark, Calif.)Years at MLK Classic:
2004, 2005Beyond high school:
Cal, NBA, overseas
One of the most athletic prep centers we've ever seen, the then 6-10, 220-pound post was a first-team All-Metro pick his senior year in 2004 when he averaged 12.9 points, 11.4 rebounds and 4.4 blocks per game. He played four seasons at Cal as a defensive stopper and shot blocker mostly. He was the No. 50 pick of the 2008 NBA draft by the then Seattle SuperSonics. Various injuries, including a stress fracture to his left tibia, curtailed his NBA career but he played overseas professionally numerous seasons.Kyle RoemerPosition:
De La SalleYears at MLK Classic:
2003, 2004Beyond high school:
The rugged 6-3 forward led the Spartans to a 30-3 record his senior year, when they won the NCS and Northern California Division I titles. He led the team with averages of 16.7 and 7.1 rebounds per game while shooting 42 percent from the 3-point arc. He had a tremendous four-year career at Colgate, averaging 10.0, 11.4, 16.2 and 18.8 points per game his four seasons. He started 105 games in his college career and finished fifth in career scoring (1,640 points) and first in 3-points made (267). He was a two-year captain. Kyle SpainPosition:
Newark MemorialYears at MLK Classic:
2004, 2005Beyond high school:
San Diego State, Mexico, Europe
Ranked the fourth best small forward on the West Coast by Prep West Hoops, Spain averaged 17.1 points, 9.1 rebounds and shot 63 percent from the field his senior year when the Cougars went 29-5. He played on the same prep team as Cal post Devon Hardin and All-Metro point guard Trae Clark. He had superb college career at San Diego State under Steve Fisher, and was the team's leading scorer (14.0) and rebounder his senior year for a 26-10 team. He was a three-year starter and four-year contributor on teams that went a combined 93-43. He has since played overseas and had stints in NBA developmental leagues. Tim Pierce
Position: GuardHigh School: Fremont (Oakland)
Years at MLK Classic: 2003
Beyond high school: Arizona State, San Jose State, overseas
One of the most prolific scorers in Bay Area history, the 6-6 shooting guard averaged 28.9 points per game in 2003 before transferring to Hercules. As a sophomore, he scored 42 against De La Salle, the single greatest output against a Frank Allocco-coached team. As he senior had had a 51-point, 24-rebound explosion versus El Cerrito. He started three seasons at San Jose State and finished with 959 points in his college career, averaging more than 11 per game his junior and senior seasons.
De La SalleYears at MLK Classic:
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009Beyond high school:
One of De La Salle's greatest leaders in any sport, the 6-foot point guard holds the school record for assists in a season and career, most steals in a game (nine), all while leading the Spartans to a 114-10 record over four seasons. The only three-time team captain in school history, Smith helped the Spartans to a state championship as a freshman. He played four seasons at Cal, as a part-time starter, and, like at De La Salle, was considered the ultimate team leader and spark plug. Honorable Mention
John McArthur (De La Salle, Santa Clara) 2007-2011
, Marquette) 2011
Tydus Berhoeven (Manteca, Fresno State) 2017Jerry Brown
(Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco)
, Fresno State, Santa Clara) 2008
Oscar Frayer (Moreau Catholic, Grand Canyon University), 2016, 2015Kevin Greene
(Sacred Heart Cathedral, USC football) 2008Darius Nelson
(Sheldon, UTEP, Fullerton)Frank Otis
(McClymonds, SMU, Weber State) 2007, 2008Damon Powell
(McClymonds, Los Medanos, overseas) 2007, 2008, 2009Desmond Simmons
(Salesian, Washington) 2008, 2009, 2010
Solomon Young (Sacramento, Iowa State), 2014, 2015, 2016
(Sheldon, San Diego State) 2010, 2011
Justin Argenal (De La Salle, Chico State) 2004, 2003, 2002Dominic Artis
(Salesian, Findlay Prep, Oregon) 2009, 2010, 2011
Paris Austin (Bishop O’Dowd, Boise State) 2013, 2014Roderick Bobbit
(Castro Valley, Indian Hills CC) 2011Chris Brew
(Saint Mary's (Albany,
UCSB) 2006, 2009Will Brew
(St. Mary's, UCSB) 2006Mario Dunn
(Salesian, Montana) 2011, 2012, 2013Larry Gurganious
(St. Mary's, Gonzaga) 2003, 2004, 2005
Demari Milstead (Moreau Catholic, Grand Canyon) 2015, 2016, 2017Elliott Pitts
(De La Salle, Arizona) 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
Sayeed Pridgett (El Cerrito, Montana) 2016, 2015, 2014Junior Russell
, Fullerton State) 2005
Jordan Ratinho (De La Salle, USF) 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013Kendall Smith
(Deer Valley, UNLV) 2012, 2013
Cassius Stanley (Harvard-Westlake, Sierra Canyon) 2017
Quentin Thomas (Oakland Tech, Duke) 2003Amadi Udenyi
(De La Salle, Pepperdine) 2009, 2010, 2011Kwame Vaughn
(Skyline, Cal State Fullerton) 2007
Kyree Walker (Moreau Catholic, Hillcrest Prep) 2017D'erryl Williams
(Sheldon, San Diego State) 2010, 20-11
Other notable alums/athletes of the MLK Classic
* Mark Appel
(Monte Vista (Danville
) — 2009. Another Stanford graduate, No. 1 pick of the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft. Signed with Astros.
* Zach Ertz
(Monte Vista) – 2009. Stanford All-American tight end, now with Philadelphia Eagles.
* Kevin Laue
(Amador Valley (Pleasanton)
, Manhattan College) — 2008. Born with half of left arm, the 6-11 post started for Amador Valley-Pleasanton and Manhattan College. His life story "Long Shot" is a documentary film.
* Freddie Tagaloa
(Salesian, Arizona) — Projected NFL lineman.Leave someone out? Disagree with the ranking? Let us know about it below or e-mail Mitch Stephens at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MitchMashMax.