Video: Highlights of J.J. Watson
Top plays from St. John Bosco high-scoring guard who will be at 20th MLK Jr. Classic.
They'll certainly pack St. Mary's College Jan. 16 for the 20th MaxPreps/De La Salle Martin Luther King Jr. Classic to watch 12 of the best boys basketball teams in California.
Make no mistake, however, top players are the top draw. Here are 20 players, in order, fans will gladly pay to watch, joining an elite fraternity from the two-decade-old event that include NBA players Aaron Gordon of Archbishop Mitty (San Jose), Ryan Anderson of Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills) and Luke Babbitt of Galena (Nev.). See game time and schedule of the games here
1. Cassius Stanley, Harvard-Westlake (Studio City)
The 6-foot-6 shooting guard is the No. 1 ranked sophomore in the state and No. 13 player overall by 247Sports. A high-flier, Stanley is known for his spectacular dunks. After 12 games, Stanley was averaging a team-best 19.2 points per game along with 6.1 rebounds. 2. Damari Milstead, Moreau Catholic (Hayward)
The 6-2 senior point guard is a fourth-year starter for the Mariners. A sophomore All-American, Milstead is averaging 23.3 points, 5.2 assists and 5.0 rebounds through the team's first 10 games. He's committed to Grand Canyon University in Phoenix (Ariz.) where he should join former teammate Oscar Frayer, who is a freshman there. 3. Kyree Walker, Moreau Catholic
Considered one of the top freshmen in the state, if not the country, the 6-6 guard is already averaging 22.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. He's a high flier with loads of poise and massive game. 4. Tydus Verhoeven, Manteca
The 6-7 senior southpaw forward is long and skilled. Through the first 13 games, Verhoeven was averaging team bests of 14.8 points, 11.2 rebounds and 5.6 blocks per game. The 3-star recruit has an offer from Fresno State.
5. J.J. Watson, St. John Bosco (Bellflower)
The 6-3 senior is the No. 39 recruit overall in California and through 11 games, he's averaging 21.2 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. He averaged 20.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per game as a junior. 6. Elijah Hardy, Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland)
The 6-2 point guard is the No. 99 junior recruit in the country, according to 247Sports. A tremendous passer, Hardy was on the 2013-14 O'Dowd squad that won a state Open Division title. He makes up one of the most dynamic guard trios in the state.7. Emeka Udenyi, De La Salle (Concord)
The 6-6, 230-pound power forward is one of the more unique and effective players in Northern California. Strong and powerful, Udenyi moves surprisingly well for a big man. He averages more than 12 points and 10 rebounds per game.8. Johnny Juzang, Harvard-Westlake
The 6-7 wing is one of the top freshmen in the state, if not the country. He already has an offer from Alabama. Through 14 games, Juzang is second on the Wolverines with 15.8 points per game and leads the squad in rebounds at 7.6 per outing. 9. Naseem Gaskin, Bishop O'Dowd
The 6-3 junior is a prolific scorer and third-year varsity player. Quick off the bounce, Gaskins can both slash to the basket and hurt opponents from 3-point range.
10. Darrian Grays, Modesto Christian (Modesto)
The strong 6-1 senior guard has taken over the No. 1 scoring duties for the Crusaders, averaging 21.3 points per game along with 3.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists in the first 10 games.
11. James Akinjo, Salesian College Preparatory (Richmond)
On a team utterly balanced, the 6-foot, junior is the one the Pride goes to most in clutch situations. A slasher and playmaker, Akinjo is probably a distributor first, but he's one of at least 10 Pride players capable of scoring in double digits each night. 12. Raymond Hawkins, Bishop O'Dowd
One of the top sophomores in the state, the 6-8 power forward is a physical specimen. He started on the team as a freshman and is good around the basket on a guard-oriented team. 13. Zachary Chappell, Capital Christian (Sacramento)
The smooth 6-4 junior point guard averages a team-best 15.1 points per game to go along with 5.1 rebounds. He's got an offer from Pacific. 14. Decaurey Brown, Newark Memorial (Newark)
The sleek and lightning quick 6-2 guard can score in bunches. 15. Alpha Okoli, St. John Bosco
The 6-4, 185-pound junior guard is second on the team in scoring at 13.8 per game and first in rebounds (8.5). He averaged just 6.1 points per game as a sophomore. Okoli has a lot of interest from Ivy League schools Harvard and Columbia, plus the University of Denver, Cal State Bakersfield and Cal State Fullerton.16. Jamario Bibb, Salesian
The 6-4, 190-pound junior looks far beyond his years, and plays like it, too. 17. Charles Neal, Rancho Mirage
The 6-3 junior guard is the team's leading scorer for a squad that has gone 43-4 since the start of the 2015-16 season. Neal averages better than 17 points a game for a team that averages 78.7.18. Dwight Young, Manteca
At 5-11 and 145 pounds, Young appears undersized for the next level. But they said that about Stephen Curry, too. With 35 3-pointers in the team's first 13 games, Young is Manteca's long-range assassin. He also shoots 88 percent from the line (45 of 51). He was a key offensive weapon for the Buffaloes' state title team last season. This year, he's the second-leading scorer at 14.6 points per game.
19. Matthew Ehrlich, Jesuit (Carmichael)
The 6-2 wing averaged 11.1 points per game last year but has upped that average considerably. Smart, heady and reliable, Ehrlich will also make the big shot and play in clutch situations.
20. Colby Orr, De La Salle
The 6-foot, 173-pound senior point guard is as heady and clutch as they come. Orr proved that by hitting the go-ahead basket and two free throws down the stretch in the NorCal Open Division finals, a 41-40 win at Sleep Train Arena on March 19.