Posted On: 04/2/18 1:30 PM
The 2017-18 high school season is officially a wrap, which is the perfect time to release some All-SoCal teams.
But instead of going through the same old worn out, mundane First, Second, Third type of squads, we’ll recognize some of the area’s top players in categorical form.
First up, the most improved players in all of Southern California this past season
Kaelen Allen, Sr., Westchester
Allen made his presence felt in his first and only season at Westchester after transferring from A.B. Miller. The 6-foot-6 center led the Comets to 30 wins, a Los Angeles City Section title, and was name the City Section Player of the Year. Allen, while undersized for the position, has a very good understanding of how to use his big body to his advantage. He gets deep post position, can finish around the basket with either touch or power, and him dropping a few extra pounds really helped his explosiveness off the floor.
Jackson Stormo, Sr., San Marcos (Santa Barbara)
Stormo was one of the most under-recruited players in Southern California before he committed to Lorenzo Romar and the new staff at Pepperdine. The 6-foot-8, 260-pound center has extremely soft hands, good feel with his back to the basket and is very mobile and light on his feet for his size. Stormo averaged 17.8 points and 12.8 rebounds per game while leading the Royals to their first CiF Southern Section title. One of the best aspects of Stormo’s game is his basketball IQ, especially when recognizing double teams and passing out of them to open teammates.
Derrick Carter-Hollinger, Jr., Foothills Christian
Carter-Hollinger as always “looked the part” and had the athleticism to make him an intriguing prospect, but he began to put it all together this season. The rangy 6-foot-5 wing put up averages of 17 points and 9.2 rebounds per game in helping the Knights to a 26-7 overall record. Carter-Hollinger scored 20 or more points nine different times and a lot of that was due to an improved 3-point stroke, especially from the short corners and his ability to get into the paint, draw contact, and get to the free throw line.
James Keefe, Jr., Loyola
If the Keefe last name sounds familiar, his father, Adam, starred at Woodbridge high school in Irvine before playing four solid years at Stanford. It’s pretty safe to say James got some of his father’s basketball genes. Keefe, a 6-foot-8, 205-pound forward, has an inside-out skill set, complete with dexterity with either hand around the basket and the ability to stretch the floor with a face-up set shot out to the 17-foot level.
Bryce Pope, Jr., Torrey Pines
Pope is well-known as one of the best jump shooters in SoCal, but this season he displayed an impressive all-around scoring repertoire. The 6-foot-2 shooting guard upped his scoring average from 6.7 points per game as a sophomore to 22.3 per contest as a junior. Pope matched or surpassed the 30-point threshold seven different times, including a season-high 36 in a win over Poway. Pope shot 58 percent on 2-point field goals, 46 percent on three’s and 84 percent from the free throw line. He was the leading scorer on a Torrey Pines team that won 28 games.
Malik Salahuddin, Jr., Long Beach Poly
Salahuddin was a integral piece to the Jackrabbits “guard movement” this season under coach Shelton Diggs. Poly didn’t have a regular rotation player over 6-3, but Salahuddin played much bigger than his 6-foot-1 frame led opponents to believe. The transfer from Mountain Pointe high school in Arizona guard multiple positions for the Jackrabbits, provided huge boosts of energy whether starting or coming off of the bench, and was a terror to cover in transition.
Ian Martinez, So., Cantwell-Sacred Heart
Martinez had an electric sophomore year for Cantwell and is one of the most explosive athletes in all of Southern California. The 6-foot-3 sophomore put up better than 17 points per game and was one of its youthful guards helping to lead the Cardinals to 20 wins in a year many expected them to be down. Martinez is explosive in space and in transition and gets unbelievable lift on his jump shot.