Chino Hills boys basketball coach Steve Baik has said all along he believes he has the best player in the country in senior point guard Lonzo Ball. Well a lot of experts agree.
The UCLA-bound senior picked up his second national player of the year award on Thursday when he was named Naismith High School Player of the Year by the Atlanta Tip-Off Club.
That comes one day after he was selected the 2016 Morgan Wootten National Player of the Year.
“It’s a great honor,” Ball said. “Right now I am just focused on the team and winning, I think when the season is over all of those other things will sink in.”
Ball has been the catalyst of a Huskies team that is 31-0 and ranked No. 1 in multiple national polls. Chino Hills won its first Southern Section Open Division championship last Saturday at the Honda Center defeating Sierra Canyon, ranked sixth nationally, 103-85. Ball tallied 20 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists in that game, making for an unprecedented 15th triple-double of the season.
On the season he is averaging 24 points, 13 rebounds and 11.7 assists. Averaging double figures in three categories was his goal going into the season.
“That was something I really wanted to do because I just missed it last year,” he said. “I knew I had a good team around me so it was possible.”
Making the individual honors all the more rewarding is that it comes in a year when he is playing with his two brothers as well as teammates to whom he is close.
“The chemistry is there and we all really like playing together,” he said. “I definitely couldn’t do it without them.”
The Huskies begin the state portion of the playoffs tonight hosting Immanuel at 7 p.m.
The team success has also earned recognition for Baik has been named Naismith High School Boys Coach of the Year.
The Huskies have topped 100 points in 17 games this season and outscored the opposition in the Southern Section playoffs by an average margin of 34.5 points per game.
The winners were decided by a select group of journalists around the nation based on outstanding coaching performances during the 2015-2016 high school basketball season.