SAN GABRIEL VALLEY TRIBUNE 2017 BOYS BASKETBALL ALL-AREA PHOTO GALLERY
TRIBUNE BOYS BASKETBALL ALL-AREA TEAM
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Cameron Shelton, Damien, Junior
Cameron Shelton was a sophomore on the infamous Chino Hills boys basketball team with Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball that went 35-0 and won a CIF Southern Section Open and State championship, along with being recognized national champions by several publications following the 2015-16 season.
Shelton was a solid player off the bench for Chino HIlls, but his transfer to Damien put him in position for a bigger role and more responsibility, and he took the baton and helped Damien to one of its best seasons ever.
Shelton, a 6-foot-2 junior, averaged 22 points a game and set school records for most points (782) and steals (106) in a season and helped Damien to a remarkable 31-5 record as well as the CIF-SS Open Division consolation title, and a CIF-State Southern California Regional semifinals appearance.
Shelton expected to make a big impact, and knows what great players he surpassed to set the school single-season marks, passing Brian Jackson for the scoring record and Victor Lesley for the assist mark.
“It means a lot to set the Damien single-season scoring record,” Shelton said. “Especially since Damien has had so many great scorers over the years, guys like Jeremy Hemsley, Brian Jackson, Bryce Peters, Chris Reyes and Efrem Leonard.
“All those guys were great scorers and for me to be able to set the record, it feels great. It also says a lot about my teammates, we play a really unselfish brand of basketball and they had no problem with me scoring. They even encouraged me to go get the record when they found out I was close.”
For his efforts, Shelton has been named the San Gabriel Valley Tribune boys basketball player of the year for the 2016-17 season.
“Coming to Damien and having as big an impact as I did feels great,” Shelton said. “All the hard work I put in this summer with the team and the hours in the gym and the weight room certainly paid off.
“I believe that we’re one of the greatest teams in Damien history, if not the greatest, and to be a key contributor is certainly something special.”
While Damien didn’t win the hardware like the 2013 team that won the Division 3AA championship and finished 26-7 or the 2015 squad that won the Division III state championship and finished 29-5, one can make a solid argument the 2017 was still the best ever because of how well it competed in the prestigious Open Division, advancing to the semifinals, and then going on to win the consolation title with a 79-68 win over Eastvale Roosevelt.
Damien earned the top seed in the CIF State Division I playoffs, and performed well before being ousted by eventual champion Corona Centennial, a team it had beat during the Open Division playoffs.
Damien beat more talented programs in a season than any other time in history, and finished ranked 37th in the nation by MaxPreps.
“The season we had is something I expected from day one, so I’m not surprised at all,” Shelton said. “I knew we had a chance to be one of the best teams in the state and we had a great chance to win a championship so I’m definitely not satisfied with the way we ended the season. We wanted more and we’ll be back next year.”
And if there is anything Damien fans learned about Shelton, it’s that they should expect more of the same next year, when Shelton is a senior.
“One thing about me is that I’m extremely passionate about winning, I can’t stand to lose,” Shelton said. “I think out of my three years playing, I’ve played 106 games and I’ve won about 95 of them. Even with my travel ball team, Earl Watson Elite, we don’t really lose games. So everywhere I go I’m all about winning games and coming to Damien and playing for one of the best high school coaches ever (Mike LeDuc), we really saw eye-to-eye which helped the season become much easier because everyday we had the same goal in mind.”
Coach of the year: Mike LeDuc, Damien
Mike LeDuc added to his resume with a 31-win season that included a CIF-SS Open Division semifinals appearance, an Open Division consolation title and a CIF-State Southern California Regional semifinals appearances in helping Damien to one of its best seasons ever.
LeDuc built his legend at Glendora, where he won four CIF-SS titles, 15 league championships and 702 wins in nearly 30 years as its head coach.
But LeDuc returned to Damien in 2015, a place where he started his career from 1979-86, and in two seasons with the Spartans they competed in the CIF-SS Open Division each year.
But this past season proved special with Damien beating a laundry list of some of the best teams in the state, which included two wins over Long Beach Poly and Eastvale Roosevelt, as well as signature wins over CIF-State Division I champion Corona Centennial, along with wins over JSerra, Redondo Union and Fairfax.
And among the five losses, two were to Chino Hills and one each to Mater Dei and Sierra Canyon, who were among the best teams in the country.
For his efforts, LeDuc has been named the San Gabriel Valley Tribune coach of the year for the 2016-2017 season.
Guard: Nick Hart, West Covina, Sr.
Hart proved to be one of the area’s most prolific scorers, averaging nearly 26 points per game for the Bulldogs. He had 13 games with 30 or more points scored, including five with 40 or more. For his efforts, Hart was a first-team all-Hacienda League selection.
Guard: Joe Quintana, Bonita, Sr.
Quintana’s stellar prep career came to an end this season, but not before he became the school’s all-time leader in scoring, field goals made, assists and steals. Quintana averaged 20.2 points per game and 6.8 rebounds this season. He was a first-team all-CIF Division 1A selection.
Guard: Jarod Lucas, Los Altos, So.
Lucas make the All-Area team for the second consecutive season after leading Los Altos to the Hacienda League championship. Lucas averaged 25.3 points per game to go along with 7.8 rebounds and five assists. Lucas was named Hacienda League MVP and all-CIF for Division 1A.
Guard: Agassi Goantara, Walnut, Jr.
Goantara was a major reason why the Mustangs won 20 games this season and finished second in the Hacienda League. The junior guard averaged 16 points per game to go along with 5.8 rebounds. For his efforts, Goantara was a first-team all-Hacienda League selection.
Guard: Julian Lopez, Los Altos, Jr.
Those who thought Los Altos was a one-man show this season often got a taste of Lopez and didn’t like it. The junior guard proved to be quite the tag-team partner of standout Jarod Lucas. Lopez averaged 14.1 points per game, 5.9 rebounds and 2.1 steals. He was a first-team all-Hacienda League selection.
Guard: Donnell Leffridge IV, San Dimas, Jr.
Leffridge was the driving force behind San Dimas’ Valle Vista League championship this season. He averaged 17 points per game to go along with 4.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists and steals. Leffridge was named MVP of the Valle Vista League.
Guard: Jarren Ford, Bishop Amat, Sr.
Ford was one of the area’s top distributors this season as he helped Bishop Amat win 20 games and give a good showing in the Camino Real League. Ford averaged a whopping 8.9 assists per game. He also averaged two steals and was a first team all-Camino Real League selection.
Guard: Ethan Sims, Wilson, Sr.
The Wildcats may have struggled in the won-loss column, but Sims posted one of the better all-around seasons in the area. He averaged 22.4 points per game to go along with 9.1 rebounds. He had 17 games with 20 or more points and was a Valle Vista League first-team selection.
Forward: Justin Hemsley, Damien, Sr.
Hemsley’s prep career came to an end with a bang. The senior averaged 16 points and 12 rebounds per game. He broke the school record for rebounds in a season with 370. For his efforts, Hemsley was a first-team all-CIF Open Division selection.
Forward: Elijah McCullough, Damien, Jr.
McCullough was a major reason why the Spartans won 31 games this season against a very difficult schedule. He averaged 14 points per game as Damien’s sharpshooter from the outside. McCullough finished with 111 3-pointers, which broke the school record for most 3-pointers in a season.
Guard: Cameron Martin, Los Altos, Sr.
Guard: Jayden Alibey, Mountain View, Sr.
Guard: Curtis Hong, Rowland, Sr.
Guard: Ezekial Alley, Damien, Sr.
Guard, Ryan Dai, Walnut, Sr.
Guard: Malik Corey, Diamond Bar, Sr.
Guard: Angel Rivas, Covina, Sr.
Guard: Colin Cuniff, Damien, Sr.
Guard: Gjerard Wilson, Bishop Amat, So.
Forward: Oliver Lopez, Workman, Sr.
Forward: Ronny Rafeh, San Dimas, Sr.
Forward: Jamie Strong, Glendora, Sr.
Forward: Dalton Clevergen, South Hills, Sr.
Forward: Andrew Williams, Bonita, Sr.
Forward: Jermaine Braddock, Charter Oak, Sr.
FINAL TOP TEN RANKINGS
1. Damien (31-5)
2. Los Altos (21-6)
3. Walnut (20-8)
4. Bonita (19-7)
5. San Dimas (20-9)
6. Bishop Amat (20-7)
7. Rowland (21-9)
8. West Covina (15-13)
9. Workman (21-6)
10. Covina (17-12)
Baseline: Chino Hills
Camino Real: St. Anthony
Hacienda: Los Altos
Mission Valley: Gabrielino
Valle Vista: San Dimas