Blessed with a combination of explosiveness and a shooting touch, Adams mainly operated on the wing in Westchester's offense and wound up with averages of 18.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. He had 24 points, seven rebounds and three steals as the Comets beat Oakland Tech, 80-75, in the state title game. There was a common evaluation by many that if Adams operated on any less of a team, with perhaps only as little as one less talented teammate, his statistical averages would have soared.
Heading into the final weeks of the season, it looked like Adams might have to be pegged behind junior standout Leon Powe of Oakland Tech. But in the last two games Powe got into foul trouble and was not the Bulldogs' leading scorer while at the same time Riordan of San Francisco senior Marquise Kately was leading his team to the Div. III state title.
Kately's last performance in the state final, in which he had 24 points and 13 rebounds and several key plays down the stretch, was so impressive that it became too difficult to determine if either Powe or Kately should be considered the top player in the San Francisco Bay Area. Both Powe and Kately still scored major statewide honors this week as well. Powe has been named State Junior Player of the Year, while Kately has earned Div. III State Player of the Year honors.
Also chosen for statewide honors are Marvin Lea from M.L. King of Riverside as Div. II Player of the Year, Nate Carter from Horizon of San Diego as Div. IV Player of the Year, John Casnocha from University of San Francisco as Div. V Player of the Year, DeMarcus Nelson of Vallejo as Sophomore Player of the Year and Dwain Williams from San Joaquin Memorial of Fresno as Freshman Player of the Year.
There's no doubt Adams had a lot of help in leading the Comets to the CIF Division I state title and to a No. 4 spot in the final Student Sports FAB 50 national rankings. But even with the presence of such teammates as Brandon Heath, Brandon Bowman and Trevor Ariza, Adams still impressed enough observers that he was named by slightly more media voters we contacted as the one player they liked the most out of all who played in any of the state finals. Kately, Powe and M.L. King's Marvin Lea also received support.
Headed to the University of Arizona, Adams also emerged as a consensus choice for Mr. Basketball in recent weeks. He was named the Player of the Year by the South Bay Daily Breeze over a strong crop of local talent that included 6-10 Inglewood center DeAngelo Collins. He's been picked co-MVP of the L.A. City Section, played in the McDonald's All-American Game and was second team Parade Magazine All-American.
CAL-HI SPORTS MR. BASKETBALL
STATE PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
(All-time list; winners chosen retroactively before 1975 based on research by Cal-Hi Sports founder Nelson Tennis)
2002 -- Hassan Adams (Westchester, Los Angeles) 6-4 Sr.
2001 -- Tyson Chandler (Dominguez, Compton) 7-1 Sr.
2000 -- Tyson Chandler (Dominguez, Compton) 7-0 Jr.
1999 -- Casey Jacobsen (Glendora) 6-6 Sr.
1998 -- Tayshaun Prince (Dominguez, Compton) 6-8 Sr.
1997 -- Baron Davis (Crossroads, Santa Monica) 6-2 Sr.
1996 -- Corey Benjamin (Fontana) 6-6 Sr.
1995 -- Paul Pierce (Inglewood) 6-7 Sr.
1994 -- Jelani Gardner (St. John Bosco, Bellflower) 6-6 Sr.
1993 -- Charles O'Bannon (Artesia, Lakewood) 6-7 Sr.
1992 -- Jason Kidd (St. Joseph, Alameda) 6-4 Sr.
1991 -- Jason Kidd (St. Joseph, Alameda) 6-4 Jr.
1990 -- Ed O'Bannon (Artesia, Lakewood) 6-9 Sr.
1989 -- Tracy Murray (Glendora) 6-8 Sr.
1988 -- Chris Mills (Fairfax, Los Angeles) 6-7 Sr.
1987 -- LeRon Ellis (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) 6-11 Sr.
1986 -- Scott Williams (Wilson, Hacienda Heights) 6-10 Sr.
1985 -- Tom Lewis (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) 6-7 Sr.
1984 -- John Williams (Crenshaw, Los Angeles) 6-8 Sr.
1983 -- John Williams (Crenshaw, Los Angeles) 6-7 Jr.
1982 -- Tony Jackson (Bishop O'Dowd, Oakland) 6-4 Sr.
1981 -- Dwayne Polee (Manual Arts, Los Angeles) 6-5 Sr.
1980 -- Ralph Jackson (Inglewood) 6-3 Sr.
1979 -- Darren Daye (Kennedy, Granada Hills) 6-7 Sr.
1978 -- Greg Goorjian (Crescenta Valley, La Crescenta) 6-2 Sr.
1977 -- Cliff Robinson (Castlemont, Oakland) 6-7 Sr.
1976 -- Rich Branning (Marina, Huntington Beach) 6-2 Sr.
1975 -- Bill Cartwright (Elk Grove) 7-0 Sr.
1974 -- Bill Cartwright (Elk Grove) 6-11 Jr.
1973 -- Marques Johnson (Crenshaw, Los Angeles) 6-5 Sr.
1972 -- Cliff Pondexter (San Joaquin Memorial, Fresno) 6-7 Jr.
1971 -- Roscoe Pondexter (San Joaquin Memorial, Fresno) 6-6 Sr.
1970 -- Bill Walton (Helix, La Mesa) 6-10 Sr.
1969 -- Keith Wilkes (Ventura) 6-5 Jr.
1968 -- Paul Westphal (Aviation, Redondo Beach) 6-2 Sr.
1967 -- Curtis Rowe (Fremont, Los Angeles) 6-6 Sr.
1966 -- Dennis Awtrey (Blackford, San Jose) 6-9 Sr.
1965 -- Bob Portman (St. Ignatius, San Francisco) 6-5 Sr.
1964 -- Russ Critchfield (Salinas) 5-10 Sr.
1963 -- Edgar Lacey (Jefferson, Los Angeles) 6-6 Sr.
1962 -- Joe Ellis (McClymonds, Oakland) 6-5 Sr.
1961 -- Gail Goodrich (Poly, Los Angeles) 5-11 Sr.
1960 -- Paul Silas (McClymonds, Oakland) 6-6 Sr.
Note: Other selections go back to 1905 in Cal-Hi Sports Record Book and Almanac.
2001-2002 STATE PLAYERS
OF THE YEAR (BOYS BASKETBALL)
(All selections by Cal-Hi Sports)
Div. I: Hassan Adams (Westchester, Los Angeles)
Coach Ed Azzam told the South Bay Daily Breeze: "It would be hard to pick somebody I coached that is more athletic."
Div. II: Marvin Lea (M.L. King, Riverside)
The 6-5 senior with point guard skills and an all-around game torched Mater Dei with 28 points in Southern Regional upset and had 23 points in state final vs. St. Francis of Mountain View. He finished with 25.8 season scoring average.
Div. III: Marquise Kately (Riordan, San Francisco)
The San Jose Mercury-News Player of the Year averaged 18.9 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. Also chosen MVP of West Catholic Athletic League.
Div. IV: Nate Carter (Horizon, San Diego)
Perhaps the best testament to Carter's contribution to his team's Div. IV state title was that his teammates' scoring averages all seemed to rise as the season went along. The San Diego Union-Tribune Player of the Year averaged 21.5 points per game and had 23 points and 14 rebounds in state title game.
Div. V: John Casnocha (University, San Francisco)
Smooth-shooting 6-5 senior averaged 24.5 points per game in regular season, then upped it to nearly 28 in the playoffs. Had 31 in NorCal regional final win over Eastside Prep of Palo Alto and 28 in state final loss to Price of Los Angeles.
Seniors: Hassan Adams (Westchester, Los Angeles)
Also named Div. I player of the year and Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year.
Juniors: Leon Powe (Technical, Oakland)
The 6-8 postman is widely regarded as the No. 2 player nationally in his class behind Sports Illustrated and Student Sports coverboy LeBron James. Powe averaged nearly 25 ppg, including 27 and 32 in his first two CIF state playoff games.
Sophomores: DeMarcus Nelson (Vallejo)
After being named Cal-Hi Sports State Freshman of the Year last season, the 6-3 guard was spectacular as a soph. Averaged 28 ppg with 14 rebounds, 5.5 assists and five steals per game. Led team to 27-7 record. Had school record 45 points plus 14 rebounds vs. arch-rival Hogan.
Freshmen: Dwain Williams (San Joaquin Memorial, Fresno)
The 6-1 guard was a teammate of national recruit Antonio Lawrence and averaged nearly 19 ppg. Had 32 points in win over Dominguez of Compton.