In its 32nd year, the CIF State High School Basketball Championships have fielded a number of stars who went onto college or NBA fame.
More could be headed this way at Sleep Train Arena, including Aaron Gordon of Mitty-San Jose, a 6-foot-9 marvel of skill and drive. He leads Mitty tonight against Mater Dei of Santa Ana with perhaps another NBA-bound body in Stanley Johnson, a 6-7 junior.
* Ticket reminder - Tickets for tonight's games includes as many games as one wants to take in (six total games), despite what is listed on the Sleep Train website indicating that there are two sessions.
* Radio reminder - On the SureWest Sports Radio Show from 8-9 a.m. on Saturday morning on ESPN1320, we talked at length in the first segment with CIF Executive Director Roger Blake about high school sports, the benefit of the Open Division, the wow factor of Sleep Train and the future. Go to ESPN1320.net for the podcast here
Here's a sampling of NBA players who played in CIF title games, including some at Sleep Train (or Arco Arena):
* NBA Launching Pad:
* Tracy Murray, Glendora, 1989 - Murray had unlimited shooting range and an unlimited green light, going for a state-title game record 64 points in the D-II finals at the Oakland Coliseum against, an 89-83 loss to Menlo-Atherton. He played 11 NBA seasons.
* Jason Kidd, St. Joseph-Alameda, 1992 - Seemingly NBA ready by his junior season, Kidd tore teams apart with passes and drives in winning two state D-I championships, the second one at Arco Arena in an electrifying effort that promoted CIF officials to want to keep the title games in that venue. In his 18th NBA season, Kidd plays for the Knicks.
* Jaron and Jason Collins, Harvard Westlake-Los Angeles, 1997 - Skilled and defensive minded as twin 7-footers, Brothers Collins powered their team to back-to-back D-III titles, including one over Grant at Arco as juniors. They have been in the NBA since 2001.
* Baron Davis, Crossroads-Santa Monica, 1997 - Unstoppable in the open floor with range and the ability to power inside, the Baron keyed a state D-IV title romp over Encina-Sacramento at The Pond in Anaheim. He logged 13 NBA seasons.
* Tayshaun Prince, Dominguez-Compton, 1997 - Long and active, Prince was a pest on defense and a very effective scorer for the national powers that won two state titles, including one at Arco. In the NBA since 2002, Prince plays for Memphis.
* Tyson Chandler, Dominguez-Compton, 2001 - A 7-foot shot-blocking wonder, Chandler was a three-time state champion, all at Arco. He is one of the NBA's top shot blockers now with the Knicks.
* Chuck Hayes, Modesto Christian, 2001 - Burly inside with good skills and a penchant to lead, Hayes powered the Crusaders to the D-I title game, falling to Mater Dei by three at Arco. He now plays for the Kings.
* Ryan Anderson, Oak Ridge, 2005 - Long at 6-10 and skilled enough to handle the ball and bomb three-pointers, Anderson keyed one of the state-title game's biggest stunners, a 60-44 rout of national No. 5 Mater Dei in the D-II finals. Anderson, The Bee's Player of the Decade for the 2000s, is now one of the NBA's top shooters, with New Orleans.
* Jru Holiday, Campbell Hall-North Hollywood, 2008 - A remarkable leaper, driver, dunker and defender, Holiday won three state D-IV titles at Arco. He is now an All-Star with the 76ers.
* Jeremy Linn, Palo Alto, 2006 - The pre-Linsanity era included a senior flying down the floor to lead a decades-old public school over nationally renowned Mater Dei 51-47 in D-II. Lin now plays for the Rockets.
* James Harden, Artesia-Lakewood, 2006 - Well before "The Beard" took over his face, Harden was a prolific scorer who keyed a state D-II title run. He's now with the Rockets.
* Klay Thompson, Santa Margarita, 2008 - The son of a former NBA overall top pick in Mychal, young Thompson torched Sacramento in the D-III finals with a state title-game record 7 three-pointers and 37 points. Chase Tapley of Sacramento had 35 in the 72-55 loss.
- Joe Davidson
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