ALL-NORTH COAST SECTION
Player of the Year
JORDAN RATINHO, DE LA SALLE
By HAROLD ABEND
Jordan Ratinho of De La Salle could not have been a better player to have on the court for first-year Coach AJ Kuhle.
Now, after leading De La Salle to a sixth CIF Northern California Regional title and an 11th CIF North Coast Section championship, the University of San Francisco-bound Kuhle
has been named the Prep2Prep NCS Player of the Year.
“Jordan did everything we asked of him to make our team successful,” said Kuhle, who took over this season for legendary De La Salle Coach Franck Allocco, and played for Allocco on the
Spartans 2000 state championship team. “Scoring, passing, rebounding, shoot the 3-pointer, play tough defense, he would get the job done.
Ratinho was the offensive leader of the Open Division state runners-up with per game averages of 18.7 points on 69 3-pointers, 52-percent on his field goals and 82-percent from
the free-throw line, but as long 6-5 wing type player gave him the ability to guard taller players or quick point guards as well. He also hit the glass at a 4.8 rebounds per game pace.
His biggest assignment came in the state title game where he was matched up against McDonald’s All-American Lonzo Ball of Chino Hills. Ball and his mates on a team that was
ranked No. 1 in the nation by every major rankings service, would eventually take over in a 70-50 victory, but Ratinho gave him fits in the first half and the Spartans actually
led 30-28 at halftime of a game where Chino Hills got as good a test against any non-nationally ranked team as it did all season.
With Ratinho hounding him, Ball was only 1-of-7 shooting overall in the first half and 1-of-3 from 3-point range. He continued to defend him well throughout the second half but
when the dam broke in the late going, Ball got some easy dunks and finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
No one was mentioning Ratinho for any national honors but he outscored ball with 16 points, plus he had eight rebounds and three assists.
“He’s a winner,” Kuhle continued by text from a Sr. Kairos retreat that Ratinho is also attending. “I loved watching him play all year long.
His practices were especially great because of how competitive he was every day. He makes others better.”
Ratinho was a four-year starter at De La Salle with the first three under Allocco before he left last season to become an associate head coach at USF where Ratinho has committed.
The Livermore native was also a star soccer player prior to high school and before he started to grow taller, continuing from his 6-2 height when he entered De La Salle
Besides the Prep2Prep honor, Ratinho was named the NorCalPreps/Rivals Northern California Player of the Year and the San Francisco Chronicle Metro Player of the Year as well.
Coach of the Year
DON LIPPI, ST. JOSEPH NOTRE DAME
Don Lippi earned his 800th coaching win and led St. Joseph Notre Dame to a CIF State Division V title.
By HAROLD ABEND
In a year of significant accomplishments for St. Joseph Notre Dame-Alameda Coach Don Lippi, Prep2Prep is going to join the groundswell by naming him the North Coast Section Boys
Basketball Coach of the Year.
With an exciting 55-50 victory over St. Bernard-Playa Del Rey in the CIF Division V state title game, his 2015-2016 team won the school’s sixth CIF state championship and his fourth since
re-taking the Pilots helm in 2004.
The previous state championships for Lippi were in Division IV in 2004 and in Division V in 2011 and 2014. Lippi’s teams were also runner’s up three times, including a heartbreaking 47-46
loss to Horizon-San Diego in 2013 on a last second banked in 3-pointer. Still, that means he has seven Northern California titles in his current 13-year stint at St. Joseph Notre Dame.
The state title game victory also gave the 68-year old Lippi another milestone and that was his 800th career coaching win. Lippi is now the ninth coach in state history to reach
800 career wins. The list includes all-time leader Gary McKnight (Mater Dei-Santa Ana), Mike LeDuc (now at Damien-La Verne), Tom Orlich (Clovis West-Fresno), Mike Phelps (Bishop O’Dowd-Oakland),
Lou Cvijanovich (Santa Clara-Oxnard), Ed Azzam (Westchester-Los Angeles), Willie West (Crenshaw-Los Angeles) and Elio “Abe” Abrami (Emery-Emeryville). Of note is none of those coaches
or any that won 700 or 600 games won the milestone game in a state championship.
“Just to be in the NCS is an honor with all the great coaches I coach with, but to be honored as the NCS Coach of the Year is quite a special honor and a tremendous accomplishment for
our team,” said Lippi, who then added. “What you do at Prep2Prep by getting the kids involved as journalists is really neat. Thank you for honoring me.”
In a way it was a homecoming of sorts for a coach that began his career in 1980 at a St. Joseph that was all boys back then. It didn’t work out and Lippi began a journey that has
made him the only coach in California history to win a section championship in four different sections.
In total Lippi has won 11 section titles at four different schools in his 37-year career. After St. Joseph he went to St. Patrick-St. Vincent-Vallejo where he won one CIF Sac-Joaquin
Section title. After five years Lippi moved to Skyline-Oakland where from 1987-1990 he snagged two CIF Oakland Section championships. Lippi then crossed the bay to lead
St. Ignatius-San Francisco where from 1991-2003 his Wildcats won one CIF Central Coast Section title.
Lippi came back to St. Joseph-Notre Dame in 2004 and in his first year back the team was an NCS champion and a D4 state champion and he was named the Cal-Hi Sports State
Coach of the Year which is a rare accomplishment for a small school coach. The other six NCS championships have come in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and this past season.
Next year his Pilots are moving back to Division IV and Lippi has no plans on missing any of the action.
“My son is a grad assistant St. Mary’s so I’m going to watch him grow and learn from Coach Bennett, but other than that there is no change,” Lippi remarked. “I’m happy, I’m in
good health, I love what I’m doing, I get along with the kids, and I live across the street from the school. I’m starting to write a book about all the experiences and the people I’ve
met, so some day I might retire and write the book, but right now I’m looking forward to D4 next year. I’m not going anywhere.”
Senior of the Year
SAYEED PRIDGETT, EL CERRITO
Pridgett was the Most Valuable Player in the Tri-County Athletic League-Rock division, a league in which three of its six teams won section titles in their respective divisions. The Montana
commit scored 34 points in the NCS Division II title game win over Newark Memorial, a win which avenged a two-point regular-season loss.
Junior of the Year
DAMARI MILSTEAD, MOREAU CATHOLIC
The Most Valuable Player in the Mission Valley Athletic League led the Mariners to the NCS Division III title, and has offers from schools such as Cal, USC, and Oregon State.
“Damari is one of the toughest competitors I’ve ever coached,” said Moreau coach Frank Knight. “He works on his craft every day with the goal of being the best point guard in his class.
He still has a very high ceiling and will only get better as his career continues.”
Sophomore of the Year
JAMES AKINJO, SALESIAN
Akinjo helped lead the Pride to the NCS Division IV crown with his ability to score both by getting to the rim and with his outside shooting. He is also able to take away opposing
scorers in the backcourt as a strong defender. He was second-team all-TCAL-Rock, and was the team’s leading scorer in an overtime loss to De La Salle in the NorCal Open division.
Freshman of the Year
JADEN MCCLANAHAN, SALESIAN
McClanahan is another example of why Salesian will be a force again for the next few years, having started every game at point guard for the section champions. Jaden, his twin brother,
Jovon, Akinjo, and Derrick Langford will form arguably the most dynamic backcourt in the section for the next couple seasons.
FIRST TEAM ALL-NCS
Calvin Geraci, San Marin
The Chico State-bound guard shouldered the load this season for the Mustangs, who lost two other veteran starters to injury. He was the Most Valuable Player of the Marin County Athletic
League, averaging over 23 points and eight rebounds per game. That included 31 points in a playoff victory over Tamalpais.
Oscar Frayer, Moreau Catholic
Described by coach Frank Knight as a “walking double-double and a terror on the defensive end,” Frayer averaged over 15 points and 10 rebounds per game. The Grand Canyon commit had
double-doubles in every NCS playoff game, and scored 37 points in a NorCal playoff loss to Sheldon.
SECOND TEAM ALL-NCS
Gabe Knight, Windsor
The Most Valuable Player of the North Bay League was another double-double machine nearly every game, averaging over 17 points and eight rebounds per game. Knight led the Jaguars to 25
wins and a perfect regular-season in the NBL.
Nikhil Peters, De La Salle
The four-year starter and lockdown defender, Peters combined with Ratinho to form one of the top all-around veteran duos in the state. He has interest from several schools, and received
an offer last summer from Montana.
THIRD TEAM ALL-NCS
Eddy Ionescu, Miramonte
Ionescu was named Most Valuable Player of the Diablo Foothill Athletic League, and led the Matadors to the NCS Division III title game, with wins over Albany and San Marin
in the post-season. He was one of the top scorers in the section.
John Ketchel, Freedom
The Most Valuable Player from the Bay Valley Athletic League guided the Falcons to back-to-back undefeated league seasons, as Freedom won the league in all three of Ketchel’s
seasons as a starter. He was the team’s cool presence on the court during big wins over Folsom, Berkeley, and Monte Vista, and an overtime loss to eventual state champion Manteca.
Josh Friedkin, Marcus Simon
Nick Fujii, Aidan Toner-Rodgers
Nathan Heidrick, CJ Gray
Ben Baker, Brian Morris
Naseem Gaskin, Elijah Hardy
Henry Feinberg, Connor Jackett
Bryce Thompson, Daniel Bessolo
Garrett Pascoe, Matt Osterkamp
Jayson McMillan, Marcus Poe
Dru Solis, Romeo Campbell
Jushan Samra, Jesse Grabow
Skylar Chavez, Brandon Vergara
Tre Gray, Aaron Banks
Brad Martin, Nathan Hansen
Seth Cobb, Sam Novitske
Lane Sotomayor, Sam Betts
Michael Steadman, Micah Webster-Butler
Travis August, Darius Scott
LIVERMORE VALLEY CHARTER PREP:
MISSION SAN JOSE:
Patrick Ramos, Frederick Steen
Decaurey Brown, Mazae Boyd
Sean Rodriguez, Jordan Torio
Rickey Edmerson, Ifeanyi Udoh
Mike Sullivan, Jordan Jackson
Derek E’Denchukwu, Brandon McGhee
SAN RAMON VALLEY:
ST. JOSEPH NOTRE DAME:
ST. PATRICK-ST. VINCENT:
BJ Standley, Tavian Henderson
Zeke Crawford, Axavier Byrd
James Finn, RJ Cutkelvin