Prep2Prep 2019-20 CCS Boys Basketball Honors
Hillsdale's Calvin Mader-Clark is the CCS Sophomore of the Year.

CCS Sophomore of the Year

Sophomore year is typically a window for emergence for top high school basketball players. Most teams that hang section championship banners can thank at least one player less than halfway through their careers, but generally speaking, those players typically provide a punch off the bench or have a couple of big games when opponents focus in on upperclassmen.

It’s far less often for a sophomore to lead a team to a section crown as one of the stars, but that’s exactly how Calvin Mader-Clark did it.

The 6-foot-5 sophomore was one of two key leaders on Hillsdale’s first team to win a section crown since 1997, and it’s scary for rivals to realize they’ll be dealing with him for another two years after he put up numbers that most seniors would be happy to post.

Over the course of Hillsdale’s 21-win season, Mader-Clark averaged 14.4 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.2 blocks. Initially feared as a 3-point shooter who knocked down shots from the top of the arc as in high-profile AAU tournaments as an eighth grader with Team Esface, he continued to display those skills from the outside by hitting 36 percent of his 3-point attempts while rounding out his game, showing that he’s got a complete set of skills with two more years to get even better.

“I felt rebounding is an area my team needed me to be productive in and I knew I had to step up to the challenge,” he said.

For more than a decade, teams in the Peninsula Athletic League were able to beat Hillsdale on the glass, but with Mader-Clark crashing the boards alongside Nick Robinson, those days were left in the rearview mirror.

“He has the ability to pull double-digit rebounds each game,” said Brett Stevenson, who stepped down from his head coach position following the season to take on a larger administrative role within the school. “Calvin has just scratched the surface.”

If just scratching the surface means seven double-doubles as a sophomore, the ceiling for Mader-Clark must be so high that it’ll require a spacesuit to reach it. The last of those double-doubles came on February 27, when the Fighting Knights beat Willow Glen 77-67 in the CCS Division II semifinals behind his 27 points and 10 rebounds. His high mark came in just the second game of the season, a 33-point outburst in a December 3 victory at Half Moon Bay.

His high-point games weren’t just in fast-paced affairs, though. He scored 22 and came one rebound shy of a double-double in a December 7 win over a Jefferson team that seldom allows big offensive performances, and on January 15, he had 21 points and 12 rebounds in a 58-48 win over Carlmont.

“No matter what position you play, you have to do the dirty work in order for your team to succeed,” he explained.

Not only did that mean becoming a better rebounder, it also meant playing through contact, which Mader-Clark did as defenses did everything in their power to stop him. Even if he wasn’t scoring from the floor, he got it done at the free-throw line, where he converted at an impressive 84 percent clip.

With all that he’s accomplished so far, the logical next step for Mader-Clark will be to continue honing his passing abilities. When the Fighting Knights defeated Christopher 58-40 in the CCS Division II Championship, he dished out four assists, and with point guard Junior Cotton graduating, he’ll likely be in a more visible role as a distributor while also creating some of his own shots.

“Valuing possession is still a major key to your team’s success,” Mader-Clark said.

Turnovers were a problem for him early in the season, but as the year went on, it was clear Mader-Clark not only understood the importance of maintaining possessions but how to do so himself. After 10 turnovers in a loss to El Camino, he averaged just a hair over two per game in his final 13 games and surrendered possession just four times in three CCS playoff games.

“Cal can see the floor as well as any player I’ve coached,” Stevenson added. “He has the potential to lead this team to another banner and leave his mark on our program.”

For his efforts this past season, we are pleased to recognize Calvin Mader-Clark as the Prep2Prep Central Coast Section Sophomore of the Year.

Other players considered for this award include St. Francis’ Harlan Banks, Sacred Heart Prep’s Aidan Braccia, Mitty’s Aidan Burke, Palma’s Joey Finley, Palma’s Nate Jean-Pierre, St. Francis’ Isaiah Kerr, Woodside’s Isaiah Minor and Sacred Heart Cathedral’s Ray-John Spears.

NOTE: We would like to thank our media partners, coaches, parents, players and fans for contributing photos for our all-section features. We salute all of the players that have made this a wonderful season of CCS basketball.