LOS ANGELES – The John R. Wooden Award Committee today announced the six winners of the 2008 John R. Wooden High School Player of the Year Award: Los Angeles City Section-Larry Drew, Jr. (Taft HS); CIF Southern Section Division I-Jordan Hamilton (Compton Dominguez HS); CIF Southern Section Division II-Michael Snaer (Ranch Valley HS); CIF Southern Section Division III-Jrue Holiday (Campbell Hall HS); CIF Southern Section, Division IV-Montreal Harris (Twentynine Palms HS); CIF Southern Section Division V-Keith Shamburger (La Verne Lutheran HS). Each winner will receive a plaque and $500 in his name donated to his high school’s athletic fund. Winners will be recognized during a black-tie banquet that also honors the collegiate John R. Wooden All-America teams and Legends of Coaching winner Pat Summitt of Tennessee.
“Southern California has a rich history of exceptional high schoolathletes,” said Duke Llewellyn, Chairman of the John R. Wooden Award. “These young men have attained a well-deserved honor that places them among those great athletes. We have enjoyed watching them during this exciting year of high school basketball.”
Chosen by a panel of local area prep sports experts, the John R. Wooden Award High School Player of the Year Award is presented annually to the most valuable player in each of the five California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Southern Section divisions and the Los Angeles City Section. Past winners include NBA standouts Baron Davis, Tayshaun Prince, Tyson Chandler and Andre Miller.
Los Angeles City Section-Larry Drew, Jr., Senior, Taft High School, Woodland Hills. The University of North Carolina-bound guard averaged 16.1 points 4.9 rebounds and 9.8 asst per game this season. He posted a 35-point game, another contest with 19 assists and three triple-double games while leading Taft to the Los Angeles City Championship. Drew was named the Los Angeles City Player of the Year, West Valley League Player of the Year and was chosen to the McDonald’s All-American Team.
CIF Southern Section, Division V-Keith Shamburger, Sophomore, La Verne Lutheran High School, La Verne. Shamburger led La Verne Lutheran to a perfect regular season record of 24-0, and the Arrowhead League Championship. He then led his squad to its first CIF Southern Section Championship in Division VAA. His contributions of 16 points per game, 8 assists, 7 rebounds and 3 steals earned him honors as Arrowhead League Offensive Player of the Year and CIF Southern Section Division V Co-Player of the Year. His leadership extends to the classroom, where he carries a 3.7 GPA.
CIF Southern Section, Division IV-Montreal Harris, Junior, Twentyninepalms High School. Twentynine Palms. Harris has been the De Anza League MVP for three straight years. He earned CIF Division 3 first-team honors as a freshman, and was the CIF Division IVA Player of the Year as a sophomore. This year, he averaged 22 points, 11 rebounds, 5.5 steals, and 3.2 assists per game while leading Twentynine Palms back to the Division IVA championship game. A three-time All-State player, Harris capped off this season by again being named Division IVA Player of the Year.
CIF Southern Section Division III-Jrue Holiday, Senior, Campbell Hall High School, North Hollywood. As a UCLA-bound senior, team captain and a nationally known player, the expectations for Holliday were high, and he surpassed them in his final prep season. He led Campbell Hall to its second straight state championship and the third championship in four years. He averaged 25.6 points per game, 12.0 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 4.6 steals, and became the No. 2 all-time scorer in the history of the San Fernando Valley. Holliday was named to the McDonald’s All-American Team, and will play in the Jordan Classic. He has been honored as the Most Valuable Player of the Olympic League, the Southern Section Division IIIAA Player of the Year and is the Gatorade National Player of the Year.
CIF Southern Section Division II-Michael Snaer, Junior, Ranch Verde High School, Moreno Valley. Snaer led Rancho Verde to a 23-7 record (15-7, 8-0), a second straight Inland League Championship and the CIF Division IIA title. He increased his numbers with averages of 19 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals per game while hitting 47 3-pointers. He is currently the third leading scorer in school history and will comfortably move into second during his senior year. Snaer was selected MVP of the Inland Valley League and was named CIF Player of the Year for Division IIA. Michael also gets it done in the classroom, currently carrying a 3.2 GPA.
CIF Southern Section Division 1-Jordan Hamilton, Junior, Dominguez High School, Compton. Hamilton is the fifth Wooden Award High School Player of the Year to hail from Dominguez High Schoolm after he led his school to the Division IAA Championship, averaging 29.5 points, 13 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. In recognition of his accomplishments, he was named Division IAA Player of the Year, the San Gabriel Valley League Player of the Year, the Most Valuable Player of the Max Preps Holiday Tournament, All-Tournament player at the Westchester Tip-Off Tournament and Amare Stoudamire Invitational Classic and the Los Angeles Sentinel Player of the Year.