Basketball players

Meet SBLive’s 2021-22 National High School Basketball Players

Photo of Dariq Whitehead by Annette Wilkerson

We’ve officially transitioned from the 2021-22 high school sports season into the 2022-23 preseason, so it’s time to take a look back at the stars of the past fall, winter, and spring seasons before we start looking towards who’s next.

We started by highlighting some of the Volleyball Players of the Year and then came the top soccer players, male soccer players, and female soccer players in the country.

This week we featured the best female basketball players in the country, and now it’s the boys’ turn.

Vote now: Who was the National High School Soccer Player of the Year in 2021-22?

Vote now: Who was the National Women’s High School Soccer Player of the Year in 2021-22?

Vote now: Who was the 2021-22 National Women’s Basketball Player of the Year?

Over the next two weeks, we’ll also be featuring the top national stars in boys’ and girls’ track and field, softball and baseball.

Here are 20 high school basketball players who had a season worthy of national recognition.

Alabama: Barry Dunning, G/F, Catholic McGill-Toolen, sr.

Alabama’s consecutive Gatorade Player of the Year, 6-foot-6 Dunning averaged 25.3 points and 12.9 rebounds per game as a senior, leading McGill-Toolen (30-5) at halfbacks. class 6A finals. He will be part of Arkansas’ highly regarded freshman class in 2022-23.

Arizona: Dylan Anderson, F/C, Perry, sr.

The 7-footer led Perry to a 25-5 record and his first Class 6A state championship in 2021-22, repeating himself as the Arizona Gatorade Player of the Year. He averaged 13 points, 11 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 1.9 steals per game as a senior, and he’ll be an Arizona Wildcat next season.

Arkansas: Derrian Ford, G, Magnolia, sr.

The 4A state champ was named Arkansas Gatorade Player of the Year for the second straight time in 2021-22. The SBLive Arkansas Player of the Year finished his senior year averaging 23.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, and the four-time All-State winner will stay in the state to play college basketball for Arkansas .

California: Donovan Dent, G, Corona Centennial, sr.

Dent was the most consistent player on California’s most consistent team in 2021-22. The New Mexico signee led Corona Centennial to Southern Section and Open Division state titles in his senior year. He averaged 16.4 points, 6.7 assists, and 4.5 rebounds per game, shooting 53 percent from the field, earning honors as SBLive California Player of the Year.

Connecticut: Donovan Clingan, C, Bristol Central, sr.

Clingan topped the state as a senior, using his 7-foot-2, 270-pound frame to own the paint averaging 29.9 points, 18.1 rebounds and 6.1 blocks. He led Bristol Central to an undefeated season and its first state championship since 1990. He will be a hometown favorite at UConn in 2022-23.

Florida: Dariq Whitehead, G, Montverde Academy, sr.

On a team loaded with Division I prospects, Whitehead led Montverde Academy with 16.5 points, five rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game. It was named Sports Illustrated’s All-American Player of the Year after leading the Eagles to the GEICO Nationals championship, and he will play for Duke next season.

Georgia: London Johnson, G, Norcross, Jr.

The 6-foot-4 point guard was the engine that drove a balanced Norcross team to the 7A state championship in 2021-22. Johnson had a game-high 27 points along with eight rebounds and four steals in the championship game. The rising four-star hopeful remains undecided on his college choice.

Kansas: Gradey Dick, G, Sunrise Christian Academy, sr.

Kansas’ 2019-20 Gatorade Player of the Year at Wichita Collegiate School, the 6-foot-7, 205-pound guard was named National Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior playing for Sunrise Christian. He led the nationally ranked team with 17.9 points per game and will stay in the state to play for Kansas next season.

Kentucky: Reed Sheppard, G, North Laurel, Jr.

Sheppard finished the year averaging 25.5 points on 55 percent shooting from the field and is approaching 3,000 career points heading into his senior year. Sheppard is the son of two big names in 1990s Kentucky basketball – Jeff Sheppard and Stacey Reed – and he will follow them to Rupp Arena in 2023-24.

Maryland: Cam Whitmore, G/F, Archbishop Spalding, sr.

The 6-foot-7 Whitmore averaged 21.4 points and 10.6 rebounds per game as a senior, leading Archbishop Spalding (25-10) to the MIAA A Conference and Baltimore Catholic League semifinals. He will play for Villanova in 2022-23.

South Carolina’s former top-ranked player played his senior season of high school basketball for Link Academy and thrived on a star-studded team. The Tennessee signee was his team’s top scorer (16 points) in the national title game against Montverde Academy, and is expected to play just one year for the Vols before moving on. go to the NBA.

New Jersey: DJ Wagner, G, Camden, Jr.

The highest-ranked junior in the nation, Wagner led Camden to an 11th-place finish in the SBLive/Sports Illustrated Power 25 Finals. The son of former NBA lottery pick Dajuan Wagner is expected to decide between Kentucky and Louisville for college . He will try to become a three-time New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior in 2022-23.

Photo of Sean Jones by Jeff Harwell

Photo of Sean Jones by Jeff Harwell

Ohio: Sean Jones, G, Gahanna Lincoln, sr.

The 5-foot-10 Jones can fly the court whether on the fast break or the rim. He averaged 21 points per game while being the main enabler for Gahanna Lincoln to lead the Lions to a 24-3 record as a senior. The Marquette signee finished as Gahanna’s career scoring leader.

Pennsylvania: Dereck Lively, C, Westtown, sr.

The No. 1 ranked senior in the nation, Lively is a 7-foot-2 athlete who led Westtown to a 31-7 record and the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association state championship. He’ll play for Duke in 2022-23 and likely the NBA the following year.

South Carolina: GG Jackson, F, Ridge View, jr.

The 6-foot-9 Jackson led Ridge View to a 20-11 record and the Class 5A state championship while averaging 22.1 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game. A junior ranked No. 2 in the nation, Jackson committed to North Carolina.

Tennessee: Brandon Miller, F, Cane Ridge, sr.

Miller averaged 24.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.3 steals per game for Cane Ridge as a senior, leading the Ravens to the Class 3A state championship game. The Alabama signee was the 2021 and 2022 Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year and heads to the Crimson Tide as Tennessee’s top prospect.

Texas: Cason Wallace, G, Richardson, sr.

Wallace averaged 19.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game as a senior, leading Richardson (32-2) to the 6A Regional Quarterfinals. The McDonald’s All-American has signed with Kentucky and is considered a sole contender.

Virginia: Chris Livingston, G/F, Oak Hill Academy, sr.

Livingston was named Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year after winning the honor at Ohio in 2020-21 while playing for Akron Buchtel. The 6-foot-7 slasher led Oak Hill to a berth in the Geico National Tournament and will play alongside Wallace for Kentucky in 2022-23.

Washington: Dylan Darling, G, Central Valley, sr.

After making an invaluable mark as the sixth man on Central Valley’s 2020 State 4A finalist team, Darling (33.2 points, 8.5 boards, 5.8 assists, 4.4 steals) brought an undersized and less experienced Bears team back to the Tacoma Dome. The Washington State signee has broken records along the way while praising his efficiency (55% FG) despite his high shot volume.

Wisconsin: Seth Trimble, G, Menomonee Falls, sr.

Trimble finished his senior season with team highs in points (26.2 ppg), assists (4.2), steals (2.5), and blocks (1.6). The North Carolina signee swept the awards circuit in Wisconsin, earning honors as the state’s Mr. Basketball, AP Player of the Year and Gatorade Player of the Year.