Towards the end of December, Whitten Dominguez was hurting. Shortly after recovering from a shoulder injury, he injured his Achilles.
Despite the pain, Dominguez reached a point where he couldn’t just sit and look at the hardwood anymore.
“I got to the point where I was like, I just need to play,” he said. “I couldn’t even walk in the gym necessarily without being in pain, then during warmups, I could barely stride.
“But I just made the point, like, either my Achilles is going to break and I’m going to be out, (or) I’ve just got to go for it and start playing.”
With each passing game – starting with the Hart Holiday Classic – Dominguez slowly recovered. He went on to have a senior campaign that featured an average of 19 points per game, five rebounds per game and two assists per game.
His tenacity and dedication has also earned him the title of All-SCV boys basketball Player of the Year.
Although neither of his parents played basketball seriously, Dominguez is the youngest of four brothers who all played basketball. He spent his childhood on concrete courts in the backyard trying to keep up with his older siblings.
“I think having that helps because I was always playing against them and I was the smallest, so I was definitely getting destroyed in the backyard with my shots,” Dominguez, a Biola commit, said. “So I liked that a lot and then that’s helped me develop a lot.”
Dominguez helped the Indians to a Foothill League title, but cited his game-winning shot against West Ranch as one of his favorite moments of the season. He made the basket in front of the visiting Biola coaches and secured the win against a team who had beaten them in the first round of league.
“Whenever you shoot, you’ve got to believe it’s going to go in,” he said of how he felt in the moment. “You can’t shoot with doubt. What’s the point of shooting if you don’t think you’re going to make it?”
Taking a seat on the bench due to injury also helped Dominguez become a better player. He was given the chance to work on the small details of his game and also work to become a better teammate.
“It really came to the point where I can pout and be mad about being out, but I had to make a choice,” he said.
“Either cheer on my teammates and do everything I could to help them win still without doing anything essentially. So I made the choice to cheer them on, be encouraging and help teach the other guys.”
Dexter Akanno, Valencia, senior
Akanno was one of the most physical and aggressive player for the Vikings this season, averaging 15 points per game, four rebounds per game and 3.5 assists per game. He also earned a one-on-one training session from Steve Nash early in the season.
Austin Galuppo, West Ranch, senior
He used his 3-point shooting abilities to surpass 2,000 career points this season. Galuppo also logged 17.3 points per game, six points per game and four assists per game.
Adrian McIntyre, Saugus, sophomore
McIntyre had 24.5 points per game, 6.4 rebounds per game and 4.2 assists per game as one of the youngest and most talented players in the Foothill League this year.
Luca Robinson, Hart, senior
Robinson was an important counterpart to Whitten Dominguez and Tre Harrill throughout this season and led the Indians in taking charges. He totaled 14 points per game and six rebounds per game.
Jordan Starr, SCCS, senior
He took the Cardinals to their first-ever state title and was consequently named the CIF Division 5 player of the year. Starr and the Cards faced tough competition in the preseason as he recorded 12.3 points per game, 4.4 rebounds per game and 4.9 assists per game.
Andrew Austin, West Ranch, junior
Austin followed Galuppo for the Wildcats in terms of scoring with 17.1 points per game, four rebounds per game and four assists per game.
Luke Bodeau, Saugus, senior
As a top rebounder for the Centurions, Bodeau pulled down 7.1 boards per game. He also scored 16.3 points per game and had 4.1 assists per game.
Colt Cangemi, Golden Valley, senior
He was the Grizzlies leading scorer with 17 points per game. He also pulled down four rebounds per game and shot 38 percent from the arc.
Tre Harrill, Hart, senior
A Cal Lutheran commit, Harrill was part of Hart’s three-headed monster that also included Luca Robinson and Whitten Dominguez. He logged 12 points per game and five assists per game to go with a 44 percent shooting percentage.
Jayden Trower, Valencia, junior
Another player who can use this year’s momentum to catapult into a successful senior year, Trower had 41 blocks in addition to 10 points per game and six boards per game.
Canyon – Junior Camacho
Golden Valley – Micah McLaurin
Hart – Caleb Waldeck
Saugus – Dylan Spring
SCCS – Kaleb Lowery
SCVi – Peyton Stinson
Trinity – Tyler Lee
Valencia – Josh Assiff
West Ranch – Deaken Stangl