OAKLAND -- Bishop O'Dowd High junior Ivan Rabb was already considered one of the best boys basketball players in the nation when he started the 2013-2014 high school season.
The 6-foot-10 power forward reinforced that reputation over the past five months, showing his high level of play with dominant performances. For his outstanding season, Rabb has been named the Bay Area News Group's East Bay Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
"He's had a very good season. He's gotten better. He's continued to grow as a person on and off the court," Bishop O'Dowd coach Lou Richie said. "As good a player he is, he is even a better person."
Rabb is the No. 1-ranked junior in the country, regardless of position, according to espn.com. But a national reputation didn't stop him from wanting to improve this season.
"I worked hard the whole summer, and I think my work ethic, my composure, my competitive nature and my confidence came up (this season)," Rabb said.
He also worked on his jump shooting, his ball handling and strength. His statistics were certainly strong -- Rabb averaged 27 points and 14 rebounds per game this season.
Yet the first thing Rabb talked about in an interview was his team.
"I feel like we came together as a team, especially in the playoffs," Rabb said. "They are like my brothers."
Both Rabb and Richie point to games at the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas in December as ones that stand out. Rabb started with 30 points and 15 rebounds in a 78-31 victory over Durango-Las Vegas.
He then had 27 points in a 63-60 win over El Camino Real-Woodland Hills, 24 points and 11 rebounds in a 68-54 win over Bishop Gorman-Las Vegas and 24 points and 21 rebounds in a 63-59 overtime loss to Mater Dei-Santa Ana.
"That was when everything started. That's when we saw how good we really were," said Rabb about the tournament.
Rabb's outstanding performances this season included a 26-point, 13-rebound, six-block effort in the Open Division NorCal championship game which he played with a sprained left ankle. He had 31 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks in an 86-60 rout of Capital Christian-Sacramento at the MLK Classic; and he had 27 points, 11 blocks, 10 rebounds in an 80-74 regular-season win against previously unbeaten Berkeley.
At the Open Division state championship game, Rabb battled multiple defenses, including a box-and-one, and he still finished with 10 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks in a 71-61 loss to Mater Dei.