In 2007, it was James Harden and Austin Daye. In 2008, it could be Renaldo Woolridge. Every year there is a California player or two that emerges after his junior campaign and becomes a national name in the spring.
Woolridge, a 6-foot-7, 190-pound forward from Harvard-Westlake in North Hollywood, is putting in the work to become that player. The No. 104 ranked player in the class of 2008 averaged 19.3 points and eight rebounds a game for his 22-6 squad. The long and lanky forward lead his league in three pointers made.
Not bad for a player that was the eighth man in the rotation last year as a 6-foot-5 sophomore.
"I worked really hard going into the season and for us to get to the second round of the playoffs was a good accomplishment for us," he said. "I worked hard on my ball-handling and my rebounding and just tried to keep improving."
Now his next step brings him to the summer circuit, where he'll suit up for Belmont Shore on the AAU tour. He's hoping to make a big splash much like Harden and Daye did in the spring and summer.
"I want to take my game to the next level," Woolridge said. "I've been working out individually and I know the experience I'm about to get will only get me better. I won't slow up until I'm one of the top players in the nation."
Like his game, recruiting jumped up to another level this year.
Pepperdine has offered and Woolridge says the West Coast Conference school " at every game I played it seemed like." Arizona State, Arizona, Illinois, UCLA and Cal have also been out to see him in action while Wake Forest and Maryland are also interested, he said.
"I'm taking everyone in and narrowing it down along the way," Woolridge said. "I'm just waiting for a good place to go and hopefully I'll be able to find that. Of course, I'd like to find a place with playing time and a winning program."