Tremaine Fowlkes feared he would never be recognized for his scoring ability if he played with his back to the basket.
The 6-foot-7 senior forward from Crenshaw High School wanted to shoot more from the outside so he would be ready to begin his collegiate career at Cal in the fall.
But fate intervened, and Fowlkes put the team's needs above his personal goals.
The Cougars lost an integral part of their offense when 6-9 center Leon Watson injured his shoulder while dunking during a holiday tournament. While Watson slowly recovered from a deep cut, the team needed another inside player to complement 6-5 forward Kristaan Johnson.
Despite being double-teamed and often manhandled underneath, Fowlkes responded with a team-high average of 25.5 points, and 15.8 rebounds a game.
For his efforts, Fowlkes was selected the 1994 City Section Player of the Year and named to the 4-A Division first team for the second time, along with teammates Johnson, 6-6 guard Reggie McFerren and 5-9 point guard Tommie Davis.
"This is an honor that will be with me for the rest of the basketball career," Fowlkes said. "For the rest of my life people will call me the City's best for 1994."
Fowlkes became the 10th player from Crenshaw to be named Player of the Year, an honor first awarded in 1938. In 1973, Marques Johnson was the first from Crenshaw to win it; his son Kristaan won it last year.
With his future coach, Todd Bozeman of Cal, sitting in the stands March 19, Fowlkes gave a brilliant performance in the State Division I championship at the Oakland Coliseum Arena. He scored a game-high 30 points and had eight rebounds as the Cougars won their second title in a row, 89-79, over Carmichael Jesuit, the same team Crenshaw defeated last season for the title.
"I was really excited to win State because it's rare that a team wins back-to-back titles," Fowlkes said.
Johnson, who signed early with UCLA, made the 4-A team for the second consecutive year, after averaging 23.3 points and 9.2 rebounds. He had 27 points and seven rebounds in the state final.
McFerren, who averaged 19.3 points, and Davis, who averaged nine points, 10 assists, were first-time selections.
The team was selected by a panel of sportswriters in conjunction with the Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles.
Of the 16 players named to the 4-A team, 10 are from the Central City area. Washington 6-4 forward Dayron Harris was selected for the second consecutive season. Ricky Blackmon and Terrel McKnight of Dorsey, Joe Covarrubias of Huntington Park, Calvin Patterson of Fremont and David Rickenbacker of Manual Arts were also named.
The Central City area also dominated the 3-A team, with seven of the 16 selections. Anthony Martin of Jefferson was the only repeat selection. Also named to the team were Jerry Espinoza of Bell, Jae Yun of Belmont, Mario Hernandez and Paul Burgueno of Roosevelt, Gerardo Roman of Lincoln and Clem Breedlove of Jordan.