Huntington, W.V. – In its 28th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Andrew Wiggins of Huntington St. Joseph's Prep (Huntington, W.V.) as its 2012-13 Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year. Wiggins was surprised with the news at school by former NBA Champion Alonzo Mourning, who earned Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year honors in 1987-88.
"When I received the award, it was a really significant moment for me, so it felt great to surprise Andrew with the news and invite him into one of the most prestigious legacy programs in high school sports," said Mourning, a Gold Medalist, seven-time NBA All-Star, and two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year. "Gatorade has been on the sidelines fueling athletic performance for years, so to be recognized by a brand that understands the game and truly helps athletes perform is a huge honor for these kids."
The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court, distinguishes Wiggins as the nation's best high school boys basketball player. A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select Wiggins from nearly 540,000 high school boys basketball players nationwide. Wiggins is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year award, to be presented at a special ceremony prior to The ESPY Awards in July.
The 6-foot-8, 215-pound senior forward averaged 23.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 2.5 assists per game this past season, leading the Express to a 30-3 record and a No. 7 spot in the USA Today Super 25 national rankings. The state's returning Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year, Wiggins won the Naismith Boys High School Player of the Year award and was a finalist for the national Morgan Wootten Player of the Year award. He has been selected to play in the Jordan Brand Classic and the McDonald's All-American games and is rated the nation's No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2013 by ESPN, Scout.com and Rivals.com.
Wiggins has maintained a 3.35 average while completing his high school curriculum at St. Joseph's Central Catholic High School. In addition to participating in multiple charity fundraiser initiatives, he has volunteered locally by visiting
patients at the Cabell Huntington Hospital for children. He has also donated his time to free basketball clinics for low-income Huntington youth and the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots Foundation.
"Andrew is the most dynamic player in the country with freakish athletic ability and limitless range," said Jason Jordan of USA TODAY High School Sports. "Once he decides he's going to the basket, typically, the only option is to foul him because he's so quick off of the ground to finish plays and get put-backs. That said, his best attribute is the relentless competitive edge he plays with. It makes him the dominant player that he is."
Wiggins remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.
"Without question, Andrew is deserving of recognition as the nation's best high school boys basketball player based on his statistics on the court and the impact his accomplishments have had on Huntington St. Joseph's Prep's success," said Gatorade Vice President, Global & Sports Marketing Andrea Fairchild. "But he is also a shining example to peers and aspiring young athletes of what a leader and a student-athlete should be. He represents everything we hope for in a Gatorade Player of the Year recipient."
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.
Former notable Gatorade National Players of the Year include:
• Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Peyton Manning
• WNBA all-time leading scorer and rebounder Lisa Leslie
• NFL all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith
• Two-time beach volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh
• Three-time 200-meter World Champion Allyson Felix
For more information on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of former winners, and future announcement dates, visit the Gatorade Player of the Year Web site at http://www.gatorade.com/poy, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GatoradePOY or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Gatorade.