MEMPHIS, Tenn., March 19, 2019 — In its 34th year of honoring the nation’s most elite high school athletes, The Gatorade Company today announced James Wiseman of Memphis East High School in Memphis, Tenn. as the 2018-19 Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year. Wiseman won the award for his accomplishments on and off the court, joining a group of former Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year awardees that have gone on to have incredible success. In fact, the group has combined for five NBA MVPs, 65 All-Star appearances and 25 winners were NBA first-round draft picks.
Wiseman was presented with the award at his school among teammates, friends, family and coaches by Memphis Grizzlies power forward Jaren Jackson Jr. Check out a video of the announcement here.
“With this award, it’s not just about your accomplishments on the court, you have to be just as successful in the classroom and also set an example in your community,” said Jackson Jr. “Not only is James Wiseman a standout athlete, but he’s also an exceptional student and a positive influence in the community who will go on to accomplish great things on and off the court.”
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 Wiseman as the nation’s best high school boys basketball player. A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select Wiseman from more than half a million high school boys basketball players nationwide. Wiseman is now a finalist for the most prestigious award in high school sports, the Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year award, which is announced at a special ceremony prior to The ESPY Awards in July.
“A seven-footer with a 7-foot-6 wingspan and a standing reach nearly two feet higher than that, James Wiseman protects the rim, rebounds and finishes plays in the paint,” said Paul Biancardi of ESPN Basketball. “He’s has blossomed as an offensive player, improving his skill set and drive game while stretching his range to the 3-point line. As a lefty post, his signature move is a jump hook over the right shoulder, a weapon that, along with everything else, enables him to dominate games. He’s also an excellent student and a model citizen in his community.”
The senior center had led the Mustangs to a 26-9 record and the Class AAA state tournament final. Wiseman averaged 25.5 points, 14.3 rebounds and 5.4 blocks per game with a 69.6 true shooting percentage. The Class AAA Mr. Basketball winner, Wiseman is ranked as the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2019 by ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports. He will participate in the 2019 Nike Hoop Summit in Oregon next month.
Wiseman has volunteered locally at the Big River Crossing Marathon to benefit a youth tutoring and mentoring program. He has also donated his time with Habitat for Humanity and as a youth basketball coach.
While balancing his volunteer activities and basketball, Wiseman has also maintained an A-minus average in the classroom and signed a national letter of intent to play basketball on scholarship at the University of Memphis beginning this fall.
“Since the program’s inception in 1985, alumni across all sports have included more than 70 future first round draft picks and 30 All-Stars as well as a number of Hall of Famers,” said Gatorade Senior Vice President and General Manager Brett O’Brien. “That’s how high the bar was set for James Wiseman which is what makes Gatorade Player of the Year the most prestigious award in high school sports.”
Through Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Wiseman has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of his choosing. He is also eligible to submit an essay to win one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants for the organization of choice, which will be announced throughout the year.
Each year a selection committee evaluates the nation’s top talent in the District of Columbia and all 50 states, choosing national winners in 12 different sports: football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, baseball, softball, boys and girls soccer, and boys and girls track & field. From the 12 national winners, one male and one female athlete are each named Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year.
Since the program’s inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have won hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators. Previous winners include a distinguished list of athletes, such as Peyton Manning, Abby Wambach, Karl-Anthony Towns, Derek Jeter and many other sports icons. To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student-athletes, visit www.Gatorade.com/POY, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GatoradePOY or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Gatorade.
SOURCE The Gatorade Company