Gatorade Announces Players of the Year

New England Recruiting Report | Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Gatorade Announces Players of the Year

CHICAGO (March 22, 2012) — In its 27th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPNHS, today announced the recipients of the Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year Award in all 50 states.  

New England awards went to New London’s Kris Dunn in Connecticut, Worcester Academy’s Rene Castro in Massachusetts, Jonesport-Beals’ Garet Beal in Maine, Merrimack’s Tyler Gendron in New Hampshire, Central’s Jarell Lawson in Rhode Island, and Missisquoi Valley Union’s Matt St. Amour in Vermont.  

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 Beal as Maine’s best high school boys basketball player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year award to be announced in March, Beal joins an elite alumni association of past state boys basketball award winners, including Dwight Howard (2003-04, SW Atlanta Christian Academy, Ga.), Chauncey Billups (1993-94 & 1994-95, George Washington HS, Colo.), Jason Kidd (1991-92, St. Joseph Notre Dame HS, Calif.), Paul Pierce (1994-95, Inglewood HS, Calif.) and Chris Bosh (2001-02, Lincoln HS, Texas).

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 ESPNHS and the Gatorade high school sports leadership team, 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.

Kris Dunn - Connecticut

The 6-foot-4, 185-pound senior guard averaged 31.4 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, four steals and two blocks per game this past season, leading the Whalers (23-3) to the Class LL semifinals. A 2012 McDonald’s All-American Game selection and a 2012 Jordan Brand Classic game invitee, Dunn is the No. 24 ranked recruit in the Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNU.

Dunn has maintained a 3.23 GPA in the classroom. He has volunteered locally as an elementary school mentor and tutor and as a youth sports coach.

“Kris Dunn has been a pleasure to coach during his four years as a varsity starter,” said New London Head Coach Craig Parker. “He works extremely hard in the classroom and his passion for basketball is unsurpassed by anyone I’ve known in my 25 years of coaching.”

Dunn has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on an athletic scholarship at Providence College this fall.

Dunn joins recent Gatorade Connecticut Boys Basketball Players of the Year Andre Drummond (2010-11, St. Thomas More), Brandon Sherrod (2009-10, Stratford), Greg DeSantis (2008-09, Notre Dame Catholic High School), Allan Chaney (2007-08, New London High School), and Matthew Bryan-Amaning (2006–07, South Kent School) among the state’s list of former award winners.

Rene Castro – Massachusetts

The 6-foot-1 junior guard averaged 23.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game this past season, leading the Hilltoppers (15-11) to the New England Prep School Athletic Council Class AA Tournament quarterfinals. The MVP of the BCD Holiday Hoops Tournament, Castro scored more than 20 points on 16 occasions and knocked down 41.7 percent of his 3-pointers (43-for-103) for the season.

Castro has maintained a B average in the classroom. He has volunteered locally as a tutor at a homeless shelter, as part of a literacy-outreach program and as a youth basketball coach.

“Rene Castro is a scoring machine,” said Mike Hart, head coach at St. Andrew’s (R.I.) School. “He doesn’t take bad shots. He can make the 3-pointer, moves without the ball and he’s a good passer.”

Castro will begin his senior year of high school this fall.

Castro joins recent Gatorade Massachusetts Boys Basketball Players of the Year Pat Connaughton (2010-11, St. John’s Preparatory School), Nate Lubick (2008-09 & 2009-10, St. Mark’s School), Stevie Mejia (2007-08, Lawrence Academy), and Mike Baldarelli (2006–07, Holy Name Central Catholic) among the state’s list of former award winners.

Garet Beal – Maine

The 6-foot-5, 200-pound junior wing led the Royals to a 19-2 record and the Class D state championship this past season. Beal recorded 16 points and 10 rebounds in a 75-62, title-clinching victory against Forest Hills High, capturing First Team All-Tournament honors for the second consecutive season. The returning Third Team All-State selection as named by the Bangor Daily News averaged 22.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.8 steals, 3.6 assists and 1.6 blocks. He shot 61.5 percent from the field, 46.7 percent from 3-point range and 81.2 percent from free throw line.

Beal has maintained an A-minus average in the classroom and serves as a member of his school’s student council. In addition to donating his time on behalf of the National Honor Society, he has volunteered as a positive mentor to elementary school students and as part of both community fundraisers and cleanup efforts.

“Garet is a dream to coach,” said Jonesport-Beals High Head Coach Gordon Faulkingham. “He’s a coach on the floor, the first to practice and the last to leave. He’s too unselfish at times and a great teammate.”

Beal will begin his senior year of high school this fall.

Beal joins recent Gatorade Maine Boys Basketball Players of the Year Tyler McFarland (2010-11, Camden Hills Regional High School), Stefano Mancini (2009-10, Falmouth), Thomas Knight (2008-09, Dirigo High School), Ryan Martin (2007-08, Maranacook Community High School), and Troy Barnies (2006-07, Edward Little) among the state’s list of former award winners.

Tyler Gendron – New Hampshire

The 6-foot-4, 195-pound senior forward led the Tomahawks to a 19-6 record and the Division I state title this past season. Gendron averaged 15 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three blocks per game. Also the state’s 2012 Mr. Basketball as named by the New Hampshire Basketball Coaches Organization, he scored 10 points with nine rebounds in the state title-clinching win over Manchester Central.

Gendron has maintained a 4.03 GPA in the classroom. He has volunteered locally on behalf of the youth-empowerment Leo Club, as a math tutor and youth basketball coach.

“Tyler Gendron is an excellent player and has been a contributing varsity player since he was a sophomore,” said Jeff Gustavson, head coach at Londonderry High.“He has the versatility to make plays on the perimeter and in the post. When we played him he made some very tough shots to help his team win. We had to give him credit for making those shots when his team was down and they needed him.”

Gendron remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.

Gendron joins recent Gatorade New Hampshire Boys Basketball Players of the Year Connor Green (2010-11, Bishop Guertin High School), Melvin Ejim (2009-10, Brewster Academy), Alex Oriakhi (2008-09, Tilton School), Emmanuel Negedu (2007-08, Brewster Academy), and Josh Owens (2006–07, Phillips Exeter Academy) among the state’s list of former award winners.

Jarell Lawon – Rhode Island

The 6-foot-4 senior guard and forward led the Knights to a 19-4 record and the Open State Tournament championship this past season. Lawson averaged 19.0 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 1.5 assists and 1.0 steals per game. A unanimous First Team All-Division I selection, Lawson was a Rhode Island Basketball Coaches Association All-Star. He recorded 16 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks in the state-title win over Hope High.

Lawson has maintained a B average in the classroom. He has volunteered locally as a youth mentor and a youth basketball coach.

“Jarell Lawson can play any position on the floor,” said Jim Champion, head coach at South Kingstown High. “He helped bring the ball up, was a constant threat from the 3-point line and could drive or pull up for a jumper. He also could post down low and score inside. He was very well-rounded.”

Lawson remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.

Lawson joins Two-time winner Gatorade Rhode Island Boys Basketball Players of the Year Michael Carter-Williams (2009-10 & 2010-11, St. Andrew’s School), Jay Jeannotte (2008-09, Narragansett High School), Ashton Watkins (2007-08, Classical High School), and Rakim Sanders (2006–07, St. Andrew’s School) among the state’s list of former award winners.

Matt St. Amour - Vermont

The 6-foot-3 junior guard averaged 26.6 points, 12.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.7 steals per game this past season, leading the Thunderbirds (11-10) to the Division I state tournament. The two-time Lake Division Player of the Year, St. Amour is a member of the Vermont Basketball Coaches Association Dream Dozen and already holds the school career record for points, with 1,388.

St. Amour has maintained 4.13 GPA in the classroom. Also a soccer standout, he has volunteered locally on behalf of youth sports programs and has raised funds to benefit the American Cancer Society.

“He plays under control and can finish on either side of the basket, and he’s also got great range,” said Peter Quinn, head coach at Vergennes High.“You have to defend him as soon as he gets one or two dribbles over half-court.”

St. Amour will begin his senior year of high school this fall.

St. Amour joins recent Gatorade Vermont Boys Basketball Players of the Year Ben Ferris (2010-11, Essex High School), Joe O’Shea (2009-10, Burlington), Clancy Rugg (2008-09, Burlington High School), Matt Joslin (2007-08, North Country Union High School), and Pat Bergmann (2006–07, Rice Memorial) among the state’s list of former award winners.