Gatorade Announces Players of Year
CHICAGO (March 17, 2011) — In its 26th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPN RISE, announced the 50 state by state winners of their Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
In New England the awards went to St. Thomas More’s Andre Drummond in Connecticut, Camden Hills’ Tyler McFarland in Maine, St. John’s Prep’s Pat Connaughton in Massachusetts, Bishop Guertin’s Connor Green in New Hampshire, St. Andrew’s Michael Carter-Williams in Rhode Island, and Essex’s Ben Ferris 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 each winner as the state’s best high school boys basketball player. All winners become finalists for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year award to be announced in March and join an elite alumni association of past state 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).
Drummond is a 6-foot-10, 240-pound power forward and center who led the Chancellors to a 30-7 record and the National Preparatory School Championship this past season, earning postseason MVP honors in the process. Drummond averaged 15 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and four blocks while shooting 64 percent from the floor. He scored 19 points in the title-clinching win over Notre Dame Prep.
Drummond has maintained a B average in the classroom at St. Thomas More. A campus tour guide and residence assistant at his school, he has volunteered locally on behalf of food and clothing drives for the homeless and as part of a fundraising campaign to benefit cancer research.
“Andre Drummond not only dominates on both ends of the court, he also makes his teammates better and they seem to love playing with him,” said Matt Quinn, head coach of the rival Winchendon School. “He is an amazing and unselfish leader. He has a great competitive edge, but also great sportsmanship and humility.”
Drummond joins recent Gatorade Connecticut Boys Basketball Players of the Year Brandon Sherrod (2009-10, Stratford), Greg DeSantis (2008-09, Notre Dame Catholic), and Allan Chaney (2007-08, New London), among the state’s list of former award winners.
McFarland is a 6-foot-6, 220-pound senior forward who led the Windjammers to a 23-0 record and the Class B state championship this past season. McFarland recorded 24 points and 11 rebounds in the 68-59, state title-clinching victory against Cape Elizabeth High, capturing All-Tournament Most Valuable Player honors in the process. The state’s Mr. Basketball award-winner and a Maine McDonald’s Senior All-Star Game selection, he averaged 24.1 points, 11.4 rebounds, 2.8 steals, 2.0 assists and 1.8 blocks per game. McFarland shot 55 percent from the field and 77 percent from the free-throw line. The three-time Class B Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Player of the Year, he also led Camden Hills to the 2009 Class B state title as a sophomore.
McFarland has maintained an A-minus average in the classroom and serves as a member of Camden Hills High’s student and captains’ councils. The recipient of the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership and Maine Principals Association’s awards for outstanding citizenship, he has also donated his time as part of his school’s peer-mentoring program and as a youth basketball instructor.
“The thing that distinguishes Tyler McFarland is his intense desire to not only be the best player he can be, but how much he enjoys helping his teammates become the best players they can be,” said Camden Hills High Head Coach Jeff Hart. “He will do whatever it takes for his team to win. If we need him to score 40, then he’ll score 45. If we need 20 rebounds, he’ll go get 25. He wants to be a role model for all the young people not only in our community, but wherever he ends up going to college. Tyler is the most impressive young man who I have ever met in 29 years of coaching here at Camden Hills High.”
McFarland remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.
McFarland joins recent Gatorade Maine Boys Basketball Players of the Year Stefano Mancini (2009-10, Falmouth), Thomas Knight (2008-09, Dirigo), and Ryan Martin (2007-08, Maranacook Community), among the state’s list of former award winners.
Connaughton is a 6-foot-5, 205-pound senior guard led the Eagles to a 24-1 record and a berth in the Division 1 state championship game, scheduled for March 19. Entering the state final, Connaughton is averaging 22.0 points, 16.6 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game. A member of the 2010 Boston Herald Dream Team and the Boston Globe Super Team, he is a three-time Catholic Conference All-Star and a two-time league MVP.
Connaughton has maintained a 3.53 weighted GPA in the classroom. A standout pitcher for the St. John’s Prep baseball team and an accomplished Latin scholar, he has volunteered locally as a youth basketball coach and elementary school tutor and has donated his time at a day care center.
“Pat’s a very physical player, very strong,” said Michael Crotty, Connaughton’s AAU coach with the Middlesex Magic. “He can get to the hoop, slash and finish above the rim. He’s as good a 6-foot-5 rebounder as you will see in the country. When you need a big one, he gets it.”
Connaughton has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on scholarship at the University of Notre Dame this fall. He also intends to play baseball.
Connaughton joins recent Gatorade Massachusetts Boys Basketball Players of the Year Nate Lubick (2008-09 & 2009-10, St. Mark's School) and Stevie Mejia (2007-08, Lawrence Academy), among the state’s list of former award winners.
Green is a 6-foot-4, 230-pound senior forward who led the Cardinals to a 19-2 record and a berth in the Division I state final against Trinity High, scheduled for March 19. Green is averaging 20.6 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game while shooting 77 percent from the free throw line. A 2011 New Hampshire Mr. Basketball finalist, he has recorded a double-double in 20 of Bishop Guertin’s 21 games this season.
Green has maintained a 3.30 GPA in the classroom. He has volunteered locally as a peer tutor and on behalf of multiple community service initiatives in association with his church youth group.
“Connor Green has developed into a complete player,” said Bishop Guertin High Head Coach Jim Migneault. “Each game he is just as focused on grabbing rebounds as he is about scoring points. He has matured so much as a player this season.”
Green intends to complete a year of post-graduate study, beginning this fall.
Green joins recent Gatorade New Hampshire Boys Basketball Players of the Year Melvin Ejim (2009-10, Brewster), Alex Oriakhi (2008-09, Tilton), and Emmanuel Negedu (2007-08, Brewster), among the state’s list of former award winners.
Carter-Williams is a 6-foot-5, 175-pound senior guard who averaged 23.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.0 steals this past season, leading the Saints (25-9) to the New England Prep School Athletic Council Class B semifinals. The returning Gatorade Rhode Island Boys Basketball Player of the Year, Carter-Williams is the first Rhode Island player selected to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game. A two-time NEPSAC First Team All-Conference honoree, he concluded his prep basketball career with 2,260 points.
Carter-Williams has maintained a 3.06 GPA in the classroom. The lead in his school’s stage production of “Aladdin,” he has volunteered locally as a youth football and basketball coach and as a peer tutor.
“What makes Mike Carter-Williams so good is that not only can he score, but he makes everyone on his team better,” said Matt Quinn, head coach of rival Winchendon School. “He does so many little things like rebound, defend and find his teammates when they are in their best position to score.”
Carter-Williams has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on scholarship at Syracuse University this fall.
Carter-Williams joins recent Gatorade Rhode Island Boys Basketball Players of the Year Jay Jeannotte (2008-09, Narragansett) and Ashton Watkins (2007-08, Classical), among the state’s list of former award winners.
Ferris is a 6-foot-3 senior guard who averaged 23.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and 6.5 assists this past season, leading the Hornets to the Division I state tournament. A member of the All-State team as a junior, Ferris was named to the Vermont Basketball Coaches Association Dream Dozen in 2011. He is also a two-time First Team All-Metro selection.
Ferris has maintained an A average in the classroom. He has volunteered locally as a mentor for elementary school children.
“Ferris makes everyone around him better,” said Paul Pecor, head coach of rival Rice Memorial. “He’s really good with the ball, an extremely good 3-point shooter and he can go inside or outside.”
Ferris will attend Tufts University this fall, where he will play basketball.
Ferris joins recent Gatorade Vermont Boys Basketball Players of the Year Joe O'Shea (2009-10, Burlington), Clancy Rugg (2008-09, Burlington), and Matt Joslin (2007-08, North Country Union), among the state’s list of former award winners.