Gatorade Names 2023 State Players of the Year
CHICAGO (March 15, 2023) — In its 38th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, Gatorade announced Boys Basketball Player of the Year recipients in all 50 states yesterday.
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.
The winners join an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including Chet Holmgren (2020-21, Minnehaha Academy, Minn.), Trae Young (2016-17, Norman North High School, Ok.), Jayson Tatum (2015-16, Chaminade College Preparatory School, Mo.), and Karl-Anthony Towns (2013-14 & 2012-13, St. Joseph High School, N.J.).
The New England winners were St. Thomas More’s Tyler Betsey in Connecticut, Thornton Academy’s William Davies in Maine, St. Sebastian’s AJ Dybantsa in Massachusetts, Trinity’s Tyler Bike in New Hampshire, Bishop Hendricken’s Azmar Abdullah in Rhode Island, and Fair Haven Union’s Sawyer Ramey in Vermont.
The 6-foot-8, 200-pound junior forward led the Chancellors (19-17) to the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council Class AAA quarterfinals this past season. Betsey averaged 21 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists per game and was a First Team All-NEPSAC selection in Class AAA. He’s ranked as the nation’s No. 53 recruit in the Class of 2024 by ESPN.
A member of the study, kayaking and cooking clubs at St. Thomas More, Betsey has volunteered locally on behalf of a Christmas gift and food drive. “Tyler is an unbelievable worker,” said St. Thomas More coach Jere Quinn. “His improvement has catapulted him to the pinnacle of recruitment and he’s accomplished this with modesty. You wouldn’t know his capabilities by his demeanor.”
Betsey has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the classroom at St. Thomas More. He will begin his senior year of high school this fall.
The 6-foot-3, 180-pound senior guard led the Trojans to a 17-4 record and the Maine Class AA regional final this past season. Davies averaged 19.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game. He was named the Southwestern Maine Activities Association Player of the Year and was a finalist for the Maine Association of Basketball Coaches Mr. Basketball Award.
Davies has volunteered locally on behalf of a local food drive in Saco, organizing food delivery. He has also donated his time coaching at youth basketball summer camps. “Davies is the best player in the state,” said John Trull, head coach of Bonny Eagle High School. “Everything in their offense runs through him and he continues to get better every game. He has amazing court vision and makes his teammates better.”
Davies has maintained a weighted 3.62 GPA in the classroom. He remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.
The 6-foot-8, 196-pound freshman forward led the Arrows to a 26-2 record and the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council Class A title game this past season. Dybantsa averaged 19.1 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.5 blocks per game and shot 60.8 percent from the field, including 41 percent on 3-point attempts. He was an Independent School League First Team All-Conference selection and is rated among the nation’s top prospects in the Class of 2026.
Dybantsa has volunteered locally on behalf of the Argosy Charter Thompson Middle School and is a member of St. Sebastian’s ‘Men With Positive Attitudes’ club, which focuses on developing a more inclusive community within the school. “It’s hard not to love his wiry and quick-twitch frame with his length and dynamism,” said Paul Biancardi, National Recruiting Director for ESPN. “At a very young age, he is already a multi-position defender with plus quickness. When it comes to scoring, his transition ability is advanced and so is his drive game. His jumper has shown early promise and his handle has the fluidity for him to evade and get past defenders. He’s got a quick release on his jumper and rebounds with explosive vertical ability and length. He also elevates well in tight spaces for tip-in put backs. I see him as the favorite to become the No. 1 prospect in the class of 2026.”
Dybantsa has maintained a B average in the classroom. He will begin his sophomore year of high school this fall.
The 5-foot-11, 170-pound junior guard led the Pioneers (15-8) to the Division I state championship quarterfinals this past season and scored 39 points in a 93-91, tournament loss to top-seeded Bedford. Bike averaged 25.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.5 steals per game and hit 41.4 percent of his 3-point attempts. He was also the leading scorer and a co-captain on Trinity’s 2021-22 Division I state championship team.
Bike has volunteered locally in his capacity as a member of the National Honor Society and serves as an ambassador for Trinity’s Safe Sports Network. He’s also a two-time state champion in soccer. “Bike is the best player in the state in all of public school basketball,” said Goffstown head coach Ryan Cowette. “He carried the team and made everyone better. He’s an exceptional teammate on both ends of the floor.”
Bike has maintained a 3.92 GPA in the classroom. He will begin his senior year of high school this fall.
At the time of his selection, the 6-foot-3, 185-pound senior guard had averaged 22.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.8 steals per game this season, leading the Hawks to a 23-4 record and a berth in the state tournament semifinals. Abdullah scored a career-high 47 points in a victory earlier this season, hitting a school-record 10 shots from 3-point range on 11 attempts. He scored 20 or more points 17 times through 27 games, and 30 or more in six of those contests.
Abdullah has volunteered locally the past three years with a Christmas toy drive and on behalf of a soup kitchen. He also has donated his time at various basketball camps. “He is lights-out from behind the 3-point line, highlighted by his 47-point performance against us this year,” said John Kavanagh, head coach at Classical High School. “He handles the ball the majority of the game, can get to the rim, create his own shot and is tremendous in transition.”
Abdullah has maintained a 3.06 GPA in the classroom. He remains undecided on a collegiate destination.
The 5-foot-10, 160-pound senior guard led the Slaters to a 25-1 record and the Vermont Division II state tournament semifinals. Ramey averaged 16.4 points, 7.3 assists, 6.0 rebounds and 4.2 steals per game entering the final four and was a nominee for the Vermont Coaches Association Player of the Year. He concluded his prep career with more than 1,200 points and 500 assists.
Ramey has volunteered locally on behalf of Fair Haven Concerned, a non-profit providing food, shelter and heating assistance to families in need. He is also a member of Fair Haven’s Athletic Leadership Council and the National Honor Society. “Sawyer is the consummate point guard,” said Fair Haven Union High School coach Bob Prenevost. “He’s a proven and capable scorer, but he’s at his best facilitating for others. When challenges arise, he’s the guy his teammates look to for leadership and direction.”
Ramey has maintained a 3.93 weighted GPA in the classroom. He remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.