ESPN RISE announced their National Player of the Year winners yesterday and today and includes the #3 recruit in the class of 2011, Michael Gilchrist (Kentucky), the #15 recruit in the class of 2012, Tony Parker, sophomore standout Jabari Parker, and Gilchrist’s teammate, freshman stud Dakari Johnson. Here’s a breakdown of the winners and other people who came close to winning the awards.
Michael Gilchrist St. Patrick’s (NJ); 6’7”, 210; Small Forward; Kentucky
Why he won: The Kentucky-commit averaged nearly 20 ppg and 14 rebounds per game and was the leader of a St. Patrick’s team who was one bad quarter away from a National Championship. Despite their loan loss to #1 St. Anthony, St. Patrick’s finished #3 in the Fab 50 and Gilchrist shot over 60% from the field. He also shot over 40% from the three-point line and close to 80% from the field but his best attribute was his work ethic, high motor, and the fact that he never took a single play off. In addition, Gilchrist was one of the best defenders in the country with many rebounds and blocks.
Who else was considered: Austin Rivers (Winter Park HS, Florida) and Brad Beal (Chaminade, Missouri)
Tony Parker Miller Grove (GA); 6’9”, 274; Power Forward
Why he won: Parker led Milton High School (GA) to a #6 ranking in the Fab 50 and won his third straight 4A Georgia state championship this year. He averaged over 17 points, 15 rebounds, and four blocks this year and was named the state player of the year by the Georgia Sportswriters Association. He also was the MVP of the prestigious Beach Ball Classic tournament and grabbed a tournament-record 27 rebounds in the state semifinal win. In addition, he recorded 20 points and 13 rebounds in the state title win over Boys & Girls (NY).
Who else was considered: Last year’s sophomore Player of the Year, Perry Ellis (Wichita Heights HS, Kansas) and Shabazz Muhammad (Bishop Gorman HS, New York)
Jabari Parker Simeon (Ill); 6’7”, 210; Power Forward
Why he won: Parker was named to the first team 4A All-State squad along with four other seniors and led Simeon High School (Ill)to their second straight Illinois state championship. He is the only freshman to ever start in Simeon High School history and averaged over 15 points per game. He also had a great performance in the state title game with a team-high 12 points, five rebounds, and three blocks in a 48-39 win over Warren High School (Ill).
Other qualified sophomores: Nerlens Noel (The Tilton School, New Hampshire) and Andrew Harrison (Travis HS, Texas)
Dakari Johnson St. Patrick’s (NJ); 6’8”, 250; Center
Why he won: Johnson was a good role player for a St. Patrick’s team that went 26-1 and finished third in the Fab 50. Although he only averaged around seven points per game, he was an effective rebounder pulling down double-digit boards numerous times and recording 12 points and nine rebounds against the best player in the class of 2012, Andre Drummond. Johnson was also a good defensive player for the Celtics as he was a shot-blocker in the lane and was able to change opponents’ shots without fouling them.
Other qualified freshman: Shaqquan Aaron and Stanley Johnson (Mater Dei HS, California)