In its 20th anniversary season of honoring the nation's elite high school athletes, Gatorade today announced Greg Oden of Lawrence North (Indianapolis, Ind.) as the 2005 Gatorade National Boys' Basketball Player of the Year. In earning the award, Oden joins LeBron James as only the second junior to win Gatorade National Boys' Basketball Player of the Year honors.
Oden, a 7-foot, 245-pound junior center, led Lawrence North to a 24-2 record, the school's second consecutive Indiana Class 4A state championship and the No. 7 spot in the final SchoolSports Top 25 national boys' basketball rankings. For the season, he averaged 20.0 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game. Two of his top individual performances this season came in the state tournament. Oden blocked 18 shots in Lawrence North's 60-45 sectional semifinal win over previously unbeaten and nationally ranked Arlington. In the finals, Oden scored a championship game record 29 points and snared nine rebounds in the Wildcats' 63-52 victory over Muncie Central.
Oden will attempt to lead Lawrence North to an unprecedented third straight Indiana 4A state championship in 2005-06 and will have the opportunity to join James as only the second player to win Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year honors in consecutive seasons.
Away from the court, Oden has a 3.5 GPA and participates in several community efforts initiated by the Lawrence North basketball team.
"Greg is a great young man," says Lawrence North head coach Jack Keefer. "He always puts his team and school first, and as a result his teachers, teammates and fans love him. Greg could easily score 30-35 points per game, but chooses instead to help develop our team."
The Gatorade National Advisory Board, a group of sportswriters and sport-specific experts from around the country, selected Oden from the nearly 545,000 male high school basketball players nationwide. Oden is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year Award, to be presented at an awards ceremony the afternoon prior to The ESPY Awards in July.
"The honor bestowed upon Greg today is reflective of his demonstrated ability to play the game of basketball at the highest level, rising to the top of an extremely talented group of high school players across the nation," said Gatorade Senior Vice President of Sports Marketing Tom Fox. "For 20 years the Gatorade High School Player of the Year Award has recognized outstanding athletes who also shine in the classroom and in their communities, so it is the whole of Greg's accomplishments that have earned him a place among the best high school athletes of the past two decades."
The Gatorade High School Player of the Year program recognizes one winner in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and awards one National Player of the Year in football, baseball, softball, volleyball, and boys' and girls' basketball, soccer, and track & field. Previous national award winners include Emmitt Smith, Lisa Leslie, Peyton Manning, Alex Rodriguez and Kerri Walsh among others. For more information on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information and a list of upcoming announcement dates, or the names of previous winners, visit www.gatorade.com.
PAST GATORADE NATIONAL BOYS BASKETBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR HONOREES
Year Name High School/Hometown Status
2005 Greg Oden Lawrence North, Indianapolis, IN High School Junior
2004 Dwight Howard SW Atlanta Christian, Atlanta, GA Orlando Magic
2003 LeBron James St. Vincent-St. Mary, Akron, OH Cleveland Cavaliers
2002 LeBron James St. Vincent-St. Mary, Akron, OH Cleveland Cavaliers
2001 Kelvin Torbert Northwestern Edison, Flint, MI Michigan State Univ.
2000 Jared Jeffries North, Bloomington, IN Washington Wizards
1999 LaVell Blanchard Pioneer, Ann Arbor, MI Univ. of Michigan Grad
1998 Al Harrington St. Patrick, Elizabeth, NJ Atlanta Hawks
1997 Baron Davis Crossroads, Santa Monica, CA Golden State Warriors
1996 Kobe Bryant Lower Merion, Ardmore, PA Los Angeles Lakers
1995 Stephon Marbury Abraham Lincoln, Brooklyn, NY New York Knicks
1994 Felipe Lopez Rice, New York, NY Retired from NBA
1993 Randy Livingston Isidore Newman, New Orleans, LA Utah Jazz
1992 Corliss Williamson Russellville, Russellville, AR Sacramento Kings
1991 Chris Webber Detroit County Day, Birmingham, MI Philadelphia 76ers
1990 Damon Bailey Bedford North Lawrence, Bedford, IN Retired from NBA
1989 Kenny Anderson Archbishop Molloy, Jamaica, NY NBA Free Agent
1988 Alonzo Mourning Indian River, Chesapeake, VA Miami Heat
1987 LaBradford Smith Bay City, Bay City, TX Retired from NBA
1986 J.R. Reid Kempsville, Virginia Beach, VA Retired from NBA