You can now place Bradley Beal of Chaminade College Preparatory (St. Louis, Mo.) in the same sentence as LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant and Alonzo Mourning. Earlier this week, the 6-4 Florida-bound senior joined those past winners when he was named the Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year for 2011.
Mourning, who was the third recipient of the award back in 1988 as a high school senior, was in St. Louis and presented the award to Beal by sneaking in and surprising the senior in school.
“It was a tremendous honor being an alumni of this award and at the same time being able to present it to Bradley Beal, who is very well-deserving of it,” Mourning told Dime. “I think aside from all of his on-court accomplishments, this is an amazing student-athlete. Having Gatorade acknowledge and identify his accomplishments in the classroom was key as well. So he’s a good kid and we expect some big things from him throughout his journey, throughout the rest of his basketball journey on through the University of Florida.”
Beal, the first student-athlete from the state of Missouri to ever win Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year honors, was selected by a group of sport-specific experts and sport journalists. This past year, he held a 91.7 average in the classroom and averaged 32.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.7 steals while shooting a ridiculous 73 percent from the field for the Blue Devils. He finished his career with 2,634 points, the fourth highest scoring total in greater St. Louis history.
Past winners of this award include James, Howard, Bryant and Chris Webber.
Mourning got involved with the award after Gatorade asked the former NBA All-Star to be a spokesperson. Winning the award in 1988 was a big highlight for him, but he admits that it’s a totally different animal now.
“The response was great,” Mourning told Dime. “Not like it was now just because of the different technology, the different world of technology that we live in now. The social networking and the visibility of these prestigious awards is more enhanced, but being the third recipient of the award back in ’88 was a pretty amazing accomplishment.”
How good will Bradley Beal be at Florida?
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