CHICAGO In its 32nd year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, today announced John Petty of Jemison High School as its 2016-17 Gatorade Alabama Boys Basketball Player of the Year. Petty is the first Gatorade Alabama Boys Basketball Player of the Year to be chosen from Jemison High School.
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 Petty as Alabama’s best high school boys basketball player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year award to be announced in March, Petty joins an elite alumni association of past state boys basketball award winners, including Karl-Anthony Towns (2012-13 & 2013-14, St. Joseph HS, N.J.), Dwight Howard (2003-04, SW Atlanta Christian Academy, Ga.), Chris Bosh (2001-02, Lincoln HS, Texas), Paul Pierce (1994-95, Inglewood HS, Calif.), Chauncey Billups (1993-94 & 1994-95, George Washington HS, Colo.) and Jason Kidd (1991-92, St. Joseph Notre Dame HS, Calif.).
The 6-foot-6, 185-pound senior shooting guard led the Jaguars to a 34-4 record and the Class 5A state championship earlier this month. The state’s returning Gatorade Player of the Year (as a standout for now-closed J.O. Johnson High), Petty averaged 21.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.2 blocks this past season. Petty was named the MVP of the state tournament after collecting 22 points, 11 rebounds and four steals in the championship-game victory over Faith Academy. The state’s Mr. Basketball as a junior and a four-time First Team All-State selection, he concluded his prep basketball career with 2,749 points.
Petty has volunteered locally as part of multiple community-service initiatives through his church. “John Petty can play most any position,” said Danny Petty, head coach of James Clemens High. “And with his size, he is almost impossible to guard.”
Petty has maintained a B average in the classroom. He has signed a national letter of intent to play basketball on scholarship at the University of Alabama beginning this fall.
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.
Two-time winner Petty joins Gatorade Alabama Boys Basketball Players of the Year Josh Langford (2014-15 & 2012-13, Madison Academy), William Lee (2013-14, Dallas County High School), Craig Sword (2011-12, Carver High School), Levi Randolph (2010-11, Bob Jones High School), KT Harrell (2009-10, Brewbaker Technology Magnet High School), Jordan Swing (2008-09, Vestavia Hills High School), JaMychal Green (2007-08, St. Jude Educational Institute), and Justin Knox (2006–07, Tuscaloosa Central High School) among the state’s list of former award winners.
As a Gatorade Player of the Year, John will be able to select a national or local youth sports organization to receive a grant as part of the Gatorade Play It Forward program. Every Gatorade Player of the Year state winner receives a $1,000 grant to donate and will have the opportunity to enter for an additional $10,000 spotlight grant by writing a brief essay explaining why their selected organization deserves additional support. 12 spotlight grants – one for each sport – will be announced throughout the year.
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