Jayson Tatum surprises Kansas signee Gradey Dick with Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year Award | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Saturday / September 30.
  • Jayson Tatum surprises Kansas signee Gradey Dick with Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year Award

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    Sunrise (KS) Christian Academy forward and 2022 Kansas signee Gradey Dick was named the 2021-22 Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year Award Tuesday.

    “It means everything to me,” Dick said in an interview with ZAGSBLOG. “One of my first goals I had with my dad was to get state Gatorade Player of the Year for Kansas, but we weren’t really thinking nationally. As the season went on, just to see myself getting closer to possibly being up for that was really exciting.”

    Dick was presented the award Tuesday as Boston Celtics star and 2015-16 Gatorade National Player of the Year Jayson Tatum virtually surprised him on a large projector screen.

    “It was mind blowing to talk to a guy at that level of where I hope to be one day,” Dick said.

    Dick, the 6-foot-6, 195-pound small forward from Sunrise Christian (KS) Academy, is the 2021-22 Gatorade Kansas Boys Basketball Player of the Year and has averaged 17.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.9 steals through 26 games, leading Sunrise to a 25-1 record.  

    “My leadership role on this team has been a lot different than last year,” he said. “I learned from some of our great seniors last year how to lead the team. That’s been a big advantage to me to learn those leadership skills and even bring those to Kansas as a freshman.”

    Ranked as the No. 22-overall prospect in the class of 2022, Dick is the first player from the state of Kansas to take home the award and the first University of Kansas commit to win the award since Andrew Wiggins in 2013.

    “I’d describe my game as just versatile,” he said. Due to my size and my ability to score in a variety of different ways makes me a different type of player, not only on the offensive side, but the defensive side.”

    Dick announced his commitment to Kansas on March 3, 2021 before signing his national letter of intent on November 10.

    “Being the hometown kid, it was always a dream to eventually play in Allen Fieldhouse and wear Kansas across my chest,” he said. “Just seeing guys that I know like Christian (Braun) play for (Bill) Self and seeing the success they had really inspired me. Something that Kansas fans can expect of me is to come in there, hit the ground running and be ready to go from the start. ”

    Dick took home the award over finalists Chris Livingston of Oak Hill (VA) Academy and Dariq Whitehead of Montverde (FL) Academy.

    A McDonald’s All-American Game selection, Dick was one of five finalists for the Naismith award. He will represent the United States at the Nike Hoop Summit in April, and he was a member of the gold-medal winning Under-18 U.S. team at the 3-on-3 World Cup last summer.

    “I’m going to be myself and reconnect with all the guys that I’ve played against in the past,” dick said. “We’ll have fun together, compete and be serious when scouts are watching to show them how I play. I just want to have fun and be myself.”

    Dick has served time volunteering locally at a food pantry and a shelter for the homeless as a member of the Young Christian Life ministry. He has also served as a middle school math tutor twice a week for the past two years, while also maintaining a 3.66 GPA.

    “The special thing about this prestigious award is the fact that it’s not only what I did on the basketball court, but what I did in my community and in my school,” Dick said. “I think that’s what makes this award so special, that overall character build.”

    2020-21Chet HolmgrenMinneapolis, MNGonzaga University
    2019-20Emoni BatesYpsilanti, MIUniversity of Memphis
    2018-19James WisemanMemphis, TNGolden State Warriors
    2017-18RJ BarrettMississauga, ON, CanadaNew York Knicks
    2016-17Michael Porter Jr.Columbia, MODenver Nuggets
    2015-16Jayson TatumSt. Louis, MOBoston Celtics
    2014-15Ben SimmonsMelbourne, AustraliaBrooklyn Nets 
    2013-14Karl-Anthony TownsMetuchen, NJMinnesota Timberwolves 
    2012-13Andrew WigginsThornhill, ON, CanadaGolden State Warriors 
    2011-12Jabari ParkerChicago, ILNBA Free Agent
    2010-11Bradley BealSt. Louis, MOWashington Wizards
    2009-10Brandon KnightFort Lauderdale, FLSioux Falls Skyforce
    2008-09Brandon KnightFort Lauderdale, FLSioux Falls Skyforce
    2007-08Jrue HolidayNorth Hollywood, CAMilwaukee Bucks 
    2006-07Kevin LoveLake Oswego, ORCleveland Cavaliers
    2005-06Greg OdenIndianapolis, INRetired from Miami Heat
    2004-05Greg OdenIndianapolis, INRetired from Miami Heat
    2003-04Dwight HowardAtlanta, GALos Angeles Lakers
    2002-03LeBron JamesAkron, OHLos Angeles Lakers
    2001-02LeBron JamesAkron, OHLos Angeles Lakers
    2000-01Kelvin TorbertFlint, MIRetired from French Pro A league
    1999-00Jared JeffriesBloomington, INRetired from Portland Trail Blazers
    1998-99LaVell BlanchardAnn Arbor, MIRetired from French Pro A league
    1997-98Al HarringtonElizabeth, NJRetired from Sydney Kings
    1996-97Baron DavisSanta Monica, CARetired from Delaware 87ers
    1995-96Kobe BryantArdmore, PADeceased
    1994-95Stephon MarburyBrooklyn, NYRetired from Boston Celtics
    1993-94Felipe LópezNew York, NYRetired from Minnesota Timberwolves
    1992-93Randy LivingstonNew Orleans, LARetired from Idaho Stampede
    1991-92Corliss WilliamsonRussellville, ARRetired from Sacramento Kings
    1990-91Chris WebberDetroit, MIRetired from Golden State Warriors
    1989-90Damon BaileyBedford, INRetired from Cleveland Cavaliers
    1988-89Kenny AndersonJamaica, NYRetired from Los Angeles Clippers
    1987-88Alonzo MourningChesapeake, VARetired from Miami Heat
    1986-87LaBradford SmithBay City, TXRetired from Sacramento Kings
    1985-86J.R. ReidVirginia Beach, VARetired from Cleveland Cavaliers
    Photo: FIBA Basketball

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