A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.
For his 50 fellow Gatorade State Boys Basketball Player of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: DeForest Buckner
School: Punahou School (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Weight: 250 pounds
Athletic achievement: Buckner led the Buff N’ Blue to a 28-2 record and the Division I state championship this past season. He recorded 10 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in a 59-52, title-clinching victory against Kahuku (Hawaii), capturing tournament co-Most Valuable Player honors along with teammate Malik Johnson. A two-time returning All-State Fab 15 selection as named by the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Buckner averaged 12.8 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.7 blocks, 1.6 steals and 1.3 assists per game. He shot 67 percent from the field and 59 percent from the free throw line.
Academic excellence: Buckner has maintained a B average in the classroom.
Exemplary character: Also a football standout, he has volunteered on behalf of the Special Olympics in addition to donating his time as a youth basketball and football instructor.
“On the court, he’s as imposing a player as I’ve ever seen in Hawaii, and I’ve been a part of the game here since 1992 and loved and followed basketball here long before that,” said Kawika Smith, head coach at Damien (Honolulu, Hawaii). “His Herculean frame is only outdone by his amazing athleticism. And as natural as both of those attributes are, they would be worthless without the relentless hard work that he puts in day after day.”
THE FUTURE: Buckner has signed a National Letter of Intent to play football on scholarship at the University of Oregon this fall.