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: Joel Berry
School: Lake Highland Prep (Orlando, Fla.)
Position: Point guard
Weight: 195 pounds
Athletic achievement: Berry averaged 23.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.2 steals and 3.1 assists per game this past season, leading the Highlanders to the Class 4A state final. The 2011 Winter Park Rotary Tip-Off Classic MVP, he averaged 26.6 points per game in the state tournament, including a game-high 26 in the state final against Pine Crest (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.).
Academic excellence: Berry has maintained a 3.27 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: He has volunteered locally as a peer leader in his school community in addition to donating his time as a youth basketball coach and camp counselor.
“Joel Berry is one of the best players that we faced this year,” said Eric Jones, head coach at West Orange (Winter Garden, Fla.). “He scored 49 points against us and there was really nothing we could do to stop him. He is very difficult to defend and he has incredible stamina and determination.”
THE FUTURE: Berry will begin his junior year of high school this fall.