High-SchoolPlayer-of-the-Year: Lance McCullers Jr.

Gatorade Male Athlete of the Year nominees

July, 9, 2012
7/09/12
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A dozen exceptional student-athletes -- already honored as National Player of the Year in their respective sports -- are contenders for the 10th annual Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year Award. On Tuesday in Los Angeles, one boy and one girl will be named prep sports’ Male and Female Athletes of the Year (ESPN3, 9:40 p.m. EDT), and both will be recognized at the ESPYS the following evening.

And the male nominees are (click here for the female nominees):

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McCullers named National Baseball POY

May, 31, 2012
5/31/12
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Born 16 months after his dad’s last game in the big leagues, Lance McCullers Jr. never experienced a Major League Baseball clubhouse atmosphere firsthand with guys like Cy Young Award winners Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke or an MVP like Alex Rodriguez walking around.

But the Jesuit (Tampa, Fla.) senior joins that trio as a member of an elite alumni club after being named Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year. McCullers was duped Thursday into believing a staged sit-down interview with network analyst Sean Casey was about the forthcoming MLB first-year player draft until the former 12-year veteran revealed the Gatorade trophy.

“This is something I’ve wanted to win for so long,” said McCullers, 18, the oldest son of former major league right-hander Lance Sr. “I watched online last year when [Baltimore Orioles No. 1 prospect] Dylan Bundy won it. It’s mind-blowing really to be on a list with the guys who’ve won this. You’re talking about people I look up to and model my game after. Especially a guy like Greinke, a smaller-stature pitcher who I’m sure went through some of the things I’m going through. I’m just so blessed and so grateful for this honor.”

A 6-foot-2, 205-pound right-handed starter, McCullers posted a 13-0 record with a 0.18 ERA and 140 strikeouts against 30 walks in 77.1 innings pitched this past season, leading the Tigers (28-2) to the Class 5A state semifinals. The 2011 Jackie Robinson Award winner as the country’s top rising senior, McCullers, also a shortstop, batted .280 with two home runs and 21 RBIs, stealing 10 bases in 10 attempts. An All-American as named by ESPNHS, Baseball America, Perfect Game, MaxPreps and Louisville Slugger, he scored 27 runs while producing a .485 on-base percentage and .486 slugging percentage.

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Florida Baseball POY: Lance McCullers Jr.

May, 30, 2012
5/30/12
5:38
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A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year selection process, resulting in this winner based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011-12 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For his 47 fellow Gatorade State Baseball Player of the Year winners, click here.

THE WINNER: Lance McCullers Jr.

THE BASICS

School: Jesuit (Tampa, Fla.)
Grade: Senior
Position: RHP/SS
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 205 pounds

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: McCullers posted a 13-0 record with a 0.18 ERA and 140 strikeouts against 30 walks in 77.1 innings pitched this past season, leading the Tigers (28-2) to the Class 5A state semifinals. The 2011 Jackie Robinson Award winner as the country’s top rising senior, he batted .280 with two home runs and 21 RBI, stealing 10 bases in 10 attempts. An All-American as named by ESPNHS, Baseball America, Perfect Game, MaxPreps and Louisville Slugger, McCullers scored 27 runs while producing a .467 on-base percentage and .467 slugging percentage. In addition to making seven appearances for the 2010 USA Baseball 18-and-Under National Team, he also participated in the 2010 Under Armour All-America Game and 2011 Perfect Game All-American Classic.

Academic excellence: McCullers has maintained a B average in the classroom.

Exemplary character: A volunteer on behalf of Challenger Baseball, the Special Olympics, Metropolitan Ministries, the Head Start Program and as a Bakas Equestrian Center assistant for intellectually challenged children, he has also donated his time as part of a literacy-outreach program, as a motivational speaker for middle school children and as part of multiple food drives in association with Jesuit High.

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