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: Mike Gesell
School: South Sioux City (Neb.)
Position: Point guard
Weight: 185 pounds
Athletic achievement: Gesell averaged 24.8 points, 7.4 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 2.9 steals per game this past season, leading the Cardinals (19-7) to the Class B state championship game. The state’s returning Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year, he shot 52.7 percent from the field, 38.4 percent from 3-point range and 82.9 percent from the free throw line. Also the returning captain of the Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha World-Herald All-State teams, Gesell averaged 19.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 3.3 steals as a sophomore as well as 25.2 points, 8.2 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 2.9 steals per game as a junior, leading South Sioux City to consecutive state titles in 2010 and 2011.
Academic excellence: Gesell has maintained a 4.00 unweighted GPA and ranks No. 1 in his graduating class.
Exemplary character: In addition to donating his time as a youth basketball instructor and referee, he has volunteered on behalf of his church’s youth group, a holiday gift-giving campaign, the National Honor Society and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
“He’s a great player and a very competitive young man,” said Luke Olson, head coach at Bennington (Neb.). “He always handles himself with class, on and off the floor. He’s the best player in the state.”
THE FUTURE: Gesell has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on scholarship at the University of Iowa this fall.