Hoops stars Oden, Charles named prep athletes of year

LOS ANGELES -- Basketball players Greg Oden of Indianapolis and Tina Charles of New York City were named High School Athletes of the Year on Wednesday.

Oden and Charles received their awards at a luncheon attended by Miami Heat stars Dwyane Wade and Alonzo Mourning and Matt Leinart of the Arizona Cardinals. Later, Oden and Charles were to attend the ESPY Awards in Hollywood.

Oden averaged 22 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks and shot 74 percent from the field last season in leading Lawrence North High to its third consecutive Indiana Class 4A state championship. He will play at Ohio State next season.

"It's great," said Oden, who was a nominee last year when he lost to football player Greg Paulus. "My one goal was to come back here and I feel honored to have won this award."

Charles averaged 26.5 points, 14.8 points and 5.2 blocked shots last season in leading Christ the King to its second consecutive undefeated season and the New York Class AA state title. She will play at Connecticut next season.

"I'm not used to this," Charles said. "I'm usually at basketball tournaments with other basketball players and may win awards there, but to be considered the best of the best in all different sports, it's great. It's a blessing."

Other nominees for the boys' award were football player Mitch Mustain of Springdale (Ark.) High; soccer player Eric Alexander of Portage Central (Mich.) High; baseball player Clayton Kershaw of Highland Park (Texas) High; and track and field athlete David Klech of California High in San Ramon, Calif.

Other girls' nominees were volleyball player Megan Hodge of Riverside High in Durham, N.C.; soccer player Lauren Cheney of Ben Davis High in Indianapolis; softball player Kirsten Shortridge of Keller (Texas) High; and track and field athlete Bianca Knight of Ridgeland (Miss.) High.

The fourth annual awards are sponsored by Gatorade. The top overall male and female winners are chosen from 10 national players of the year honored during the high school sports season.