CHICAGO (March 18, 2010) — In its 25th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPN RISE, today announced Joe Harris of Chelan High School as its 2009-10 Gatorade Washington Boys Basketball Player of the Year. Harris is the first Gatorade Washington Boys Basketball Player of the Year to be chosen from Chelan High School.
The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court, distinguishes Harris as Washington’s best high school boys basketball player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year award to be announced in March, Harris joins an elite alumni association of past state boys basketball award winners, including Chris Paul (2002-03, West Forsyth HS, N.C.), Kevin Garnett (1992-93, Maudlin HS, S.C.), Chauncey Billups (1993-94 & 1994-95, George Washington HS, Colo.), Jason Kidd (1991-92, St. Joseph Notre Dame HS, Calif.), Paul Pierce (1994-95, Inglewood HS, Calif.) and Chris Bosh (2001-02, Lincoln HS, Texas).
The 6-foot-6, 205-pound senior guard led the Goats (26-2) to fifth place in the Class 1A state tournament this past season, averaging 26.6 points, 8.0 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 4.4 steals and 1.6 blocks per game. Also named Mr. Basketball by the Washington State Coaches Asscociation, Harris shot 59.2 percent from the field and 76.5 percent from the free-throw line. The returning Class 1A Player of the Year as named by The Associated Press and Seattle Times, Harris concluded his career with 2,399 points, 699 rebounds, 452 assists and 282 steals.
Harris has maintained a 3.35 GPA in the classroom. A member of the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America youth-empowerment organization and Future Business Leaders of America, he has donated his time to his school’s peer-mentoring program and as a youth basketball and soccer instructor in addition to participating in a community food drive and volunteering to assist the underprivileged on behalf of Help the Hope.
“He’s multi-dimensional,” said Brad Wilson, head coach of rival Lake Roosevelt High. “He can shoot it, drive it and pass it. He can defend and rebound. He’s the whole package. I asked some of the old-timers who have been around a long time, going back to the ’70s, and they said he was probably the best player in league history. Regardless of level or opponent, he’s an exceptional player and an exceptional talent. He’s numbers could’ve been bigger, but he decided to get his teammates involved. Most nights, he probably could have named his point total out there.”
Harris has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on scholarship at the University of Virginia this fall.
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by ESPN RISE and the Gatorade high school sports leadership team, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.
Harris joins recent Gatorade Washington Boys Basketball Players of the Year Peyton Siva (2008-09, Franklin), Abdul Gaddy (2007-08, Bellarmine Prep), and Jamelle McMillan (2006-07, O’Dea) among the state’s list of former award winners.
To celebrate the award’s 25th anniversary, Gatorade wants you to vote for the All-Time Greatest Players of the Year at gatorade.com/POY25. To keep up to date on the latest happenings, become a fan of Gatorade Player of the Year on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of past winners, and the announcement of the Gatorade National Player of the Year, visit playeroftheyear.gatorade.com.