THE WINNER: Tyus Jones
School: Apple Valley (Minn.)
Position: Point guard
Weight: 186 pounds
Athletic achievement: He has led the Eagles to a 28-1 record and a berth in the Class 4A state tournament, scheduled to begin March 20. Jones averaged 20.9 points, 7.6 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 3.1 steals through 29 games. The returning Gatorade Minnesota Boys Basketball Player of the Year, Jones shot 62 percent from the field, 42 percent from 3-point range and 84 percent from the free throw line. Coming off the bench for USA Basketball’s U17 National Team, Jones contributed 8.5 points, 5.4 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game during Team USA’s gold medal run at this past summer’s World Championships. He averaged 28.1 points, 8.0 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 3.4 steals for Apple Valley as a sophomore.
Academic excellence: Jones has maintained a 3.17 GPA.
Exemplary character: In addition to donating his time as a youth basketball instructor, he has volunteered locally on behalf of Feed My Starving Children and as a motivational speaker for elementary school children.
“He makes everybody around him better,” said Mike Walker, an assistant coach for Jones’ club team, the Howard Pulley Panthers. “He puts players in position to be successful. He always looks to make the correct basketball play, and he does that every time – no matter what the situation. He’s a pure point guard. His mentality is always way above guys that were older. The way he approaches the game and communicates with teammates, he is another coach on the floor. He knows what plays to run and knows who’s hot.”
THE FUTURE: Jones will be a senior next year.