For a list of the other Gatorade State Boys Basketball POYs, click here.
THE WINNER: Austin Nichols
School: Briarcrest Christian School (Eads, Tenn.)
Weight: 218 pounds
Athletic achievement: He averaged 22.7 points, 12.2 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 1.5 assists per game this past season, leading the Saints (27-7) to the Division II-AA state championship game. A two-time Division II-AA Mr. Basketball winner, Nichols was a McDonald’s All-American Game nominee. He scored 42 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in an 87-77, overtime loss to Ensworth (Nashville, Tenn.) in the state title game to conclude his prep basketball career with 1,987 points and 996 rebounds.
Academic excellence: Nichols has maintained a B average.
Exemplary character: A member of the Briarcrest Ambassadors, he has completed two service mission trips in association with the school and donated his time as a youth basketball coach and counselor.
“Austin Nichols is a great player,” said Doug Bontrager, head coach of Father Ryan Academy (Nashville, Tenn.). “He has exceptional hands and feet. His size and passing ability make him hard to defend. He is really one of the best passing big men I have encountered in all my years of coaching.”
THE FUTURE: Nichols has signed with Memphis.