For a list of the other Gatorade State Boys Basketball POYs, click here.
THE WINNER: Josiah Gustafson
School: Millard North (Omaha, Neb.)
Weight: 195 pounds
Athletic achievement: He averaged 21.9 points, 12.3 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 3.9 steals and 1.3 blocks this past season, leading the Mustangs (12-12) to their Class A district championship game. A returning First-Team All-Nebraska selection as named by the Omaha World-Herald, Gustafson shot 46 percent from the field, 32 percent from 3-point range and 76 percent from the free throw line. Also a returning Lincoln Journal Star First-Team Super State selection, he averaged 19.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists as a junior, leading Millard North to a 2012 Class A state tournament berth.
Academic excellence: Gustafson has maintained a 3.44 GPA and represents one of the state’s top academic candidates in meeting the Gatorade Award’s broad criteria.
Exemplary character: In addition to donating his time as a youth basketball and soccer instructor, he has volunteered on behalf of the K-Life and Young Life youth ministries.
“He embodies athletic excellence and more importantly sound character,” said Doug Woodard, head coach of rival Bellevue (Neb.) West. “He’s a leader on and off the court, devoting countless hours to honing his craft and becoming a better student. He’s a good teammate and relentless competitor. His ability to get to the rim and his toughness to finish impresses me most. He creates a ton of contact and is a very good free throw shooter. He’s very physical and athletic, and just has a knack for scoring the ball.”
THE FUTURE: Gustafson has signed with Pittsburgh State.