30 Years of Honoring The Future: POY isn’t only thing Kyle Collinsworth, Jason Kidd and Shaquille O’Neal have in common

30 Years of Honoring The Future: POY isn’t only thing Kyle Collinsworth, Jason Kidd and Shaquille O’Neal have in common

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30 Years of Honoring The Future: POY isn’t only thing Kyle Collinsworth, Jason Kidd and Shaquille O’Neal have in common

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Legacy. Tradition. A who’s who of American sport. As the Gatorade Player of the Year program celebrates its 30th anniversary year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, fans can count many a household name on the roster of former award-winners. Over the past three decades, prep sports’ most esteemed honor boasts Super Bowl, World Series, NBA, WNBA, MLS Cup, NCAA and Olympic champions among more than 13,000 State Players of the Year and 270 National POYs across 12 sports. Let’s not forget the scores of program alumni who have gone on to capture league-MVP, All-Star and All-American recognition. Today, we’re catching up with Brigham Young University basketball standouts Kyle Collinsworth and Tyler Haws.

In 2010, Kyle Collinsworth was the most versatile player in high school basketball. He averaged 23.7 points, 10.4 rebounds, 8.0 assists and 3.8 steals per game for Provo (Utah) High, notching six triple-doubles on his way to Gatorade Utah Boys Basketball Player of the Year honors.

Still, that was high school. He couldn’t possibly do that against college competition—especially coming off a torn right ACL suffered in last year’s West Coast Conference title game. Could he?

This season, the BYU junior has been the most versatile player in college basketball, recording an NCAA single-season record five triple-doubles, breaking the previous mark of four shared by 1991-92 Gatorade California Boys Basketball Player of the Year Jason Kidd at Cal, Drexel’s Michael Anderson, UC-Santa Barbara’s Brian Shaw and UMass’ Stephane Lasme.

Collinsworth topped that foursome with 23 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in an 87-68 victory against Loyola-Marymount earlier this month.

The 6-foot-6, 210-pound point guard probably isn’t done with records quite yet, as the Division I career record for triple-doubles is just six, held by both Anderson and LSU’s Shaquille O’Neal, who captured the Gatorade Texas Boys Basketball Player of the Year award in 1988-89. Collinsworth nearly tied that one Saturday, finishing one assist shy of a triple-double against Pacific, as his teammates missed several opportunities in the final three minutes and Cougars head coach Dave Rose pulled him with 37.4 seconds left.

Collinsworth likely won’t be the only former Gatorade Player of the Year on the BYU men’s basketball roster to break a significant record this year.

Leading scorer Tyler Haws is 35 points shy of Jimmer Fredette’s Cougars career scoring standard of 2,599 points. Fredette broke former Boston Celtics star Danny Ainge’s 30-year-old school record in 2011. Haws, the 2007-08 and 2008-09 Gatorade Utah Boys Basketball Player of the Year for Highland (Utah) Lone Peak High, could conceivably eclipse Fredette’s mark Thursday against San Diego on Senior Night. If Haws doesn’t get the record during that go-around, the 6-foot-5, 195-pound guard will have another shot on Feb. 26 against Portland—a team he dropped a career-high 48 points on last season.

Haws is averaging 22.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game this season. He has already broken Fredette’s school record for career free throws and also owns BYU’s career mark for free throw percentage (88.7).

Haws and Collinsworth aren’t the only former Gatorade State Boys Basketball Players of the Year contributing to the Cougars this season, either.

Chase Fischer, a transfer from Wake Forest, averages 13.6 points and tops the BYU roster with his average of more than a trio of 3-pointers per game. He was the 2010-11 Gatorade West Virginia Boys Basketball POY at Ripley (W.Va.) High. Freshman Jordan Chatman, the 2011-12 Gatorade Washington Boys Basketball POY at Camas (Wash.) Union High, is redshirting this season.

Nor are Haws and Collinsworth the only Gatorade alumni in their own families.

Tyler’s younger brother, T.J. Haws, has committed to BYU after his own Gatorade-winning campaign at Lone Peak last year, but will serve a two-year LDS mission in Europe before taking the floor. Likewise, Kyle’s older brother, Chris Collinsworth, captured 2006-07 Gatorade Utah Boys Basketball POY honors before his BYU career was cut short by injuries. The Collinsworth boys are of no relation to the former eight-year NFL wideout and current NBC broadcaster of the same name.

To see the legacy for yourself, visit the Gatorade Player of the Year winner archive, where you can relive history and see which future stars won their first national recognition as high school athletes. To see the cream of the crop, visit the roster of Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year winners, showcasing Gatorade’s top male and female National Player of the Year honoree, selected annually from each POY class.

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