Ben Simmons and Katie Lou Samuelson have officially earned the right to be mentioned in the same breath as LeBron James and Maya Moore.
Not in a comparative analysis to James’ and Moore’s greatness — at least not yet.
On Tuesday, McDonald’s All American Games and Hall of Fame coach Morgan Wootten named Simmons, a forward at Montverde (Montverde, Fla.), and Samuelson, a wing at Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), as the 2015 Morgan Wootten Player of the Year award winners.
Both Simmons and Samuelson are consensus No. 1 players in the senior class.
The official award presentation will take place at the McDonald’s All American Games awards banquet on March 31 in Chicago. The McDonald’s All American Games tip at the United Center on April 1 at 6:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU) for the girls and 9 p.m. ET (ESPN) for the boys.
“It was exciting enough being picked for the McDonald’s All American Game,” Samuelson said. “But to win the Morgan Wootten award is such an honor. There are so many great players that are playing in this game with me that could’ve won this; it’s special for me.”
Samuelson, a Connecticut signee, averaged 29.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game this season and has won four gold medals with USA Basketball.
Simmons, an LSU signee, has led Montverde to back-to-back DICK’s Nationals titles. He’s averaging 29 points, 12 rebounds and 4.4 assists a game this season.
“I feel very honored to be named the Morgan Wooten Player of the Year,” Simmons said. “I am so humbled to be selected from such a talented group of my peers. I continue every day to work hard and be grateful. Individual accolades would not be possible without my teammates and my coaches at Montverde Academy.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY