THE WINNER: Jalen Brunson
School: Stevenson (Lincolnshire, Ill.)
Weight: 190 pounds
He has led the Patriots to a 28-3 record and a berth in the Class 4A state semifinals, scheduled for March 20. The state’s returning Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year, Brunson averaged 23.1 points, 5.4 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 2.6 steals through 31 games. Also the 2014-15 State Player of the Year as named by the Chicago Sun-Times, Brunson shot 48.7 percent from the field, 38.3 percent from 3-point range and 82.0 percent from the free-throw line entering the round of four. His 56 points as a junior in the 2014 Class 4A state semifinals set a single-game state tournament record. In addition to participating in Nike’s LeBron James Skills Academy and Elite Youth Basketball League this past summer, he helped capture the 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Championship as a member of the USA Basketball Men’s U18 National Team.
Academic excellence: Brunson has maintained a 3.22 weighted GPA.
Exemplary character: In addition to donating his time as a voting registrar, he has volunteered locally on behalf of his church and as a youth basketball instructor.
“He is a matchup nightmare,” said Billy Pitcher, head coach of rival Lake Zurich High. “If you crowd him, he goes by you. If you give him space, he hits a 3-pointer. If you double him, he fires a no-look pass to the open teammate. And he never turns the ball over. His decision-making is excellent.”
THE FUTURE: Brunson has signed with Villanova.