The Gatorade State Boys Basketball Players of the Year were selected based on athletic production and impact in the 2015-16 fall season. Each winner also demonstrated high academic achievement and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership.
For the complete list of Gatorade State Boys Basketball Player of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Ja’Vonte Smart
School: Scotlandville Magnet (Baton Rouge, La.)
Position: Point guard
Weight: 190 pounds
Athletic achievement: He averaged 22.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.2 blocks per game this past seaosn, leading the Hornets (34-3) to the Class 5A state title game. A returning Class 5A First Team All-State selection as named by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association, Smart shot 49.3 percent from the field, 44.5 from 3-point range and 80.6 percent from the free-throw line as a sophomore. He led Scotlandville to the 2015 Class 5A state championship as a freshman, capturing MVP honors in the state final. A member of the 2015-16 USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team, he averaged 6.8 points and 4.2 rebounds during the U16 National Team’s run to the 2015 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.
Academic excellence: Smart has maintained a 3.10 GPA.
Exemplary character: In addition to participating as a member of his school’s engineering club, he has donated his time as a mentor to youth basketball players in the area.
“Ja’Vonte has a knowledge of and for the game unlike any other high school player,” said Scotlandville head coach Carlos Sample. “He is a very unselfish player. He looks to get his teammates involved before he attacks. He’s a fearless and awesome competitor with a high basketball IQ.”
THE FUTURE: Smart will begin his junior year of high school this fall.