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.
School: Chaminade College Preparatory School (St. Louis, Mo.)
Weight: 205 pounds
Athletic achievement: He has led the Red Devils to a 25-5 record and a berth in the Class 5 semifinals, scheduled for March 17. Tatum averaged 29 points and nine rebounds per game while shooting 61 percent from inside the arc and 86 percent from the free throw line through 30 games. The state’s two-time returning Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year, he is also a 2016 McDonald’s All-American Game and Jordan Brand Classic selection and has anchored Chaminade’s run to the No. 8 ranking in the USA TODAY Super 25 Expert Rankings. Ranked as the nation’s No. 2 senior recruit in the ESPN 100, Tatum was a member of the 2015 USA Basketball Men’s U19 World Championship Team that won a gold medal at the FIBA U19 World Championship in Heraklion, Greece last summer, averaging 13.9 points and 2.1 assists in seven games.
Academic excellence: Tatum has maintained a B average.
Exemplary character: A student ambassador at his school, he has volunteered locally by cooking and serving food for the needy on behalf of the Father Dempsey Charities. Tatum has also donated his time as a guest speaker for at-risk youth in Ferguson and as a coach and instructor at numerous youth basketball camps and clinics. Tatum has also played a fundamental role in the development of a program for supporting single mothers attending school as well as an initiative to educate student athletes regarding social responsibility, good digital citizenship and financial literacy. Both programs will launch once Tatum’s amateur athlete status concludes.
“Jayson Tatum is quite special and I believe he is the best player in the country,” said Lawndale Thomas, head coach at Hazelwood East. “He has the tools to play all five positions on the floor. I haven’t seen anybody else around the country that has the skills to do the things he can do.”
THE FUTURE: Tatum has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on scholarship at Duke University this fall.