For the more than 30 years, Gatorade has honored the nation’s most elite high school athletes for their athletic excellence, academic achievement and exemplary character with the Gatorade Player of the Year award. On July 13, the 12 Gatorade National Players of the Year from the 2015-16 season will gather in Hollywood, where the 13th annual Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year award will be presented to the best overall male and female athlete.
In the days leading to the presentation, USA TODAY High School Sports will profile each of the 12 candidates — six boys and six girls.
This installment features National Basketball Player of the Year Kyle Muller from Jesuit College Prep in Dallas.
Kyle Muller from Jesuit College Prep in Dallas was presented with the Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year award in a surprise ceremony that featured Texas Rangers ace Cole Hamels.
The 6-foot-7, 245-pound left-handed pitcher and outfielder led the Rangers to a 34-8-2 record and the Class 6A Region 2 title. Muller owns an 8-0 record on the mound with a 0.46 ERA and 133 strikeouts, surrendering just 26 hits and issuing only 15 walks in 76 innings.
The southpaw hurled five shutouts and fired two no-hitters to post a WHIP of 0.54 while also batting .396 with 15 home runs and 52 RBI through 44 games, slugging at an .849 clip and swiping 20 bases in 21 attempts. A 2015 Under Armour All-American, he set a national high school record by striking out 33 consecutive hitters in March.
“This is overwhelming,” Muller, who has agreed to a $2.5 million contract with the Atlanta Braves, said. “I’m just very thankful to my teammates and coaches and my family, of course. It’s thrilling and I’m so glad to be part of the Gatorade family.”
RELATED: Q&A with Muller
The Gatorade Player of the Year award recognizes outstanding athletic excellence as well as high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the baseball diamond. Muller is now a finalist for the Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year award. USA TODAY High School Sports administrates the nationwide selection process in collaboration with Gatorade.
Muller has maintained an 86.5 average in the classroom. A member of his school’s Big Brother program, he has volunteered locally as part of an elementary school literacy-outreach initiative and participated in a school-sponsored, community-building service mission.