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: Xavier Simpson
School: Lima Senior (Lima, Ohio)
Position: Point guard
Weight: 175 pounds
Athletic achievement: He has led the Spartans to a 28-0 record and a berth in the Division I semifinals, scheduled for March 18. Simpson is averaging 28 points, 6.3 assists and 3.7 steals per game through 28 games, shooting nearly 60 percent from 3-point range. A First Team All-State selection and an Ohio Mr. Basketball award finalist, he scored 59 points in a 103-57 win over Fremont Ross last month. Simpson is rated the nation’s No. 45 recruit in the Class of 2016 by ESPN.
Academic excellence: Simpson has maintained a 3.68 GPA.
Exemplary character: A youth mentor as part of his school’s Big Spartans Little Spartans program, he also serves as treasurer of Lima Senior’s chapter of DECA in addition to producing and anchoring a weekly sports video broadcast called “Around the Spartan.”
“I can’t believe that there is a player in Ohio that is more important to his team’s success than Xavier Simpson,” said Jim Rucki, head coach at Findlay High. He makes everyone around him a better player. He is true point guard. He keeps his team under control and is a coach on the floor. He can be a great scorer when he needs to be, but has an uncanny ability to give his teammates the ball right where they need it. He is the best player in Ohio.”
THE FUTURE: Simpson has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on scholarship at the University of Michigan this fall.