Kiki Rice, Dariq Whitehead win 2022 Naismith High School Player of the Year

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Montverde Academy (Fla.) senior forward and Duke commit Dariq Whitehead and Sidwell Friends School (Washington D.C.) guard Kiki Rice have been named the 2022 Jersey Mike’s Naismith High School Players of the Year.

Whitehead helped Montverde — ranked sixth in the USA TODAY Sports Super 25 — to a 21-4 regular-season record with 17.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 0.6 steals and 0.2 blocks per game. He joins R.J. Barrett, Cade Cunningham and Ben Simmons as the fourth Montverde player to win the award.

“I am humbled and honored to become the fourth Montverde Academy player in the last eight years to receive the Jersey Mike’s Naismith Award,” Whitehead said, per release. “I want to thank Coach Boyle and the rest of my coaches along with my teammates, as well as Dr. Kasey Kesselring and the rest of the Montverde Academy community for helping to make this happen.” 

Rice, a UCLA commit, averaged 16 points, 7.6 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 2.8 steals per game this season. She is the first McDonald’s All-American in Sidwell Friends School program history.

“This is a dream come true,” Rice said. “I am so honored to be recognized with the Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy by the selection committee from a group of finalists that I personally know to be outstanding players. I am thankful for my family, teammates and coaches because I know without a doubt that without them this would not have been possible.” 

The Jersey Mike’s Naismith High School Trophy for Player of the Year was first presented in 1987. The winners are selected by a group of basketball journalists from around the country who form the Naismith Awards national high school voting academy.

“In a highly competitive and thrilling basketball season, Kiki and Dariq were the most outstanding players in the nation and incredibly deserving to be honored with the Jersey Mike’s Naismith High School Trophy as Players of the Year,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “They both have proven to be exceptional basketball players, and we wish them well as they continue their careers at the next level.”  

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