In its 30th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today, Tuesday, March 24, 2015, announced Ben Simmons of Montverde Academy as its 2014-15 Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year. Simmons was surprised with the news at school by nine-time NBA All-Star Dominique Wilkins. An award presentation took place inside the Montverde Academy Center for Sportsmanship and Wellness (“The Nest”) during a special Upper-school afternoon Assembly. The YouTube video of the Gatorade Player of the Year presentation is available for viewing here.

“It was exciting for me to be able to surprise Ben with the Gatorade National Basketball Player of the Year award, especially because he is such a deserving winner,” Wilkins said. “Ben is a well-rounded individual who has already accomplished so much on and off the court, so it’s an honor for me to welcome him into the prestigious Gatorade Player of the Year family.”

According an official Gatorade press release, “The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court, distinguishes Simmons as the nation’s best high school boys basketball player. A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select Simmons from nearly 440,000 high school boys basketball players nationwide. Simmons is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year award, to be presented at a special ceremony prior to The ESPY Awards in July.”

Simmons, a 6-foot-10, 220-pound senior forward, has led the Eagles to a 28-1 record and a berth in the Dick’s Sporting Goods National High School Tournament, scheduled for April 2. Also the 2015 Morgan Wootten Award winner and the Naismith Trophy Boys Basketball Player of the Year, Simmons averaged 28 points and 11.9 rebounds while shooting 70.7 percent from inside the arc through 29 games. He is rated as the nation’s No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2015 by ESPN and is a 2015 McDonald’s All-American Game selection as well as a 2015 Jordan Brand Classic game invitee. Simmons has also posted regular-season averages of four assists and 2.6 steals per game and has registered 24 double-doubles on the season. In addition to his academic excellence in the classroom, Simmons has volunteered on behalf of “Basketball Buddies” literacy-outreach and as part of a study skills initiative for Montverde elementary students. He has also donated his time as a life skills and study skills guest speaker and mentor in his native Australia.

“Ben Simmons is an electrifying player,” said Montverde Academy head coach Kevin Boyle. “He’s a great rebounder and he has the ability to help teammates get better. I think he’s the best high school player in the country and the scary thing is I think he can get a lot better. He’s improved each year because he recognizes he can keep getting better.”

Simmons has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on scholarship at Louisiana State University this fall.

“Without question, Ben is deserving of recognition as the nation’s best high school boys basketball player based on his statistics on the court and the impact his accomplishments have had on Montverde Academy’s success,” said Gatorade Chief Marketing Officer Morgan Flatley. “But he is also a shining example to peers and aspiring young athletes of what a leader and a student-athlete should be. He represents everything we hope for in a Gatorade Player of the Year recipient.”

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.

Former notable Gatorade National Players of the Year include:

  • Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Peyton Manning
  • WNBA all-time leading scorer and rebounder Lisa Leslie
  • NFL all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith
  • Three-time beach volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh
  • Four-time track & field gold medalist Allyson Felix

For additional information on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of former winners, and future announcement dates, visit the Gatorade Player of the Year Web site at HERE, on Facebook at HERE, or follow Gatorade on Twitter at HERE.


2014-15 Ben Simmons Montverde Academy, Montverde, FL High School Senior
2013-14 Karl Towns, Jr. St. Joseph/Metuchen, NJ Kentucky
2012-13 Andrew Wiggins Huntington St. Joseph’s Prep/Huntington, WV Minnesota Timberwolves
2011-12 Jabari Parker Simeon Career Academy/Chicago, IL Milwaukee Bucks
2010-11 Bradley Beal Chaminade College Preparatory/St. Louis, MO Washington Wizards
2009-10 Brandon Knight Pine Crest School/Fort Lauderdale, FL Phoenix Suns
2008-09 Brandon Knight Pine Crest School/Fort Lauderdale, FL Phoenix Suns
2007-08 Jrue Holiday Campbell Hall/North Hollywood, CA New Orleans Pelicans
2006-07 Kevin Love Lake Oswego/Lake Oswego, OR Cleveland Cavaliers
2005-06 Greg Oden Lawrence North/Indianapolis, IN Retired from NBA
2004-05 Greg Oden Lawrence North/Indianapolis, IN Retired from NBA
2003-04 Dwight Howard SW Atlanta Christian Academy/Atlanta, GA Houston Rockets
2002-03 LeBron James St. Vincent-St. Mary/Akron, OH Cleveland Cavaliers
2001-02 LeBron James St. Vincent-St. Mary/Akron, OH Cleveland Cavaliers
2000-01 Kelvin Torbert Northwestern Edison/Flint, MI Retired Pro
1999-00 Jared Jeffries North/Bloomington, IN Retired from NBA
1998-99 LaVell Blanchard Pioneer/Ann Arbor, MI Gaiteros (Venezuela)
1997-98 Al Harrington St. Patrick/Elizabeth, NJ Fujian Sturgeons (China)
1996-97 Baron Davis Crossroads/Santa Monica, CA NBA Free Agent
1995-96 Kobe Bryant Lower Merion/Ardmore, PA Los Angeles Lakers
1994-95 Stephon Marbury Abraham Lincoln/Brooklyn, NY Beijing Ducks
1993-94 Felipe Lopez Rice/New York, NY Retired from NBA
1992-93 Randy Livingston Isidore Newman School/New Orleans, LA Retired from NBA
1991-92 Corliss Williamson Russellville/Russellville, AR Sacramento Kings Staff
1990-91 Chris Webber Detroit County Day/Birmingham, MI Retired from NBA
1989-90 Damon Bailey Bedford North Lawrence/Bedford, IN Retired from NBA
1988-89 Kenny Anderson Archbishop Molloy/Jamaica, NY Retired from NBA
1987-88 Alonzo Mourning Indian River/Chesapeake, VA Retired from NBA
1986-87 LaBradford Smith Bay City/Bay City, TX Retired from NBA
1985-86 J.R. Reid Kempsville/Virginia Beach, VA Retired from NBA