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Paige Bueckers Named 2019-20 Gatorade® National Girls Basketball Player of the Year

MINNETONKA, Minn., March 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- In its 35th year of honoring the nation's most elite high school athletes, The Gatorade Company today announced Paige Bueckers of Hopkins High School in Minnetonka, Minn. is the 2019-20 Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year. Bueckers won the prestigious award for her accomplishments on and off the court, joining an impressive group of former Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year winners who have combined for nine WNBA MVP awards, 49 All-Star appearances and 14 became WNBA first round draft picks.

Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns surprised Bueckers with the award in front of family, friends, teammates and coaches at her school. Check out a video of the announcement here.

"Winning the Player of the Year award was a day that I will always remember. That is why I am so excited to present Paige Bueckers with her award," said Karl-Anthony Towns. "Being recognized by Gatorade as an elite athlete both on and off the court is an honor like no other and I am thrilled to see what great things Paige will accomplish in her career."

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 Bueckers as the nation's best high school girls basketball player. A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select Bueckers from nearly a million high school girls basketball players nationwide.

Competition for the national award is fierce. Bueckers topped the list of 51 state winners in girls basketball who have an incredible list of accomplishments, including 12 McDonald's All-American Game selections, 12 Pac-12 committees, six ACC committees, 15 with GPAs above a 4.0 and 88 percent volunteering with at least two organizations.

Bueckers is now a finalist for the most prestigious award in high school sports, the Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year award, which is announced at a special ceremony after the 2020 ESPY Awards in July.

"Paige plays with natural instincts and an enthusiasm for the game that is becoming harder and harder to find at the elite level within our sport," said Chris Menning, vice president and national evaluator for Blue Star Basketball. "She's a skilled guard with length and carries the full complement of sharp and efficient tools onto the court. She also impacts the game in a broader fashion than most of her peers—Paige can be the go-to scorer when needed, but has the ability to create for others as well as impact the defensive end of the floor. She's a fierce competitor who's already enjoyed great success in international competition, and we'll be seeing her name throughout and beyond the college basketball scene in the years to come."

The 6-foot senior guard led the Royals to a 28-0 record and the Class AAAA sectional final at the time of her selection. The state's three-time returning Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year, Bueckers averages 21.8 points, 9.3 assists, 5.3 steals and 5.1 rebounds per game. A starter for the gold medal-winning USA Basketball U19 Women's World Cup Team, she is a finalist for the Naismith High School Girls Player of the Year trophy and a 2019 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year. Also, a two-time Minneapolis Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year and a FIBA World Cup U19 MVP, Bueckers has been chosen to play in both the McDonald's All-American Game and the Jordan Brand Classic and is ranked as the nation's No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2020 by ESPN.     

Bueckers organized her own series of youth basketball clinics, "Buckets With Bueckers," which offers free admission to players in Minnesota and Montana, while raising funds for local charities via donations and corporate sponsorships. An invited speaker and honorary guest at Lucy Laney grade school in North Minneapolis, she has also donated her time volunteering as a reader at the Hopkins Public Library.

Bueckers has maintained a 3.80 GPA in the classroom. She has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on scholarship at the University of Connecticut this fall.

"Paige Bueckers has been recognized as the best high school girls basketball player in the nation because of her dedication to performing at her best, striving for top marks in the classroom, and being a leader in her community," said Gatorade Senior Vice President and General Manager Brett O'Brien. "The great thing about the Gatorade Player of the Year Award is that it looks at the whole athlete, not just the stats."

Through Gatorade's cause marketing platform "Play it Forward," Bueckers has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of her choosing. She is also eligible to submit an essay to win one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants for the organization of choice, which will be announced throughout the year. 

Each year a selection committee evaluates the nation's top talent in the District of Columbia and all 50 states, choosing national winners in 12 different sports: football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, baseball, softball, boys and girls soccer, and boys and girls track and field. From the 12 national winners, one male and one female athlete are each named Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year.

Since the program's inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have won hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators. Previous winners include a distinguished list of athletes, such as Peyton Manning, Abby Wambach, Karl-Anthony Towns, Derek Jeter and many other sports icons. To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student-athletes, visit www.Gatorade.com/POY, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GatoradePOY or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Gatorade.

About Gatorade
The Gatorade Company, a division of PepsiCo (NASDAQ: PEP), meets the needs of consumers who participate in Sports and Fitness, through brands that include Gatorade, Propel, Muscle Milk and Bolt24. The solutions they provide are driven by a deep understanding of the unique needs and occasions of different types of sports and fitness. Gatorade, their marquee brand, is underpinned by more than 50-year history of studying the best athletes in the world and sports-nutrition research by the Gatorade Sport Science Institute, allowing it to provide scientifically-formulated products that meet athletes' needs both on and off the field. For more information and a full list of products, please visit www.gatorade.com 

About PepsiCo
PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $64 billion in net revenue in 2018, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker and Tropicana. PepsiCo's product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.

At the heart of PepsiCo is Performance with Purpose – our fundamental belief that the success of our company is inextricably linked to the sustainability of the world around us. We believe that continuously improving the products we sell, operating responsibly to protect our planet and empowering people around the world enable PepsiCo to run a successful global company that creates long-term value for society and our shareholders. For more information, visit www.pepsico.com

PREVIOUS GATORADE NATIONAL GIRLS BASKETBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR WINNERS

YEAR

NAME

HOMETOWN

STATUS

2018-19

Azzi Fudd

Washington, D. C.

High School Junior

2017-18

Christyn Williams

Little Rock, AR

University of Connecticut

2016-17

Megan Walker

North Chesterfield, VA

University of Connecticut

2015-16

Erin Boley

Elizabethtown, KY

University of Oregon

2014-15

Katie Lou Samuelson

Santa Ana, CA

Dallas Wings

2013-14

Brianna Turner

Manvel, TX

Phoenix Mercury

2012-13

Mercedes Russell

Springfield, OR

Seattle Storm

2011-12

Breanna Stewart

Cicero, NY

Seattle Storm

2010-11

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis

Santa Ana, CA

Seattle Storm

2009-10

Chiney Ogwumike

Cypress, TX

Los Angeles Sparks 

2008-09

Skylar Diggins-Smith

South Bend, IN

Phoenix Mercury

2007-08

Nneka Ogwumike

Cypress, TX

Los Angeles Sparks 

2006-07

Maya Moore

Suwanee, GA

Minnesota Lynx

2005-06

Tina Charles

Middle Village, NY

New York Liberty

2004-05

Abby Waner

Highlands Ranch, CO

Retired from New York Liberty

2003-04

Candace Parker

Naperville, IL

Los Angeles Sparks 

2002-03

Candace Parker

Naperville, IL

Los Angeles Sparks 

2001-02

Ann Strother

Denver, CO

Retired from Atlanta Dream

2000-01

Shyra Ely

Indianapolis, IN

Retired from Indiana Fever

1999-00

Shereka Wright

Copperas Cove, TX

Retired from Phoenix Mercury

1998-99

Nicole Kaczmarski

Lake Ronkonkoma, NY

Retired from Los Angeles Sparks

1997-98

Tamika Williams

Dayton, OH

Retired from Connecticut Sun

1996-97

Nikki Teasley

Frederick, MD

Retired from Atlanta Dream

1995-96

Jaime Walz

Ft. Thomas, KY

Played for Western Kentucky

1994-95

Stephanie White

West Lebanon, IN

Retired from Indiana Fever

1993-94

Monick Foote

Wilmington, DE

Retired from Cleveland Cavaliers

1992-93

La'Keshia Frett

Hampton, VA

Retired from New York Liberty

1991-92

Katie Smith

Logan, OH

Retired from New York Liberty

1990-91

Michelle Marciniak

Allentown, PA

Retired from Seattle Storm

1989-90

Lisa Leslie

Inglewood, CA

Retired from Los Angeles Sparks

1988-89

Lisa Harrison

Louisville, KY

Retired from Phoenix Mercury

1987-88

Vicki Hall

Indianapolis, IN

Retired from Los Angeles Sparks

1986-87

Kris Durham

Scotch Plains, NJ

Retired from USA Basketball Women's National Team

1985-86

Susan Anderson

Deming, WA

Played for University of Texas

 

Cision View original content:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/paige-bueckers-named-2019-20-gatorade-national-girls-basketball-player-of-the-year-301019934.html

SOURCE The Gatorade Company

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