• 09-MAR-2020

Minnesota Timberwolves Star Karl-Anthony Towns Surprises Winner with Honor
Minnetonka, Minn. [March 9, 2020] – 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.
“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 GPA’s 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 U19 World Cup 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 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, on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at
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
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.
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