Paige Bueckers and Arik Gilbert Named Gatorade High School Athletes of the Year

  • 24-JUL-2020

Paige Bueckers and Arik Gilbert

Named Gatorade High School Athletes of the Year

2020 Winner Bueckers Headed to UCONN, Gilbert to LSU This Fall

CHICAGO, Friday, July 24, 2020 – Today Gatorade announced the recipients of its 18th annual Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year awards. Paige Bueckers was named the 2020 Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year and Arik Gilbert was named the 2020 Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year. Bueckers is the first female basketball player to win the award since 2014, and Gilbert is the first tight end in history to win.

“Arik and Paige are truly the best of the best, outshining not only the fierce competition among the exceptional Gatorade National Players of the Year, but also beating out nearly six million student-athletes that participate in the sports our 12 nominees play,” said Gatorade Senior Vice President and General Manager Brett O’Brien. “What makes the Gatorade Athlete of the Year award so prestigious is not just the sheer size and quality of the talent pool, but also the criteria to be outstanding on the field of play, in the classroom and in the community.”

Gatorade’s Male and Female Athletes of the Year awards are among the most difficult to win in high school sports. Recent female winners have included the first prep to run a 100-meter dash in under 11 seconds, a 16-year-old Olympic semifinalist and the first student-athlete to win National Player of the Year honors in two different sports. Recent male winners have included the current starting quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals, a 2020 NBA All-Star, last season’s starting quarterback at USC, and the KC Royals’ No. 1 prospect.

Gatorade Athletes of the Year have gone on to have incredible success – they’ve combined for nine MVP awards, 13 National Championships, 59 all-star appearances and 20 were first round draft picks. Their accomplishments are more impressive in the context of their competition. The athletes who’ve been nominated but didn’t win still went on to win hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators.


Bueckers: A three-time Gatorade Minnesota Girls Basketball Player of the Year, Bueckers of Hopkins High School (Minnetonka, Minn.), led the Royals to a perfect 30-0 record and the Minnesota Class 4A state championship game, which was canceled due to concerns over coronavirus. She averaged 21.0 points, 9.2 assists, 5.2 steals and 5.1 rebounds per game. Below are additional facts about Bueckers:

  • Named the 2020 Naismith Girls High School Player of the Year
  • Winner of the 2020 Miss Minnesota Basketball Award
  • Named the 2019 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year
  • Three-time Minneapolis Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year and FIBA World Cup U19 MVP
  • Starter for the gold-medal winning USA Basketball U19 Women’s World Cup Team and tournament MVP
  • Ranked as the nation's No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2020 by ESPN
  • 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
  • Maintained a 3.80 GPA in the classroom
  • Signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on scholarship at the University of Connecticut this fall

Arik Gilbert: Gilbert of Marietta High School (Marietta, Ga.), led the Blue Devils to a 13-2 record and the Georgia Class 7A state title, the school’s first in 52 years. A two-time All-State honoree, he was also named Region 3 Offensive Player of the Year as a junior and selected to play in the 2020 All-American Bowl. He caught 105 passes for 1,860 yards and 15 touchdowns. Below are additional facts about Gilbert:

  • Ranked as the nation’s No. 1 tight end prospect in the Class of 2020 by ESPN and Rivals
  • Ranked as the No. 11 player in the country regardless of position by Rivals
  • Founded a campus-wide initiative called “Whisper,” which urges students to have device-free conversations and supports diversity and inclusion efforts
  • Volunteered on behalf of the East Atlanta Kids Club, Habitat for Humanity and March of Dimes
  • Served as a parishioner at the Life Revolution Church and donated more than 50 hours to Marietta elementary schools and the Marietta Youth Football program
  • Maintained a 3.14 GPA in the classroom
  • He verbally committed to play football on scholarship at Louisiana State University this fall


From the 12 national award winners in 12 different sports, Gatorade names one male and one female athlete as the Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year. Below are this year’s nominees:








Jess Mruzik


Mercy High School (Farmington Hills, Mich.)

University of Michigan


Katelyn Tuohy

Cross Country

North Rockland High School (Thiells, N.Y.)

North Carolina State University


Paige Bueckers


Hopkins High School (Minnetonka, Minn.)

University of Connecticut


Jayda Coleman


The Colony High School (The Colony, Texas)

University of Oklahoma


Emily Mason


Hunterdon Central Regional High School (Flemington, N.J.)

H.S. Senior


Taylor Ewert

Track & Field

Beavercreek High School (Beavercreek, Ohio)

University of Arkansas







Arik Gilbert


Marietta High School (Marietta, Ga.)

Louisiana State University

Nico Young

Cross Country

Newbury Park High School (Newbury Park, Calif.)

Northern Arizona University

Emoni Bates


Lincoln High School (Ypsilanti, Mich.)

H.S. Junior

Jared Kelley


Refugio High School (Refugio, Texas)

University of Texas

Jony Munoz


Olathe West High School (Olathe, Kan.)

Liberty University

Nico Young

Track & Field

Newbury Park High School (Newbury Park, Calif.)

Northern Arizona University



Former winners of Gatorade Male and Female High School Athlete of the Year award include:

2003           Male:          LeBron James / Basketball (Akron, Ohio / Los Angeles Lakers)

                  Female:      Allyson Felix / Track & Field (Los Angeles / USA Track & Field)

2004           Male:          Dwight Howard / Basketball (Atlanta, Ga. / Los Angeles Lakers)

                  Female:      Candace Parker / Basketball (Naperville, Ill. / Los Angeles Sparks)

2005           Male:          Greg Paulus / Football (Syracuse, N.Y. / Niagara University Coaching Staff)

                  Female:      Cynthia Barboza / Volleyball (Long Beach, Calif. / Retired Pro Athlete)

2006           Male:          Greg Oden / Basketball (Indianapolis, Ind. / Retired Pro Athlete)

                  Female:      Tina Charles / Basketball (New York / Washington Sparks)

2007           Male:          Kevin Love / Basketball (Lake Oswego, Ore. / Cleveland Cavaliers)

                  Female:      Maya Moore / Basketball (Suwanee, Ga. / Minnesota Lynx)

2008           Male:          Matt Barkley / Football (Santa Ana, Calif. / Buffalo Bills)

                  Female:      Chanelle Price / Track & Field (Easton, Penn. / USA Track & Field)

2009           Male:          Garrett Gilbert / Football (Austin, Texas / Cleveland Browns)

                  Female:      Skylar Diggins-Smith / Basketball (South Bend, Ind. / Phoenix Mercury)

2010           Male:          Brandon Knight / Basketball (Fort Lauderdale, Fla. / Detroit Pistons)

                  Female:      Chiney Ogwumike / Basketball (Cypress, Texas / Los Angeles Sparks)

2011           Male:          Dylan Bundy / Baseball (Owasso, Okla. / Los Angeles Angels)

                  Female:      Morgan Gautrat / Soccer (St. Simons Island, Ga. / Chicago Red Stars)

2012           Male:          Johnathan Gray / Football (Aledo, Texas / Retired College Athlete)

                  Female:      Breanna Stewart / Basketball (Cicero, N.Y. / Seattle Storm)

2013           Male:          Andrew Wiggins / Basketball (Huntington, W.Va. / Golden State Warriors)

                  Female:      Morgan Andrews / Soccer (Milford, N.H. / OL Reign)

2014           Male:          Karl-Anthony Towns / Basketball (Metuchen, N.J. / Minnesota Timberwolves)

                  Female:      Brianna Turner / Basketball (Manvel, Texas / Phoenix Mercury)

2015           Male:          Kyler Murray / Football (Allen, Texas / Arizona Cardinals)

                  Female:      Candace Hill / Track & Field (Conyers, Ga. / ASICS Sprinter)

2016           Male:          Jayson Tatum / Basketball (St. Louis, Mo. / Boston Celtics)

                  Female:      Sydney McLaughlin / Track & Field (Scotch Plains, N.J. / USA Track & Field)

2017           Male:          MacKenzie Gore / Baseball (Whiteville, N.C. / San Diego Padres)

                  Female:      Sydney McLaughlin / Track & Field (Scotch Plains, N.J. / USA Track & Field)

2018           Male:          J.T. Daniels / Football (Santa Ana, Calif. / University of Georgia)

                  Female:      Katelyn Tuohy / Cross Country and Track & Field (Thiells, N.Y. / North Carolina State University)

2019           Male:          Bobby Witt, Jr. / Baseball (Colleyville, Texas / Kansas City Royals)

                  Female:      Kelley Lynch / Softball (Sharpsburg, Ga. / University of Washington)

Established in 1985, the Gatorade Player of the Year program recognizes the nation’s most elite high school athletes for their accomplishments on and off the field. Winners are selected 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. One National Player of the Year is awarded in each sport, becoming the nominees for the Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year award, which was established in 2003.

For more information on the Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year awards and the Gatorade Player of the Year program, visit

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