Posted On: 02/6/19 11:38 AM
Atlanta, Georgia – The 2018-2019 regular season is officially over and now it is time for a more important goal. The GHSA state playoffs are just about a week away and everyone will be looking to capture that state title. But let us talk about who are the final five finalist to win Georgia’s Gatorade Player of the Year award this year or aka Mr. Georgia Basketball. In the beginning of the year we began with about 18 nominees and now the list has cut to five prospects. Sharife Cooper (McEachern), Anthony Edwards (Holy Spirit Prep), Brandon Boston Jr. (Norcross), Walker Kessler (Woodward Academy), and KD Johnson (Southwest Dekalb) are the five finalist that can potentially receive the Georgia 2018-2019 Gatorade Player of the year Award.
2020 PG Sharife Cooper (McEachern High School)
The 6-foot-1 junior point guard Sharife Cooper has continued to take the nation by storm with his incredible play on the court and leading McEachern to a perfect 25-0 regular season record. Cooper averaged 26 points per game while dishing out 8 assists per game during their 25-game regular season stretch. He has led his squad to supreme wins over programs like Paul VI (VA), Mountain Brook (AL), Sunrise Christian (KS), Shadow Mountain (AZ), Rancho Christian (CA), and others. Sharife has also received most valuable player awards from both the City of Palms Classic and Bass Pro Shops TOC in December and January. It is without question that Cooper is the favorite to receive this award with all he has done. Besides being in the run for this award, he is also in the run for national player of the year according to Maxpreps.
2019 SG Anthony Edwards (Holy Spirit Prep)
Anthony “Ant-Man” Edwards comes in as the second favorite to receive this award behind Sharife Cooper. Edwards is the lone senior in the finalist list for the 2018-2019 season and was recenlty named a 2019 McDonald’s All American. Anthony has emerged over the last year or so to one of the most exciting players in the nation and his game will definitely back that up. He currently averaged 26.7 points per game, 8.7 rebounds per game, and 2.1 steals per game in the regular season in his senior campaign. Him and his Holy Spirit Prep squad did not shy away from the nations best this year as they took six out of state trips that included trips to Washington D.C, Texas, South Carolina, Massachusetts, and Tennessee twice. Anthony has recently cut his list of schools to four, North Carolina, Kentucky, Florida State, and Georgia, and is expected to commit next Monday morning.
2020 W Brandon Boston Jr. (Norcross High School)
It has been a fantastic and stock rising junior season for junior wing Brandon Boston Jr. Boston has been showing out in every game he has played this season and that exact play boosted his stock in the latest ESPN rankings where he slid to the number seven overall prospect in his class. The 6-foot-7 junior averaged 19.2 points per game during the regular season for Norcross and leading them to an 18-7 overall record. He is a dynamic shooter, as we know, and has improved in his overall game as the season went along. Boston is without a doubt one of the top finalist that can receive this award and will be looking to make his third consecutive class 7A state championship game with the Blue Devils of Norcross. Norcross has made back-to-back state championship game appearances in 2017 and 2018.
2020 C Walker Kessler (Woodward Academy)
You probably have not heard that much about the 7-foot-0 center Walker Kessler this season as much as you hear about Cooper, Edwards, and Boston Jr. and that is understandable. Kessler is one of the top prospects in his class and is currently ranked #18 in his class according to ESPN. His Woodward Academy program this year might not be as nationally good enough to go to the top national showcases, but Kessler is a very intriguing prospect and that is why he is one of the finalist to win Georgia’s 2018-2019 Gatorade POY award. Besides his 21.0 points per game, 11.6 rebounds per game, and 6.2 blocks per game average, Walker is a uniquely skilled 7-footer who is capable of hitting the outside shot from outside the paint. If Kessler ends up winning the Gatorade POY award, he will be the first big to receive such an award since Wendell Carter Jr. (Chicago Bulls) of Pace Academy in 2017.
2020 PG KD Johnson (Southwest Dekalb High School)
6-foot-1 point guard KD Johnson has been one of the southeast’s most emerging prospects this year and going into last year. He is a hardnosed and one of the toughest most competitive prospects you will witness. Why is he one of the finalist? KD has had to carry the load for this year’s Southwest Dekalb squad after battling injuries and eligiblity issues for other players and has led this squad to a 19-6 overall record. Johnson averaged 23.3 points per game, 5.3 assists per game, 5.7 rebounds per game, and 4.7 steals per game. Yes you read that right, Johnson is averaging almsot five steals per contest. He is not afraid of anyone and has that “dog” mentality in him. He has improved so much as a pure point guard and is a lethal threat to score when he posses the ball.