Jrue Holiday

California player named nation’s top high school performer

LOS ANGELES (March 19, 2008) – In its third decade of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in partnership with RISE Magazine, today announced senior combo guard Jrue Holiday of Campbell Hall (North Hollywood, Calif.) as its 2007-08 Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

The award, which recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court, distinguishes Holiday as the nation’s best high school boys basketball player. A national advisory board comprised of sportswriters and sport-specific experts from around the country helped select Holiday from the more than 556,000 high school boys basketball players nationwide. Holiday is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year award, to be presented at a special afternoon ceremony prior to The ESPY Awards in July.

The state’s returning Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year, Holiday averaged 25.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 4.4 steals and 2.4 blocks per game on the season, leading the Vikings (31-5) to their second straight California Interscholastic Federation Division IV state title and the program’s third in four years. He is only the second player in Los Angeles-area history to surpass 2,600 career points, finishing with 2,666 (trailing Mitchell Butler, who netted 2,682 points for Oakwood of North Hollywood from 1986-1989). He ranks as the state’s 14th all-time leading scorer, according to CalHighSports.com.

A McDonald’s All-American Game and Jordan Brand All-American Team selection, the 6-foot-4, 190-pound senior submitted a dominating performance against San Joaquin Memorial in the Southern California Regional Division IV title game, where he scored 22 points on 10-of-15 shooting, and collected 11 rebounds, nine assists and seven steals in a 76-45 victory. Holiday scored 19 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in the 83-61 state championship victory against Saint Mary’s. He led Campbell Hall to an incredible 126-8 record in his four-year varsity career.

Holiday has maintained a B-average in the classroom. A member of the school’s Gospel Choir and the percussion section leader in Campbell Hall’s orchestra, he also teaches basketball fundamentals to youth players in association with the American Cancer Society’s Coaches vs. Cancer charity and raises funds to benefit cancer research through the Concern Foundation. Holiday has also traveled to Japan as a youth ambassador on behalf of the Shepherd of the Hills Christian Church, in addition to donating his time at Campbell Hall as a tour guide on Perspective Student Days and as team manager for the varsity girls’ tennis squad.

In my opinion, the most talented overall player among the elite players in the country is Holiday, said USA Basketball Junior Development Committee Chair Don Showalter. I love the kid. I think he’s a great teammate. He makes everybody else better. He’s very coachable, he reacts so well to feedback, and his teammates just absolutely love him, and that’s an important thing to note when you’re talking about this level of talent.

Holiday has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball at UCLA this fall. He joins 2008 Pac-10 Freshman and Player of the Year Kevin Love (2006-07, Lake Oswego High School/Lake Oswego, OR) and two-time NBA All-Star Baron Davis (1996-97, Crossroads High School/Santa Monica, CA) as UCLA recruits to be named Gatorade National Boys Basketball Players of the Year. Recent Gatorade National Boys Basketball Players of the Year include two-time winner Greg Oden (2004-05 & 2005-06, Lawrence North HS/Indianapolis, IN), Dwight Howard (2003-04, Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy/Atlanta, GA) and two-time winner LeBron James (2001-02 & 2002-03, St. Vincent-St. Mary High School/Akron, OH).

Without question, Jrue 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 play had on Campbell Hall’s success, said Gatorade Senior Vice President of Sports Marketing Jeff Urban. But he is also a shining example to peers and aspiring young players 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 RISE Magazine, which works 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:
* NFL all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith
* 2007 Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Peyton Manning
* WNBA all-time leading scorer and rebounder Lisa Leslie
* Reigning 200-meter world champion Allyson Felix
* Two-time American League Most Valuable Player Alex Rodriguez
* Softball gold medalist Cat Osterman
* Beach volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh

For more on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information and lists of past winners and future announcement dates, visit gatorade.com/playeroftheyear.