In its 29th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Tyler Nelson of Central Catholic High School as its 2013-14 Gatorade Massachusetts Boys Basketball Player of the Year. Nelson is the second Gatorade Massachusetts Boys Basketball Player of the Year to be chosen from Central Catholic High School.
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 Nelson as Massachusetts’s best high school boys basketball player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year award to be announced in March, Nelson joins an elite alumni association of past state boys basketball award winners, including Dwight Howard (2003-04, SW Atlanta Christian Academy, Ga.), Chauncey Billups (1993-94 & 1994-95, George Washington HS, Colo.), Jason Kidd (1991-92, St. Joseph Notre Dame HS, Calif.), Paul Pierce (1994-95, Inglewood HS, Calif.) and Chris Bosh (2001-02, Lincoln HS, Texas).
The 6-foot-3, 165-pound senior guard averaged 23.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 2.4 steals per game this past season, leading the Raiders (22-6) to the Division 1 state championship game. The 2014 Merrimack Valley Conference Player of the Year, Nelson was the 2013 Lawrence Eagle-Tribune Player of the Year and a 2013 Boston Herald All-Scholastic selection, as well as two-time ESPN Boston All-State selection. He concluded his basketball career with 1,540 points.
Nelson has maintained a B average in the classroom. He has volunteered locally at the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence and as a youth tutor.
“What separates Tyler from others is that he does not shy away from the spotlight,” said John Dullea, head coach of St. John’s Prep. “In fact he embraces it. He is at his best when his team needs him the most, especially in the postseason.”
Nelson has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on an athletic scholarship at Fairfield University this fall.
Nelson joins recent Gatorade Massachusetts Boys Basketball Players of the Year Tyler Gibson (2012-13, Rockland High School), Rene Castro (2011-12, Worcester Academy), Pat Connaughton (2010-11, St. John's Preparatory School), Nate Lubick (2009-10 & 2008-09, St. Mark's School), Stevie Mejia (2007-08, Lawrence Academy), and Mike Baldarelli (2006–07, Holy Name Central Catholic) among the state’s list of former award winners.
Below are the winners from the other five New England states:
RHODE ISLAND: BONZIE COLSON, ST. ANDREW'S
The returning Gatorade State Player of the Year, the 6-foot-5 senior forward averaged 16.8 points, 11.7 rebounds, 3.9 blocks and 1.0 assists per game this past season, leading the Saints (26-5) to the New England Prep School Athletic Council Class AA tournament semifinals. A two-time First Team All-NEPSAC Class AA selection, Colson was nominated for the McDonald’s All-American Game and has been invited to participate in April’s Albert Schweitzer Games in Germany. He concluded his prep basketball career with 1,938 points and 1,162 rebounds.
Colson has maintained a B average in the classroom. A member of the St. Andrew’s School chorus and theatre program, he has volunteered locally as a youth basketball coach and referee.
“Bonzie is most dangerous and most difficult to prepare for in that his appearance and physical attributes are underwhelming upon the traditional eye-test,” said Cody Hatt, head coach of Vermont Academy. “However, he then goes out, gets his 20-12 or 25-15, makes every crucial play around the box down the stretch and raises the level of his teammates throughout.”
Colson has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on an athletic scholarship at the University of Notre Dame this fall.
CONNECTICUT: ALEX WOLF, GREENWICH
The 6-foot-10, 240-pound senior center averaged 16.5 points, 13.6 rebounds and eight blocks per game while recording 18 double-doubles this past season, leading the Cardinals (24-3) to the Class LL semifinals. A 2014 First Team All-Fairfield County Interscholastic Conference selection, he scored 15 points with 11 rebounds in Greenwich’s 59-54 win over New Britain in the Class LL quarterfinals.
Wolf has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the classroom. A member of the National Honor Society, he has volunteered locally on behalf of the Greenwich Library and as a youth basketball coach.
“Alex Wolf is so important to Greenwich’s success,” said Andrew McClellan, head coach at Ridgefield High. “He’s got the best motor for a big man. He plays 100 percent all the time and he causes a lot of problems around the rim.”
Wolf will attend Dartmouth College this fall, where he will play basketball.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: ISAAC COPELAND, BREWSTER ACADEMY
The 6-foot-9, 210-pound senior forward led the Bobcats to a 33-2 record, the New England Preparatory School Athletic Conference Class AAA championship and the National Prep Championship this past season. Copeland averaged 15.6 points, seven rebounds, 2.4 steals, 2.3 assists and 2.2 blocks per game while shooting nearly 60 percent from inside the arc. A 2014 First Team All-NEPSAC selection, he scored 15 points to help Brewster Academy defeat St. Thomas More (Conn.), 88-77, in the National Prep Championship. He is ranked as the nation’s No. 26 recruit in the class of 2014 by ESPN and No. 37 by Rivals.
Copeland has maintained a 3.35 GPA in the classroom. A member of the National Honor Society and the B.A.G.S. Foundations (Boys and Girls Succeeding), he has volunteered locally in association with multiple community cleanup initiatives and as a youth basketball coach.
“I cannot imagine a better basketball prospect than Isaac Copeland,” said Whit Lesure, head coach at Bridgton Academy. “I was impressed with him from the first moments I scouted him. He is one of the best frontcourt prospects I’ve seen in 30 years.”
Copeland has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on an athletic scholarship at Georgetown University this fall.
MAINE: ZACH GILPIN, HAMPDEN ACADEMY
The 6-foot-5, 200-pound senior forward averaged 23.0 points, 10.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game this past season, leading the Broncos (21-1) to the Class A state championship game. A returning First Team All-State selection as named by the Maine Sunday Telegram and Bangor Daily News, Gilpin shot 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range and 76 percent from the free throw line. The Most Valuable Player of the Eastern A regional tournament each of the past three seasons, he led Hampden to three consecutive Class A title games, winning the state championship as a junior in 2013.
Gilpin has maintained a 3.37 GPA in the classroom. In addition to donating his time as a youth basketball instructor, he has volunteered on behalf of Coats for Kids and Hoops for Hope.
“Gilpin can take you on the block, and he’s a very good shooter,” said Phil Conley, head coach at South Portland High. “He’s hard to defend. He brings the combination of an inside-outside game. You have to pick your poison with him. If you defend him on the inside, he’ll post you up, and if you double him in the post, he’ll take you outside. He’s a very, very good player.”
Gilpin remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.
VERMONT: PAVIN PARRISH, ROCHESTER
The 5-foot-10, 160-pound senior guard averaged 31.0 points, 14.5 rebounds, 8.6 assists and 5.2 steals per game this past season, leading the Rockets (20-3) to the Division 4 semifinals. A Burlington Free Press Second-Team All-State selection as a junior, Parrish concluded his prep career with 2,479 points, the most in Vermont history.
Parish has maintained an A average in the classroom. President of his senior class, he has volunteered locally on behalf of community clean-up initiatives and youth basketball programs.
“Parrish has tremendous court vision and basketball IQ, and always makes the right decision on the floor,” said Derek Cipriano, head coach at Craftsbury Academy. “He’s also a tenacious defender and is constantly locked on the other team’s best player, regardless of size.”
Parrish will attend Castleton State College this fall, where he will play basketball.