ESPNBoston.com and its High School section today announced that Pat Connaughton, senior guard/forward at St. John's Prep, is the recipient of its inaugural "Mr. Basketball" award, to be presented annually to the top high school basketball player in Massachusetts.
The Mr. Basketball award winner was chosen by a panel of experts made up of ESPNBoston.com staff and correspondents, as well as analysts from Scouts Inc. Connaughton will be presented with the award from ESPNBoston's staff at a later date on the Danvers campus.
“We couldn't think of a more fitting person than Pat Connaughton to forever be associated with the presentation of the first Mr. Basketball award in Massachusetts,” said ESPNBoston.com high schools co-editor Brendan Hall, who coordinates the site's basketball coverage. "Pat has not only shown his skills on the hardwood as one of the nation's top seniors, but he is also a leader of his peers off the court. He is a true embodiment of what the 'Mr. Basketball' award is about."
This past season, the 6-foot-4 Connaughton led St. John's Prep to its first Division 1 basketball state championship in school history, as the Eagles downed St. John's of Shrewsbury, 72-57, at the DCU Center in Worcester to finish 25-1. The Eagles started the preseason No. 1 in ESPNBoston's statewide MIAA Top 25 poll, and spent just two weeks outside the top spot before finishing the year where they started.
For the season, Connaughton averaged 21.8 points, 17 rebounds and 6.5 assists, and racked up numerous accolades along the way, including the state's Gatorade Player of the Year award and a spot on the "Starting Five" of ESPNBoston's inaugural MIAA All-State Team.
Connaughton, currently ranked No. 96 in the ESPNU100 for the Class of 2011, signed a National Letter of Intent with Notre Dame last fall. But it doesn't stop there for the Arlington native, as he is also a hard-throwing righthanded pitcher ranked No. 77 in Baseball America's preseason list of top high school senior prospects. He will play both sports when he heads to South Bend this fall.
"There are few basketball players in this country who have made as explosive a leap on the recruiting radar over the last 12 months than Pat Connaughton," Hall said. "That's more of a testament to his incredible work ethic than it is his natural physical gifts. Moreover, Pat found a way to assert himself in every game, no matter the opponent or situation -- scoring, rebounding, coming up with a key block or steal late in the game, you name it. Plain and simple, Pat is a winner."
Connaughton has maintained a 3.53 weighted GPA in the classroom and is an accomplished Latin scholar. He has also volunteered locally as a youth basketball coach and elementary school tuto,r and has donated his time at a day care center.