A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.
For his 50 fellow Gatorade State Boys Basketball Player of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Sam Dekker
School: Sheboygan Lutheran (Sheboygan, Wis.)
Weight: 215 pounds
Athletic achievement: Dekker led the Crusaders to a 25-4 record and the Division 5 state championship this past season. He amassed 40 points on 16-for-28 shooting, including the game-winning 3-pointer in the final seconds, to go along with 13 rebounds and three blocks in the 67-66, title-clinching victory against Racine Lutheran (Racine, Wis.). Named Mr. Basketball by the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association, Dekker averaged 32.5 points, 13.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.3 blocks and 1.6 steals per game. He shot 58.7 percent from the field, 35.9 percent from 3-point range and 71.9 percent from the free throw line. Dekker concluded his career with 2,629 points, ranked fourth in state history.
Academic excellence: Dekker has maintained a 3.57 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: In addition to donating his time as a youth basketball instructor and referee, he has volunteered locally on behalf of his church, the Special Olympics and the National Honor Society.
“He can play the 1 or the 5, and play them well,” said Isaiah Ketterhagen, head coach at Ozaukee (Fredonia, Wis.). “Sam has such nice ball-handling, long-range, mid-range and post shots that he was impossible to stop. His body control is remarkable because he goes extremely hard and is such a large body, but he can change speed and direction remarkably well. He’s got it all. I’m excited that he gets to move on and play basketball against someone else!”
THE FUTURE: Dekker has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on scholarship at the University of Wisconsin this fall.