Wendell Carter, the No. 3 overall player in the ESPN 100 and the No. 1 power forward in the class, won the boys' 2017 Morgan Wootten National Player of the Year award on Tuesday.
"I was shocked when I got the news," said Carter, who will compete for the East squad later this month in the McDonald's All American Game. "There are so many talented and flashy players in the game."
Carter, who is 6-foot-9, signed a national letter of intent last year to play at Duke. He is a senior at Pace Academy in Georgia and has led the Knights to their second straight appearance in the state championship game.
The Wootten award goes to the student-athlete who best exemplifies the completeness of outstanding character, leadership and academics. Carter is a member of the National Honor Society, takes an active role in theater at Pace Academy and is involved in his community.
From a basketball standpoint, Carter also checked all the boxes for the award, which recognizes someone who is special in the game and will be at the next level. Previous winners include LeBron James (2003), Dwight Howard (2004), Jabari Parker (2013) and Lonzo Ball (2016).
"To be in the company of some of the former POY players is humbling," Carter said. "This goes to show all the countless hours in the gym and studying paid off more that I even imagined. My parents, family and friends have given me so much support, and I give all the glory to God."
Carter is a productive and consistent player thanks to his low-post scoring ability and his high-level rebounding. He was named to the 2017 USA Junior National Select Team that will play in the Nike Hoop Summit. He also was chosen to play in the Jordan Brand classic in April.
"At the moment, I will cherish this award," he said. "It will motivate me now even more when I move on to Duke."