CHICAGO – Edwardsville's Mark Smith has been named Gatorade Illinois High School Basketball Player of the Year by the iconic sports beverage company.
The state award makes Smith a finalist for Gatorade's National Player of the Year, to be announced later this month. He joins a distinguished list of players, such as Charlie Moore (Chicago Morgan Park), Jalen Brunson (Lincolnshire Stevenson), Jabari Parker and Derrick Rose (both Chicago Simeon) and Chasson Randle (Rock Island) to have recently been named the drink's state Player of the Year.
Among players who have previously been named state players of the year by the Pepsi-owned beverage company include Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, Paul Pierce and Jason Kidd. Smith averaged 22.2 points, 8.6 assists, 8.3 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game this season and was named MVP of the three in-season tournaments the Tigers played in.
The state award will allow Smith to select a youth sporting organization to receive a $1,000 donation from Gatorade's Play It Forward program with the opportunity for his selected group to be given a $10,000 donation with an essay explaining why his selected organization should be given additional support.