Walters earns Gatorade POY honors
Jamestown High School’s Mason Walters just keeps stacking up awards.
Walters was named the 2018-19 Gatorade North Dakota Boys Basketball Player of the Year on Friday, March 15. The 6-foot-8 senior is the first Jamestown boys basketball player to receive the award.
“It’s a great honor and I’m super proud it,” said Walters, a University of Jamestown men’s basketball commit. “I’m thankful for my coaches and teammates that helped along the way. I was kind of surprised with Boden and some of the other skilled players, but I’m super excited and thankful.”
Current and former NBA stars including Minnesota Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns, Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, Paul Pierce, Chauncey Billups and Jason Kidd are all former Gatorade players of the year in their respective home states.
Some North Dakota winners include West Fargo’s Joe Pistorius (2017-18), Dickinson’s Aanen Moody (2015-16 and 2016-17) and Oak Grove’s Carter Kretchman (2014-15).
“It’s pretty crazy, and also the people around the state that have won it,” Walters said about the award’s company. “It’s crazy being compared to players like that. They’re all great players and I got to play against some of them.”
The 205-pound forward led the Blue Jays to an undefeated 27-0 record and the Class A state championship on March 9, when Jamestown defeated Fargo Davies 66-49 at the Bismarck Event Center. Walters averaged a double-double of 21.1 points and 11.7 rebounds per game, along with 1.3 blocks and a shooting percentage of 67.8 percent. Walters posted season-highs of 33 points and 24 rebounds.
Along with Gatorade player of the year, Walters has earned West Region co-senior athlete of the year honors, was selected Class A state tournament MVP and was also a unanimous Class A state tournament team selection.
“I think I had a great season and as a team, we did good,” Walters said. “I wasn’t worried about my personal goals, but I’m glad we got a state championship.”
Walters’ achievements continue off the court, which was factored into his Gatorade selection. The senior has a 3.79 grade-point average, is a devoted member of his church’s youth group, and has volunteered locally on behalf of Meals on Wheels and youth sports programs.
Next up for Walters, he’ll be patiently waiting for the North Dakota Mr. Basketball award to be announced Saturday at the conclusion of the Class B boys basketball state tournament in Minot.
Walters is one of six finalists for the annual award presented to the state’s top senior by the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. The award will be broadcast on WDAY television and statewide ABC affiliates.
“If the roads are clear, I’ll try and go down there with my family and coach (Jacoby) Lloyd to see,” Walters said. “It would be pretty crazy (to win) with all the players announced. I’m happy to be nominated.”