(KSDK Sports) -- Inside the KSDK Sports office, the disussion of just who is the best prep basketball player in area has been a popular one, but with very little sway in the final answer. Nearly 100% of the time, it's been unanimous, Chaminade's Jayson Tatum.
To further accent that pick, Tatum today was named 2013-14 Gatorade Missouri Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court, distinguishes Tatum as Missouri's best high school boys basketball player.
Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year award to be announced in March, Tatum joins an elite alumni association of past state boys basketball award winners, including Bradley Beal, Dwight Howard, Chauncey Billups, Jason Kidd, Paul Pierce, and Chris Bosh.
The 6-foot-8, 190-pound sophomore guard averaged 26 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and three blocks per game this past season, leading the Red Devils (24-3) to the Class 5 district final. A member of the 2013 USA Basketball Men's U16 National Team that won a gold medal in Uruguay last summer, Tatum scored 30 points in Chaminade's 85-67 win over St. Louis University High in the district semifinals.
He is ranked as the nation's No. 4 recruit in the class of 2016 by both ESPN and Rivals.
Tatum has maintained a B average in the classroom. He has volunteered locally on behalf of an area homeless shelter, as a youth basketball coach and as part of multiple leadership retreats at his school.
"Jayson Tatum is a wonderful student athlete with a very high potential to be successful at the next levels of play," said David Watkins, head coach at Ritenour High. "I have seen him score numerous 30-point games and accumulate numerous double-doubles throughout the season. Since he was little, he has always strived to play against the best so that he can be the best."
Now in its 29th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, the Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports selects the honorees each year. Tatum is the third Gatorade Missouri Boys Basketball Player of the Year to be chosen from Chaminade College Prep. David Lee was selected in 2001 and Bradley Beal was selected in 2010 and 2011 and went on to be named the Gatorade National Player of the Year in 2011.
Chaminade College Preparatory School, founded in 1910 by the Society of Mary, is a Catholic day and resident school for boys, grades 6-12, sponsored by the Marianist Province of the United States. Located on 55 acres in suburban St. Louis, the school features a rigorous academic curriculum with an extensive AP/advanced college credit program within the setting of personalized classrooms and a student teacher ratio of 9:1.
Expansive co-curricular activities include a competitive athletic program featuring 17 varsity sports, world-class fine arts programs, an extensive experiential education program, a residence program with nearly 50 boarding students from all over the world, and the Marianist servant leadership program.