CHICAGO, Illinois — In its 34th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company announced Matthew Fleming of Bangor High School as its 2018-19 Gatorade Maine Boys Basketball Player of the Year. Fleming is the first Gatorade Maine Boys Basketball Player of the Year to be chosen from Bangor High School.
The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Fleming as Maine’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, Fleming joins an elite alumni association of past state boys basketball award winners, including Karl-Anthony Towns (2012-13 & 2013-14, St. Joseph High School, N.J.), Dwight Howard (2003-04, Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy, Ga.), Chris Bosh (2001-02, Lincoln High School, Texas), Paul Pierce (1994-95, Inglewood High School, Calif.), Chauncey Billups (1993-94 & 1994-95, George Washington High School, Colo.) and Jason Kidd (1991-92, St. Joseph Notre Dame High School, Calif.).
The 6-foot-6, 195-pound senior forward and guard led the Rams to a 20-2 record and the Class AA state championship this past season. Fleming averaged 21.1 points, 11.4 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.3 steals per game. This year’s Mr. Maine Basketball, he is also a two-time First Team All-State honoree and a three-time Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference First Team selection.
Fleming has volunteered locally on behalf of the Special Olympics as part of a Unified Sports basketball program. “Matt Fleming is a tough match up for anyone,” said Ryan Soucie, head coach at Cheverus High. “He’s very skilled, he can play both inside and outside and he has a high basketball IQ.”
Fleming has maintained a 3.59 GPA in the classroom. He will attend the United States Military Academy at West Point this fall, where he will play basketball.
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.
Fleming joins Gatorade Maine Boys Basketball Players of the Year Terion Moss (2017-18 & 2016-17, Portland High School), Andrew Fleming (2015-16, Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School), and Nick Mayo (2014-15, Messalonskee High School) among the state’s list of former award winners.
As a part of Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Fleming also has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of his choosing. He is also eligible to submit an essay to win one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants for the organization of choice, which will be announced throughout the year.
Since the program’s inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have won hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators.
To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student-athletes, visit www.Gatorade.com/POY, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GatoradePOY or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Gatorade.