As he has many times, Matthew Mors made clear that his individual accomplishments and recognitions are made possible because of those around him.
As such, the news Thursday that the Yankton High School junior was again named the Gatorade South Dakota Boys Basketball Player of the Year meant that his success is due in large part to his support system.
“It means a lot,” Mors said.
“I’ve worked really hard for it. I can’t thank my teammates and coaches and family enough to help me to be in this position.”
It marked the second year in a row that Mors has won the Gatorade award, which makes him the fourth South Dakota player to win it twice in the award’s 35-year history. Mors is also the second Yankton standout to earn the award, as Tate Pesicka was the 2006 recipient.
“I can’t do anything without the support of my teammates and the coaching staff,” Mors said. “They’ve done so much for me.”
Mors, in turn, has helped the Bucks once become a state championship contender.
Yankton was to take a 17-4 record and the No. 1 seed into the Class AA state tournament, but it was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The South Dakota High School Activities Association will determine the fate of the state tournaments during a teleconference today (Friday).
“The year may not have ended how we wanted; it’s still up in the air, but this was a little bit of good news,” Mors said.
This season, Mors averaged 19.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.1 steals per game, and also became the Class AA all-time career scoring leader. His career total stands at 2,127 points.
Although his point total decreased this season from a year ago (in part due to consistent double teams or even triple teams), Mors’ rebounding average improved, and he was also asked to bring the ball up the court more often.
“I grew as a leader, and that was what this team needed with so many new faces out there, I thought,” he said.
The Gatorade award recognizes not only “outstanding athletic excellence,” but also “high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field.”
Mors, who will have the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of his choosing, has maintained a 3.96 grade point average. The Vice President of the YHS service club, Mors has also volunteered as a youth basketball coach.
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