One of Dr. James Naismith’s many trophies has at last returned to its rightful place.
Nearly 26 years after the award – named to honour basketball’s Canadian-born inventor – was established to recognize the top boy’s high school basketball player in the United States, a Canadian has won the accolade.
Andrew Wiggins, considered the top high school player in the world, who has yet to announce which college he will attend later this year, was averaging 23.6 points, 11.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 3.4 steals and 2.1 blocks per game for Huntington Prep school in West Virginia when he was named the winner last week.
Wiggins, who beat out small forward, Jabari Parker, who will attend Duke University next semester and power forward, Aaron Gordon, who is still undecided, was selected by American basketball journalists, who form the Naismith Awards national high school voting academy.
National Basketball Association (NBA) TV commentator and Atlanta Hawks radio analyst, Dennis Scott, won the inaugural award in 1987. Other winners include Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Jason Kidd, who have all won NBA championships.
Born in Almonte in 1861, Dr. Naismith invented the sport in 1891. He wrote the original basketball rules book, founded the University of Kansas basketball program and lived to see the game adopted as an Olympic demonstration sport in 1904 and an official event at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
The National Invitation Tournament and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Men’s Division One championship also started in 1938 and 1939 respectively, before Dr. Naismith passed away on November 28, 1939 at age 78.
The Naismith Award also honours the top high school basketball coach and the men and women college basketball players and coaches of the year.