In its 31st year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, announced Hoyt Nicholas of Worland High School, as its 2015-16 Gatorade Wyoming Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

Nicholas is the first Gatorade Wyoming Boys Basketball Player of the Year to be chosen from Worland 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 court, distinguishes Nicholas as Wyoming’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, Nicholas joins an elite alumni association of past state boys basketball award winners, including Dwight Howard (2003-04, SW Atlanta Christian Academy, Ga.), Chauncey Billups (1993-94 & 1994-95, George Washington HS, Colo.), Jason Kidd (1991-92, St. Joseph Notre Dame HS, Calif.), Paul Pierce (1994-95, Inglewood HS, Calif.) and Chris Bosh (2001-02, Lincoln HS, Texas).

The 6-foot-5, 200-pound senior guard led the Warriors to a 20-4 record and the Class 3A state title this past season.

A two-time First Team All-State selection, Nicholas averaged 25.8 points and 9.6 rebounds per game and shot 82 percent from the free throw line.

He scored a game-high 25 points to go with 11 rebounds in Worland’s 67-51 win over Douglas in the state title-clincher.

The win gave Worland its first basketball state championship since 1921.

Nicholas has maintained a 3.44 GPA in the classroom.

A member of his school’s marching band, he has volunteered locally as a youth mentor and on behalf of an elementary school literacy-outreach program.

“In my opinion, Hoyt Nicholas is hands down the best basketball player in the state of Wyoming,” said Denver Allard, head coach at Rawlins High. “He can handle the ball like a guard, rebound like a big man and shoot the ball better than anyone else on the court. His coaches speak very highly of him and his teammates seem to really enjoy playing the game with him. He is a very well-rounded young man.”

Nicholas remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.

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 high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, 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.

Nicholas joins recent Gatorade Wyoming Boys Basketball Players of the Year Jalen Krening (2014-15, Rawlins High School), Cody Kelley (2013-14 & 2012-13, Campbell County High School), Jason McManamen (2011-12, Torrington High School), Taran Brown (2010-11, Campbell County High School), Dan Estes (2009-10, Laramie), Michael Dietz (2008-09, Natrona County High School), Justin Nelson (2007-08, Campbell County High School), and Kyle Bullinger (2006–07, Mountain View High School) among the state’s list of former award winners.