Emoni Bates, Evan Mobley, Cade Cunningham Named 2020 Gatorade POY Finalists

Blake SchusterCorrespondent IIMarch 26, 2020

Rancho Christian's Evan Mobley #4 in action against DeMatha during a high school basketball game at the Hoophall Classic, Monday, January 20, 2020, in Springfield, MA. DeMatha won the game. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)
Gregory Payan/Associated Press

There are hardly any surprises when it comes to the finalists for the 2020 Gatorade Player of the Year. 

Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley, the No. 1 and No. 2 recruits in the class of 2020, respectively, headline this year's finalists along with Emoni Bates, No. 1 recruit for the class of 2022, per 247 Sports. 

Previous recent winners of the boys' award include NBA luminaries such as Kobe Bryant, Kevin Love, Bradley Beal, Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, Ben Simmons and Jayson Tatum. Brandon Knight, Greg Oden and LeBron James each won the trophy in back-to-back years. 

The youngest of this year's finalists, Bates is just a freshman and already earning comparisons to Kevin Durant based on his body type and skill set, per 247 Sports' Evan Daniels, Brian Snow and Josh Gershon. That's had Michigan State coach Tom Izzo going hard after the in-state player with rival Michigan and first-year head coach Juwan Howard not far behind. 

Bates has also earned offers from Kentucky and Florida State as the 6'8" small forward continues to impress. 

The remaining finalists have already put an end to their recruitment with Oklahoma State picking up a commitment from Cunningham, a 6'6" combo guard at Montverde Academy in Arlington, Texas, and Mobley, the 6'11" center from Temecula, California signing with Southern California. 

Both prized recruits mark the biggest signing for their respective school's head coaches as USC under Andy Enfield looks to reboot the program while Oklahoma State's Mike Boynton proves he's up for the challenge of recruiting against the likes of Kansas and Texas in the Big 12. 

The most recent winner of the Gatorade Player of the Year award in boys basketball is James Wiseman, the former Memphis Tiger who is expected to be among the top picks in the upcoming NBA draft. While winning Gatorade POY doesn't guarantee a successful pro career, six of the last seven recipients have become top-three selections in the draft. The lone exception being Michael Porter Jr. in 2017, who was coming off a season-ending back injury at Missouri. 

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