Cameron Boozer wins major national award after leading Columbus to back-to-back state titles
Cameron Boozer’s impressive resume continues to grow.
Already a two-time state champion, a Miami Herald Athlete of the Year and the No. 1 player in his recruiting class, Boozer was named the Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year as a sophomore after leading the Explorers to a second straight Class 7A title and a top-10 ranking in the nation this season.
Boozer, a star forward at Columbus, learned he won the prestigious award when he was surprised with the news at his high school on Tuesday afternoon. He was led to believe he was being fitted for his state championship ring with his teammates when Miami Heat forward and past Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year award-winner Kevin Love appeared to present him with the honor.
“They told us that we were going to get measured for our rings with a new company,” Boozer said of the moment. “So we just went in there, measured our rings and he said that he had to go get a sample from outside. Then Kevin Love walked in with a trophy. So that was kind of crazy. Really wasn’t expecting him to be there, so that kind of made everything more surreal.”
Boozer was one of three finalists for the honor and the only non-senior up for the award. The two finalists he beat out were Matas Buzelis from Sunrise Christian in Wichita, Kansas, and Isaiah Collier from Wheeler in Marietta, Georgia, with Buzelis committed to play for the G League Ignite Next season and Collier already signed to play for the University of Southern California.
Boozer is the second sophomore to win the Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year award. Emoni Bates, who earned the honor for the 2019-20 school year, is the only other player to get the award as a sophomore.
In addition, Boozer is the first player from a high school in Miami-Dade to be named Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
Past winners of the award include current NBA players like Chet Holmgren in 2020-21, James Wiseman in 2018-19, RJ Barrett in 2017-18, Michael Porter Jr. in 2016-17, Jayson Tatum in 2015-16, Ben Simmons in 2014-15, Karl-Anthony Towns in 2013-14, Andrew Wiggins in 2012-13, Bradley Beal in 2010-11, Jrue Holiday in 2007-08 and Love in 2006-07.
“Obviously, this is something that you look at and you’re just like, ‘Oh, that would be nice,’” Boozer said of the award. “But it wasn’t really a goal for this year. I was just trying to improve my game and win as a team. But getting the award is a big deal. So it’s going to be a goal for me in the future, as well.”
Boozer, who’s the son of former NBA star Carlos Boozer, is a five-star prospect and the No. 1 player in the Class of 2025, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
Boozer averaged 21.2 points, 11.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists and two blocks per game to help Columbus finish No. 9 in MaxPreps’ national rankings. On March 4, he had 13 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and three blocks to help the Explorers come away with a 50-48 win against Winter Haven in the 7A title game.
Last year, Boozer led Columbus to its first ever boys basketball state championship, and was the Herald’s Miami-Dade County Boys Basketball Player of the Year for Classes 7A-5A and overall Miami-Dade County Athlete of the Year for Classes 7A-5A for his historic season. A year later, he was even better and helped turn the Explorers into one of the top teams in the nation.
At 6-foot-9 and 215 pounds, Boozer already holds scholarship offers from Arkansas, Duke, Florida State, Miami and Michigan.
Boozer’s twin brother Cayden Boozer is a 6-foot-3 guard at Columbus who holds scholarship offers from Arkansas, Duke and Miami. He’s rated as a four-star prospect and the No. 31 player in the Class of 2025, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
“Miami has really been a football city for most of the time,” Boozer said. “Most of the stars, they play both football and basketball. Most of them cater more to football because it’s such a football hot spot. So being able to win this award as a basketball player hopefully just brings more attention to Miami basketball and gets the younger generation to turn more to basketball and become a powerhouse in basketball, as well.”