Wheeler's Isaiah Collier named Naismith High School Player of the Year

Mar. 3—Wheeler point guard Isaiah Collier was named the boys Naismith High School Player of the Year on Friday by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.

Collier is the first player from Cobb County to win the award and the fifth from Georgia to win since the inaugural award in 1987. Previous Peach State winners were Derrick Favors (South Atlanta, 2009), Lou Williams (South Gwinnett, 2005), Dwight Howard (Southwest Atlanta Christian, 2004) and Donnell Harvey (Randolph-Clay, 1999).

Collier also joins the likes of future NBA stars Kevin Love (2007), LeBron James (2003), Kobe Bryant (1996), Jason Kidd (1992) and Chris Webber (1991) in earning the honor.

"First, I want to give honor to God, who has blessed me with the opportunity to play the game of basketball," Collier, who will lead Wheeler into Saturday's Class AAAAAAA semifinal against Grayson, said in a release. "Second, I want to thank my family, who are my rock, my coaches and teachers, and my teammates and friends for supporting me throughout my journey on and off the court. I'm truly humbled to be mentioned alongside the previous Jersey Mike's Naismith Trophy winners, and my fellow nominees. I will cherish this moment for years to come."

The award continues a string of accolades for the arguably the nation's top high school senior. Collier has also been named a McDonald's All-American and selected as a member of the USA Men's Nike Hoop Summit roster. He has chosen to play his college basketball at Southern California, where he is the highest-rated recruit signed by the Trojans in the modern recruiting era.

Coincidentally, Collier will also get to watch the girls Naismith Player of the Year when he gets to campus.

Judea "Juju" Watkins, of Sierra Canyon High School in Chatsworth, California, was selected as the girls recipient. It is the first time the boys and girls honorees will go on to play at the same university.

"Juju and Isaiah's exceptional performances throughout the season have earned them the achievement of Jersey Mike's Naismith High School Player of the Year," Atlanta Tipoff Club executive director Eric Oberman said in the release. "We are thrilled to honor them with this recognition and wish them all the best as they advance to the next level in their basketball careers at the University of Southern California. Their outstanding achievements on the court are a testament to their extraordinary talent and hard work."

Collier and Watkins will be awarded with trophies, while replica trophy will be donated to the players' respective high schools.