WILBRAHAM, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Western Mass News is your Local Sports Authority.
A local high school student-athlete making himself known, receiving national attention after being named the 2021 Massachusetts Gatorade player of the year.
Junior power forward Kyle Filipowski from Wilbraham and Monson Academy is now the second player in school history to earn Gatorade player of the year. The first was former soccer player Pat Phelan who won it in 2003. Filipowski said while this is a great accomplishment, there's still more to achieve.
Meet Filipowski, a junior basketball player at Wilbraham and Monson Academy who averaged 21 points, over 13 rebounds, and five steals a game last season.
But what's not so average was him being named the 2021 Massachusetts Gatorade player of the year.
"I know I had some goals like winning Gatorade player of the year in Massachusetts,” Filipowski said. “I was just grateful for the opportunities that I had, the position I was put in to succeed, and just happy about all of that."
This award recognizes the nation's most outstanding high school student-athletes for their athletic excellence, academic achievement, and exemplary character making it one of the most prestigious honors in high school sports.
WMA's head basketball coach Mike Mannix said the six-foot-ten star checks all the boxes.
"The Gatorade player of the year actually takes into consideration your academic performance, as well as volunteering in the community, and he's done that at home in New York. To be named a captain at a prep school, junior year, at any school is a special thing, but it speaks to how his teammates see him," Mannix said.
Despite only playing five games in the 2020-2021 season due to the pandemic, Filipowski already has 28 scholarship offers on the table from major schools.
He said it's the work he puts in behind closed doors this audience may not see, but to him, doesn't go unnoticed.
"It's been a dream of mine. I’m glad the hard work is finally paying off because I know most kids, they want to be playing at the highest level, playing in front of the bright lights, the cameras, but I mean, they don't know how hard and how much dedication you need to put into the game, even when no one's watching," Filipowski said.
“I know that Gatorade does their homework. They don't just look at stats, they look at a full resume, and I know they find game film, and when you look at his resume, and then you watch him play, there's no way he couldn't be player of the year," Mannix said.