High School Basketball

Kentucky’s all-time shot-blocker named Gatorade Player of the Year

2019 Sweet Sixteen: Thursday afternoon highlights

Highlights from the third session of the 2019 Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys' Sweet Sixteen state basketball tournament played on March 7, 2019.
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Highlights from the third session of the 2019 Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys' Sweet Sixteen state basketball tournament played on March 7, 2019.

Kentucky’s King of Swat is its newest Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

Isaiah Cozart, a 6-foot-8 senior at Madison Central, was named recipient of the award Friday. He became the third winner out of Madison Central, joining Marquis Estill (1999) and Dominique Hawkins (2013), who both went on to play at the University of Kentucky.

Cozart will also play college basketball in the commonwealth; he signed with Western Kentucky University in November.

“Offensively, he’s been a kid that it’s been a process,” Indians Coach Allen Feldhaus told the Herald-Leader when Cozart committed to WKU in October. “He’s continued to get better and better and I think he’ll continue to do so.”

Feldhaus was prescient: Cozart averaged a team-high 20 points per game — eight points better than his junior season — on 60.9-percent shooting for the Indians.

Cozart remained a defensive maestro as a senior. He averaged 12.2 rebounds and 5.8 blocks, and overtook Paintsville’s J.R. VanHoose for the state’s career record for blocked shots early in his final go-around with the Indians. Coazart ended his career with 714 blocks, 173 more than the previous record.

The Gatorade award takes into consideration academics and character in addition to athletic prowess. Cozart had a 3.23 GPA — one of the highest among candidates considered for this year’s award — and has volunteered locally as a youth basketball coach and has been part of multiple community service initiatives with his church youth group.

James Naismith’s original rules of basketball were written in 1891. Though many of the founding rules do not apply to today’s game, the 13th and final one comes close: “The side making the most goals in that time shall be declared the winners.”

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