CHICAGO (May 27, 2021) — In its 36th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, Gatorade today announced Raven Johnson of Westlake High School as its 2020-21 Gatorade Georgia Girls Basketball Player of the Year. Johnson is the first Gatorade Georgia Girls Basketball Player of the Year to be chosen from Westlake High School.
The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Johnson as Georgia’s best high school girls basketball player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year award to be announced in June, Johnson joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including Skylar Diggins-Smith (2008-09, Washington High School, Ind.), Nneka Ogwumike (2007-08, Cy-Fair High School, Texas), Maya Moore (2006-07, Collins Hill High School, Ga.), Candace Parker (2002-03 & 2003-04, Naperville Central High School, Ill.), and Lisa Leslie (1989-90, Morningside High School, Calif.).
The 5-foot-10 senior point guard led the Lions to a 22-0 record and a fourth straight state championship this past season. Johnson averaged 15.6 points, 6.0 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 3.8 steals. She recorded 17 points, eight assists and seven rebounds as Westlake beat Paul VI (Va.) High, 70-50, to win the Geico Nationals tournament championship. A two-time Atlanta Tip-Off Club Miss Basketball winner, Johnson is a McDonald’s All-American Game selection and the 2021 Naismith Trophy winner. Ranked as the No. 2 recruit in the Class of 2021 by HoopGurlz, she concluded her prep basketball career with 1,675 points, 681 rebounds, 449 assists and 420 steals.
Johnson has volunteered at a local community center instructing players in skill development and assisting with basketball camps. She has also donated her time at a homeless shelter and food bank, in addition to performing landscaping duties for elderly neighbors. “Raven Johnson certainly deserves the title of Gatorade Player of the Year,” said Kevin Lynch, senior national talent evaluator for BlueStar Basketball. “She’s led her Westlake Georgia High School to four consecutive state championships. A true point guard with great size and a sturdy build, she competes as hard on the defensive end as she does on offense. Her biggest asset to a team is her leadership—it just jumps out at you during a game, especially in the toughest stretches of the contest. The confidence and swagger that her teams play with comes directly from her. The answer to ‘What does Raven do best?’ is simple: She wins.”
Johnson has maintained a weighted A-minus average in the classroom. She has signed a national letter of intent to play basketball on scholarship at the University of South Carolina this fall.
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which works with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.
Johnson joins recent Gatorade Georgia Girls Basketball Players of the Year Sania Feagin (2019-20, Forest Park High School), Kayla McPherson (2018-19, Madison County High School), Jenna Brown (2017-18, The Lovett School), and Mikayla Coombs (2016-17, Wesleyan School), among the state’s list of former award winners.
Through Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Johnson has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of their choosing. Johnson is also eligible to submit a 30-second video explaining why the organization they chose is deserving of one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants, which will be announced throughout the year. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners’ grants have totaled more than $2.7 million across 1,117 organizations.
Since the program’s inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have won hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators.
To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student-athletes, visit playeroftheyear.gatorade.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/GatoradePOY or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/Gatorade.