Widely regarded as the top prospect in high school basketball regardless of classification, Cameron Boozer
of Columbus (Miami, Fla.)
displayed his dominance against elite competition throughout the season to earn 2022-23 MaxPreps National Player of the Year.
Boozer becomes the first sophomore to earn that distinction, joining Sharife Cooper (2019) as the only non-seniors to win the award in its 18-year history.
"It means a lot to me because there are so many amazing players across
the country," Boozer said of winning MaxPreps National Player of the Year. "To even be considered is an honor. I take pride in being the very best that I can every day. So it feels so amazing to
know that the hard work is paying off. I am truly honored and hope to
continue to grow and improve."
The son of former NBA All-Star Carlos Boozer doesn't feel any pressure due to his dad's success on the hardwood and continues to prove that hard work outweighs any genetics.
"I do not feel pressure due to my dad playing in the NBA," Boozer said. "Most of the
time it is seen as a negative. People believe that you are magically
talented since your parent was in the NBA and discredit the work that it
takes to play at this level. I put pressure on myself to succeed."
Boozer averaged 21.1 points, 11.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.0 blocked shots
per game while shooting 62.1 percent from the field, 41.6 percent from
3-point range and 89.1 percent from the free throw line to guide Columbus (26-4) to a top 10 national ranking and the program's second consecutive state championship.
Through his first two seasons of high school basketball, Boozer has piled up 1,198 points and 665 rebounds while averaging 20.0 points, 11.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.1 blocks per contest over the course of 60 games. He has also led the Explorers to back-to-back MaxPreps Top 25 finishes and won MaxPreps National Freshman of the Year honors last season.
"There is still a lot left for me to achieve in high school," Boozer said. "I would like to win a national championship, bring home a gold medal, win two more state championships and become a McDonald's All American. There is much more on my list. The work is never done. There is always more to accomplish."
The current landscape of prep hoops sees many top prospects attend academies, prep schools or even go professional early. But it appears that Boozer cherishes the experience at his high school competing for state championships in Florida's highest classification.
"The most special moment of my high school career has been winning state
championships," Boozer said. "We were able to create history and be the first
basketball champions for Columbus High School. It is amazing to set a
goal and achieve it for yourself and your entire school."
Outside of training roughly 24 hours over the course of six days each week, off the court the 15-year old sophomore enjoys being just like any other kid.
"I enjoy the ocean and being out on the boat," Boozer said. "I enjoy riding my bike, skateboarding and playing video games."
Boozer's path to the NBA will be closely followed in the coming years but he insists that isn't consuming his thoughts at the moment.
"I try to focus on the moment that I am in," Boozer said. "I think every person who plays basketball dreams of being in the NBA and being an NBA All-Star but I want to focus on being the best I can possibly be at this level and enjoy it because I can never come back to these moments."
Boozer saved some of his best performances of the season for the biggest games on the schedule:
* 26 points, 11 rebounds in a loss against No. 2 Duncanville (Texas).
* 21 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in a win over No. 19 Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.).
* 19 points, 14 rebounds and five assists in a win over No. 21 Myers Park (Charlotte, N.C.).
* 21 points, 17 rebounds and five assists in a win over No. 4 Camden (N.J.).
* 33 points, 15 rebounds and five assists in a win over San Ysidro (Calif.) at the Spalding Hoophall Classic.
Boozer is used to dominating players above his age group, but
one older player he has yet to face off against is his own father. When
asked about a one-on-one game against his father, Cameron didn't mince
his words about how he thought he would fair against his 41-year old
dad: "We have never played one vs. one, but if we did play I am
sure that I would win."
Past MaxPreps National Players of the Year
2006 — Greg Oden, Lawrence North (Indianapolis)
2007 — Kevin Love, Lake Oswego (Lake Oswego, Ore.)
2008 — Brandon Jennings, Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)
2009 — Derrick Favors, South Atlanta (Atlanta)
2010 — Harrison Barnes, Ames (Iowa)
2011 — Austin Rivers, Winter Park (Fla.)
2012 — Kyle Anderson, St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.)
2013 — Jabari Parker, Simeon (Chicago)
2014 — Stanley Johnson, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
2015 — Ben Simmons, Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)
2016 — Lonzo Ball, Chino Hills (Calif.)
2017 — Michael Porter Jr., Nathan Hale (Seattle)
2018 — R.J. Barrett, Montverde Academy
2019 — Sharife Cooper, McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.)
2020 — Cade Cunningham, Montverde Academy
2021 — Chet Holmgren, Minnehaha Academy (Minneapolis)
2022 — Dariq Whitehead, Montverde Academy