CHICAGO (March 16, 2022) — In its 37th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, Gatorade today announced Justin Molen of Salesianum School is the 2021-22 Gatorade Delaware Boys Basketball Player of the Year. Molen is the second Gatorade Delaware Boys Basketball Player of the Year to be chosen from Salesianum 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 court, distinguishes Molen as Delaware’s best high school boys basketball player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year award to be announced in March, Molen joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including Jayson Tatum (2015-16, Chaminade College Preparatory School, Mo.), Karl-Anthony Towns (2012-13 & 2013-14, St. Joseph High School, N.J.), Jabari Parker (2011-12, Simeon Career Academy, Ill.) and Dwight Howard (2003-04, Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy, Ga.).
The 6-foot-6, 190-pound senior guard and forward had led the Sallies to a 14-8 record and the semifinals of the state tournament at the time of his selection. Molen averaged 14.9 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists through 22 games. A First Team All-State honoree, he was also selected to play in the Blue-Gold All-Star Game.
A student ambassador in his school, Molen has served as a peer tutor and has volunteered locally on behalf of youth sports camps. “Justin Molen is just an excellent all-around basketball player,” said Anthony Wright, head coach at Delaware Military Academy. “He can shoot the 3-ball, he has an inside presence, he’s a good defender. His basketball IQ is really high and he plays hard all the time.”
Molen has maintained a 4.16 GPA in the classroom. He remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.
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 leverages experts including coaches, scouts, media and others as sources to help evaluate and determine the state winners in each sport. Molen joins recent Gatorade Delaware Boys Basketball Players of the Year Nnanna Njoku (2020-21, Sanford School), Elijah Allen (2019-20, Dover High School), Jyare Davis (2018-19, Sanford School), and Caleb Matthews (2017-18, Smyrna High School), among the state’s list of former award winners.
Gatorade has a long-standing history of serving athlete communities and understands how sports instill valuable lifelong skills on and off the court. Through Gatorade’s “Play it Forward” platform, Molen has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national organization of their choosing that helps young athletes realize the benefits of playing sports. Molen is also eligible to submit a short 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 $3.5 million across more than 1,300 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 or follow us on social media on Facebook at facebook.com/GatoradePOY, Instagram at instagram.com/Gatorade and Twitter at twitter.com/Gatorade.