River’s Caretti Named Ohio Player of the Year Boys
In its 31st year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, announced on March 10 Jensen Caretti of River High School as its 2015-16 Gatorade Ohio Girls Basketball Player of the Year. Caretti is the first Gatorade Ohio Girls Basketball Player of the Year to be chosen from River 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 court, distinguishes Caretti as Ohio’s best high school girls basketball player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year award announced in March, Caretti joins an elite alumni association of past state girls basketball award-winners, including Candace Parker (2001-02, Naperville Central HS, Ill.), Diana Taurasi (1998-99 & 1999-00, Don Antonio Lugo HS, Calif.), Maya Moore (2005-06 Collins Hill HS, Ga.), Rashanda McCants (2004-05, Asheville HS, N.C.), Shyra Ely (1999-00, Ben Davis HS, Ind.) and Lisa Leslie (1988-89, Morningside HS, Calif.). The 6-foot-1 senior point guard and forward averaged 25 points, 11 rebounds and three assists per game, leading the Pilots to the Division IV district semifinals this past season. A 2015 First Team All-Ohio Valley Athletic Conference selection and the nation’s No. 31 recruit in the Class of 2016 as rated by ESPN HoopGurlz, Caretti connected on 58 percent of her shots and recorded a triple-double in the opening round of the district tournament, collecting 27 points, 14 rebounds and 11 blocks in a win over Steubenville.
Caretti has maintained a 3.26 GPA in the classroom. A devoted parishioner in her church community, she has volunteered locally on behalf of her church youth group and as a basketball camp counselor.
“Caretti is by far the most athletic female I have coached against,” said Scott Murphy, head coach at Frontier High. “She was able to beat us from multiple positions. She hit baseline jumper after baseline jumper in our first meeting this year and was making fade away three-pointers that looked effortless. There is no doubt she is a scorer, but what may be most impressive is her passing ability. She sees the floor extremely well from every position and sets her teammates up for easy buckets.”
Caretti has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on scholarship at The Ohio State University 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 and field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport.
The selection process is administered by the Gatorade high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.