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Rutgers men's basketball signee Airious 'Ace' Bailey named finalist for Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year

Rutgers men's basketball team signee Airious "Ace" Bailey is a National Gatorade Player of the Year finalist among Duke signee Cooper Flagg and Baylor commit VJ Edgecombe. – Photo by @br_hoops / Instagram , @airiousbailey / Instagram , @TheHoopHerald , X

Airious "Ace" Bailey, a Rutgers men's basketball team signee, has been named a finalist for the 2023-2024 Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year award alongside Cooper Flagg and VJ Edgecombe. While the national award is up for grabs, each player is taking home the award for their respective state.

Florida Gatorade Player of the Year Flagg may be the frontrunner for the national award, as he already won the Jersey Mike's Naismith High School Boys Player of the Year Trophy this season.

The 6-foot-9 power forward originally hails from Maine, where he won the 2021-2022 Maine Gatorade Player of the Year award as just a freshman. He later reclassified into the 2024 class and transferred to Montverde Academy in Florida, where he is now finishing up his high school career.

Flagg is the No. 1 ranked player in the class of 2024 via the 247Sports composite rankings and is signed to play for Duke in the fall.

Georgia Gatorade Player of the Year Bailey signed his national letter of intent to play for the Scarlet Knights in November 2023 and will officially arrive on the Banks this upcoming season. Bailey is a 6-foot-8 small forward from McEachern High School.

This season, Bailey won the Georgia MaxPreps High School Basketball Player of the Year award. He was also named a Naismith finalist alongside fellow Rutgers signee No. 3 ranked Dylan Harper before Flagg ultimately edged both of them for the award.

Bailey is the No. 2 player in the 2024 class, sitting just behind Flagg and above No. 4 Edgecombe.

New York Gatorade Player of the Year Edgecombe rounds out the top three for the national award. Edgecombe is a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Long Island Lutheran Middle & High School who is committed but not yet signed to play for Baylor in the upcoming season.

Edgecombe is now a back-to-back winner in his home state, as he received the nod for the New York award last year as well.

The National Gatorade Player of the Year award is among the highest honors for a high school athlete. Past winners include NBA All-Stars such as Jayson Tatum, Karl-Anthony Towns and Bradley Beal, as well as legends like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. Most recently, Cameron Boozer, Gradey Dick and Chet Holmgren have won the award.

The 2023-2024 winner will be announced sometime next week.

For more updates, follow @TargumSports on X.

To view more of Camden Markel's work, follow @CamdenMarkel on X.

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