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Post Falls’ Jacob Pfennigs, left, is guarded by Gonzaga Prep’s Anton Watson on Dec. 7, 2017, at Post Falls. Pfennigs was named Gatorade Player of the Year for Idaho on Thursday. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Post Falls’ Jake Pfennigs named Idaho’s Gatorade player of the year

Post Falls senior Jake Pfennigs was named 2017-18 Idaho Gatorade boys basketball player of the year, announced by The Gatorade Company on Thursday in Chicago.

This is the 33rd year the company has honored the nation’s best high school athletes. Pfennigs is the first Gatorade player of the year to be chosen from Post Falls High School.

“It means a lot,” Pfennigs said of the honor. “It feels great that a lot of hard work and dedication has paid off. But I wouldn’t have achieved this without coach (Mike) McLean and my teammates.

“They pushed me to be a better player and better student.”

The award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, according to a release from the company.

“As special as Jake is on the court, he is that much more special off the court,” McLean said. “This is a very prestigious award and there’s no one more deserving than Jake.”

Pfennigs, a 6-foot-7, 185-pound guard, led the Trojans to a 19-5 record and a berth in the Idaho 5A State tournament in which they reached the semifinals. He averaged 18.4 points, 12.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists while shooting 54 percent from inside the arc.

A two-time Inland Empire League MVP, Pfennigs is also a two-time Idaho 5A first-team all-state selection and was named to the Platinum Division all-tournament team at the 2018 Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas.

A youth basketball camp instructor during the summer, Pfennigs has also volunteered locally as an elementary school tutor in addition to donating his time to the Heroes and Holidays event organized by the Post Falls Police Department to help at-risk children.

Pfennigs has maintained a 3.81 grade-point average and participated in dual-credit enrollment through the University of Idaho this year.

In addition to his basketball prowess, Pfennigs starred at receiver on the Trojans football team and is an elite baseball prospect and projected early-round pick in the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft.

Pfennigs has signed a national letter of intent to play baseball on scholarship at Oregon State.

“Basketball was my first love and it’s hard to imagine that I’ll never touch a basketball in a competitive game again,” Pfennigs said after baseball practice on Thursday.

Pfennigs joins recent Gatorade Idaho boys basketball players of the year Kolby Lee (2016-17, Rocky Mountain), and Kyle Dranginis (2009-10 and 2010-11, Skyview).

As a Gatorade Player of the Year, Pfennigs will be able to select a national or local youth sports organization to receive a grant as part of the Gatorade Play It Forward program.