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March 19, 2010

USC recruit named state's best basketball player

Fort Dorchester standout R.J. Slawson has been named the 2009-10 Gatorade South Carolina Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

Fort Dorchester standout R.J. Slawson has been named the 2009-10 Gatorade South Carolina Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

Slawson edged out future South Carolina teammate Bruce Ellington for the honor.

"It's an honor to be player of the year," Slawson said in a phone interview from Myrtle Beach where he is preparing for this weekend's Carolinas Classic, which features the top seniors from South Carolina vs. the top seniors from North Carolina. "I am thankful for being the player of the year. I am appreciative of the people who thought I was worthy. I knew it would be a close race between Bruce and me. It could have gone either way."

The 6-foot-8, 195-pound senior guard/forward led the Patriots to the Class 4A quarterfinals and a 22-4 record. He averaged 22.7 points, 12.4 rebounds, 6.7 blocks and 3.1 assists per game. He recently was named to the state coaches' association all-state team.

Slawson was a first-team All-Lowcountry selection as a junior. His coach, Leon Wheaton, had high praise for the talented senior.

"R.J. Slawson is a complete game-changer," Wheaton said. "He is the type of guy who completely fills up the stat sheet in each category. He is a very humble player who has changed the basketball atmosphere at Fort Dorchester."

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 Slawson as South Carolina's best high school boys basketball player.

Slawson has maintained a 3.42 GPA in the classroom. He has volunteered locally as a summer basketball camp counselor, a youth mentor for elementary school students and as a caretaker for the elderly.

Slawson is a finalist for the Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year award to be announced in March.

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