By: Steven Pham
Graphics by: Ryan Deppen
Wichita, KS.- Your #1 Sunrise Christian Academy Buffaloes finished the regular season 25-1 and clinched the #1 seed at GEICO Nationals. Sunrise has held the #1 spot on ESPN rankings for 10 weeks straight after beating Montverde Academy back in January. Sunrise also secured the NIBC title to conclude the regular season.
Head coach Luke Barnwell led Sunrise to their best season ever under his tenure. Barnwell was named Naismith High School Basketball Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season. A well-deserved honor for one of the best coaches in the nation. Barnwell was also named the Steve Smith Coach of the Year in the NIBC after finishing first in the conference.
Coach Barnwell will also be coaching in the 2022 Jordan Brand Classic after nationals on Friday, April 15th at 7 p.m. CST. Barnwell will be coaching some of the top-ranked prospects across the nation. Despite the amazing awards and accomplishments, Barnwell has focused on preparing his team for GEICO Nationals.
Gradey Dick kicks off the well-deserved recognition for Sunrise. Dick was named Gatorade Player of the Year in Kansas and Gatorade National Player of the Year. This is Dick’s second Gatorade Player of the Year in Kansas (2019-2020) and his first National Player of the Year award. Boston Celtics superstar’ Jayson Tatum presented the award over zoom last Tuesday, March 22nd at the school.
This is the first of many major awards for the KU commit. Dick was named to the Naismith All-American 2nd team. Dick was also named to the NIBC All-Conference 1st team after leading the conference in scoring at 17.5 PPG. Dick made the McDonald's All-American game for the West team. He will compete at the game before nationals this Tuesday, March 29th at 9 p.m. EST on ESPN. Dick was also named to USA’s Nike Hoop Summit team and will compete after nationals on Friday, April 8th at 7 p.m. PT. Congratulations to Dick for the well-deserved honors and awards but he also has his eyes set on GEICO nationals.
Mark Mitchell had a spectacular season for Sunrise and received a lot of recognition as well. He was named to the Naismith Honorable Mention team. Mitchell made the NIBC All-Conference 2nd team with his dominant presence inside. Mitchell made the McDonald’s All-American game joining teammate Dick on the West team. Congratulations to Mitchell for all he accomplished this season and all the well-deserved honors and awards. The job is not finished as Mitchell has his eyes set on winning GEICO nationals alongside his teammates.
To conclude our honors and awards, junior Scotty Middleton made the NIBC All-Conference Defensive team. Middleton has played an important role for Sunrise all season long on the defensive end and has developed into a rising two-way star in the class of 2023. He was one of the best defenders in the nation and will be one of the ultimate x-factors for Sunrise this postseason. Congratulations to Middleton on an incredible junior year season so far as he is locked in for GEICO nationals.
Sunrise is hosting basketball camps this April for kids ages 6-14. There will be six sessions for the camps; April 12th, 14th, 19th, 21st, 26th, and 28th. All sessions are from 6-8 p.m. The camps are $50 for Sunrise students and $80 for non-Sunrise students and it does cover all six sessions.
These camps give young kids a chance to learn and compete with the top high school players across the country like Dick, Mitchell, and the rest of the team. It gives kids and parents an inside look at some of the behind-the-scenes action at Sunrise, gives kids a chance to gain an edge on the competition and show off their talent. If you, your kids, or someone you know is interested in attending our camps, sign up here.
We are still selling Sunrise gear and merchandise. Come get your Sunrise gear and support the team before the season concludes!!! To check out our store, click here.