Gabby Gregory has been off in Norman the past few weeks working out with new Oklahoma teammates and settling into her new home before joining the Sooners as a freshman in the fall, but the recently graduated Holland Hall basketball star has been busy on the awards circuit, as well.
Last week she left campus for the Jim Thorpe High School Awards. On Saturday night, Gregory was home in Tulsa for the Tulsa World’s third annual All-World Awards.
Her friends in Norman have taken notice of their accomplished new teammate.
“Another award?” Gregory recalled her roommate asking as she left this weekend. “Are you kidding me?”
No, it was not just another award. Actually, it was two.
Gregory earned her second consecutive All-World Girls Basketball Player of the Year Award on a night when more than 20 high school athletes from the area earned individual honors at the banquet at Marriott Southern Hills. Less than an hour later, Gregory, who also was all-state in volleyball and track and field in 2019, was back on stage accepting a second trophy, this time as the All-World Girls Athlete of the Year.
No stranger to the awards stage, Gregory said she felt calm and comfortable for most of the night. But when her name was called for her final and most significant award yet, a wave of shock came over her.
“I had no idea it was coming,” Gregory, Oklahoma’s 2019 Gatorade girls basketball player of the year said. “This one really means a lot to me. It’s an honor to be able to compete in all these different sports, and to succeed and be recognized for that is amazing.”
Broken Arrow football star and state champion wrestler Zach Marcheselli was named Boys Athlete of the Year.
Among others honored Saturday were former Booker T. Washington boys basketball coach Mike Mims, who was awarded a lifetime achievement award; and Bishop Kelley’s Graham Chapple and Sapulpa’s Hannah Berry, who were named Scholar Athletes of the Year.
Emeka Nnaka, a former semi-pro football player turned community advocate and motivational speaker, delivered the keynote speech.
Memorial’s Keylan Boone, who led the Chargers to a third consecutive state basketball title in March, was given the Boys Basketball Player of the Year award one year after his twin brother, Kalib, earned the honor. The 6-foot-7 forward registered 20 points, six rebounds and five blocks in Memorial’s state championship victory over Del City, capping off an accomplished high school career. During his three seasons on Memorial’s varsity team, the Chargers had a 77-8 record.
“Winning this is an amazing feeling,” said Boone, who will play at Oklahoma State with his brother next fall. “It lets me know I have people here in Tulsa who believe in me. The community and the people here, and the support they’ve given me — that’s why I’m here now.”
Gregory’s trophy-rich night comes at the end of a staggering 2018-19 athletics season at Holland Hall.
The 6-0 forward averaged 31.2 points and 11.6 rebounds per game en route to winning her second consecutive Pinnacle Conference MVP honor.
Gregory’s 2,699 career points rank eighth all time in Oklahoma 5-on-5 girls history.
But Gregory ranks her accomplishments in volleyball and track on the same plane as her anything she has done on a basketball court.
“A lot of people just focus on one sport,” Gregory said. “But it was really important to play volleyball and to be an all-state volleyball player. It was important to me to make it all-state in track three times. That was actually even more important to me than all-state basketball.”
For Gregory, the 2019 All-World Awards served as a fitting sendoff to her athletic career in Tulsa as she now moves on and looks ahead to a college basketball career with the Sooners.
She heads to Norman as one of the most prolific basketball players in Tulsa high school history and among the most decorated in the All-World’s short history. Yet on Saturday it was not the basketball award that had the greatest impact on Gregory.
Instead, it was the Athlete of the Year honor — which represented not only her efforts on the basketball court, but in volleyball and track and field — that meant the most.
“It allows me to put a cap on my high school sports career,” Gregory said. “I’ll never get the opportunity to play volleyball or throw a shot put again. To be recognized for those things as I head to Norman is incredible.”