CHICAGO — Butte Central has its first Gatorade winner.

Dougie Peoples, who wrapped up his remarkable basketball career at the Class A State tournament in Bozeman last weekend, was named the Gatorade Montana Boys Basketball Player of the Year. The organization, which is in its 38thyear of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, announced the award this morning.

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 Peoples as Montana’s best high school boys basketball player. Peoples joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including Chet Holmgren (2020-21, Minnehaha Academy, Minn.), Trae Young (2016-17, Norman North High School, Ok.). Jayson Tatum (2015-16, Chaminade College Preparatory School, Mo.), and Karl-Anthony Towns (2013-14 & 2012-13, St. Joseph High School, N.J.). 

Peoples joins Butte High’s Scott Ferguson, Gary Kane and Lexie Nelson (basketball), Dalton Daum (track, Jaimee Paffhausen (softball) and Tommy Mellott (football) as winners of the prestegous award.

Peoples closed the season with 616 points in 25 games. He scored 629 in 27 games as a junior, leading the Maroons to the Class A State title.

Peoples, who did not score a varsity point as a freshman, closed his career with 1,683 points. Only Nelson, who scored 1,696 from 2007-10, scored more points playing high school hoops in the Mining City. Peoples also owns Butte Central Catholic’s single-game record for points scored in a game (44). 

Peoples has volunteered locally with the Special Olympics and on behalf of his church parish. He also serves as Butte Central Catholic’s student body president and is a member of the National Honor Society. 

“He is one of the most unique players I’ve seen over the last few years,” Hamilton head coach Travis Blome said in a statement. “He can score in a variety of ways and has been the hardest person to defend in my coaching tenure.” 

Peoples has maintained an A average in the classroom. He remains undecided upon a collegiate destination. 

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which leverages experts including coaches, scouts, media and others as sources to help evaluate and determine the state winners in each sport. 

Being a Gatorade Player of the Year means paying it forward for the next generation. Through Gatorade’s Play it Forward initiative, every Player of the Year receives a grant to give to one of Gatorade’s social impact partners, supporting Gatorade’s ambition to fuel the future of sport. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners’ grants have totaled more than $3.5 million across more than 1,300 organizations. 

For nearly 40 years, Gatorade has honored high school athletes at the top of their game as teammates, supporting their communities and achieving academic success. From CEOs and coaches to star athletes and community leaders, Gatorade Player of the Year winners showcase the power of sport. 

Peoples made an appearance on the ButteCast in October.