By Walnut Unified
Walnut High School senior basketball player Jeff Huang has received the 2014 Jim Staunton Champions for Character Award. He was among 14 exceptional students lauded by the CIF Southern Section during a ceremony at the Queen Mary in Long Beach on September 29.
A total of 500 nominations were received for the prestigious recognition. The award is given to student-athletes, coaches, administrators and schools who best embrace good sportsmanship and the principals of “Pursuing Victory with Honor.”
Student winners received a trophy, banner, letterman patch, and $750 scholarship. Huang is a standout student who has received numerous accolades on and off the court. He has a 3.98 grade point average and currently ranks 16th in his class of 748 students.
He was recently named a semifinalist in the national merit scholarship program among the top 1% students in the state. He was selected as the 2014 Mustang of the Year. As a junior, he placed 2nd in the nation in business communication during the FBLA competition
“Jeff is sharp, bright and social. He is one of our most amazing young people,” said Principal Jeff Jordan.
The 17–year-old- began playing on the Varsity basketball team as a freshman. He displays sportsmanship, character, poise, confidence and calm under pressure.
“On the court, Jeff is the first person to help a teammate up from a fall, the first one to pat somebody on the back when they do well and the first to shake hands at the end of a contest,” said Athletic Director Jerry Person who nominated Huang for the award.
“He serves as a model of consistency on and off the basketball court and is a leader in everything he does,” Person added.
Huang has been president of the Class Cabinet for the past three years and an Interact Club member. Two years ago, he launched the Hoops for Hope Club to offer free sports clinics for elementary and middle school students.
“These kids can gain a lot from learning basketball. It can help you out for the rest of your life,” he said. “My parents and brother have definitely been my inspiration.”
Hoop for Kids mirrors Huang’s relationship with his older brother Brandon, who has been his longtime coach and mentor.
“He always gives me advice on how to react to certain things,” Huang said
Those words can be golden especially after a rough game.
“He’ll say, ‘its just one bad game, what’s important is what you learn from it,’” Huang recalled.
And after every loss, his brother is there to ask what he did poorly on so they can work on it together.
“He’s so supportive of me. Sometimes after the games he’s more excited about a win or good performance that I am. I learned everything I know from him.”
Huang was surprised to have been recognized for sportsmanship and praised fellow team members whom he admires.
He says during games he is “so focused on winning.” But afterwards, he makes sure he shakes hands and shows his appreciation.
“I’ll always go thank the people who work the scoreboard. They’re the unsung heroes.”
Huang hopes to attend Stanford University or University of Pennsylvania in the fall.