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Kokomo basketball star receives major honor for the second straight year

Flory Bidunga (Provided Photo/Kokomo HS Sports Information Director on X)

CHICAGO (WISH) — Kokomo High School basketball star Flory Bidunga received a major honor this week, an honor which he also won last year.

Bidunga was named the 2023-24 Gatorade Indiana Boys Basketball Player of the Year on Thursday.

The 6’10” senior center averaged 19 points per game and 12.9 rebounds per game this past season, which helped the Wildkats (25-4) advance to the IHSAA Class 4A regional title game.

Bidunga also averaged 4.4 blocks and 3.2 assists this season.

He finished his high school career with 1,609 points and 1,132 rebounds.

“As a high school player, Flory changes the way you have to play as much as any player we have ever faced,” Mark Rinehart, head coach of William Henry Harrison High School, said in a press release. “He completely takes attacking the basket away from your team. At the other end of the floor, you simply cannot allow him to move freely to the rim because if he can get any space, he will just play over your head.”

Bidguna, a University of Kansas signee, is ranked as the No. 9 recruit in the Class of 2024, according to ESPN.

He also is involved in volunteering efforts away from the court. Two examples of that were highlighted in Gatorade’s press release:

  • Volunteered locally as part of multiple fundraising campaigns on behalf of the Haitian Environmental Support Program
  • Donated his time as a youth basketball coach

Bidunga is the fifth player to win Gatorade Indiana Boys Basketball Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons. The others include:

  • Greg Oden (Lawrence North) – 2005 and 2006
  • Jason Gardner (North Central) – 1998 and 1999
  • Damon Bailey (Bedford North Lawrence) – 1989 and 1990
  • Jay Edwards (Marion) – 1986 and 1987

“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.”