High School Sports

West Valley’s Stewart Erhart named Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year for boys basketball

For the second straight year, West Valley star guard Stewart Erhart has been named the 2023 Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year for boys basketball.

On Wednesday, the leader of the 26-1 Wolfpack received the honor after another outstanding regular season. Erhart is looking to cap off a stellar prep career by leading his team to the second state championship in program history and first since 1990 at next week’s 4A state tournament.

This award doesn’t just acknowledge prolific athletic achievement on the court. It also takes into account academic excellence and exemplary character on and off the court.

Erhart has maintained a B average in the classroom and was selected as a Fairbanks Native Association Johnson O’Malley Program basketball leadership student. He has also served as a facilitator in the O’Malley Native Youth Basketball Tournament. His family runs a fourth-generation sprint dog mushing company where he has both worked and raced.

On the court, the 6-foot-2, 165-pound guard led West Valley to another Mid-Alaska regional title and the top seed in the 2023 Alaska state championship 4A state tournament. At the time of his selection, Erhart was averaging 21.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.3 steals and 4.0 assists through 23 games.

“Erhart is the reigning Gatorade Player of the Year and has only gotten better,” said North Pole High School head coach Travis Church in a statement. “He’s the engine of that West Valley team. Stewart gets it done on both ends of the floor and is a much improved outside shooter.”

The last multi-time recipient of the honor was former Barrow prep star Kamaka Heppa of Utqiagvik who won it back-to-back as a freshman and sophomore for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 seasons.


While Erhart admits that being honored the second time isn’t quite as exciting as the first, it’s even more validating knowing that he’s so widely respected around the state.

“It’s definitely a validation,” Erhart said. “Last year people were saying this person or this person should’ve got it but now you can’t doubt that. You can’t doubt or say that ‘Oh he’s not a good player or he’s not an elite or top player in the state.’ ”

Josh Reed

Josh Reed is a sports reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. He's a graduate of West High School and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.