Derrian Ford named Gatorade Player of the Year after earning state title playing sick

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Razorbacks signee Derrian Ford just had a high school career-defining week. After drilling a game-winning three last Monday to send Magnolia to the state finals, Ford came down ill the days and hours prior to the championship. He’d recover with IVs in time to score 29 points and earn state final MVP for the third time since his freshman year.

Nick Walters catches up with the future Hog and Magnolia head coach Ben Lindsey after Ford was named Arkansas Gatorade player of the year for the second straight season. Hear the lead-up to their state final in regards to the four-star guard’s health, and what taking state meant to cap off Ford’s unbeaten senior campaign.

“I felt so much joy because we actually did it, we went undefeated,” Ford said. “It was mostly a mind thing because I told myself ‘you’re alright, your body’s 100%’ even though it’s probably not. You can do this and you need to help your team win.”

Ford joins a short list of athletes to receive Gatorade’s player of the year honor twice. Before hitting the Hill to play for the Razorbacks, Magnolia’s star believes his story is just getting started.

“It’s an amazing feeling coming from Magnolia,” Ford said. “We’re down in a little town, there’s not much recognition here… Sometimes people get things and they get satisfied. When I get awards it just makes me work harder.”