- David Auguste, ESPN NFL
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Rodney Purvis came out on the losing end at last week’s McDonald’s All-American Game, but his hordes of loyal fans nationwide made sure he wouldn’t come up short in the race for the inaugural ESPNHS Fans’ Choice Player of the Year.
The Upper Room Christian Academy (Raleigh, N.C.) shooting guard was showered with an average of 3,400 votes per round over the three-round event to lock up the 2011-12 award. Purvis amassed 71 percent of the votes in the final to take home the award in a landslide decision over up-and-coming junior forward Julius Randle of Prestonwood Christian Academy (Plano, Texas).
“I want to send a huge shout-out to those guys [who voted for me] and whoever retweeted me to get me more votes,” Purvis said after winning the award. “I just want to say thank you to all of you guys.”
More than 30,000 high school hoops fans logged on to ESPNHS.com/fanschoice to make their voices heard after the eight candidates campaigned via video, Twitter and Facebook for player of the year honors. The election gave the basketball constituents the unique opportunity to crown a people’s champ.
Purvis’ campaign took off soon after he tweeted to his nearly 14,000 followers to head to the ballots during his first-round matchup with fellow ESPNU 100 baller and Virginia commit Justin Anderson of Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.). Despite falling behind during the first week of voting, the North Carolina State recruit gained steam over the following weeks (with an assist from NBA star John Wall) and wound up edging Anderson by a 62-38 voting percentage.
Purvis encountered the nation’s No. 1 recruit, Nerlens Noel, in the second round, but he too was no match for Hot Rod. Purvis advanced to the finals by nearly 1,500 votes. Overall, he collected 10,237 votes through the three rounds. Noel placed second with 5,386 and Shabazz Muhammad collected 4,203. Randle, the lone underclassman, finished slightly under 4,000 votes and would be the favorite for next year's award should he choose to run again.
In addition to Fans' Choice POY, Purvis dropped 15 points at the McDonald’s All-American Game, and he will suit up for the East squad at the April 14 Jordan Brand Classic in his home state. He also garnered Gatorade State Player of the Year honors after pouring in 26.1 points and snagging 6.7 boards to lead his squad to the Greater Carolina High School Athletic Association championship. Not a bad way to wrap up your high school career, is it?
1059dMike Grimala and David Auguste