High-SchoolBoys-Basketball: ESPNHS Fans' Choice

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.

[+] EnlargeRodney Purvis
Jack ArentNC State-bound Rodney Purvis is the ESPNHS Fans' Choice Player of the Year after collecting more than 10,000 votes.
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?

David Auguste covers high school sports for ESPNHS. Be sure to follow him on Twitter@ESPNHS_Auguste or email him at David.Auguste@espn.com.

Fans' Choice: Purvis vs. Randle

March, 1, 2012
fans 2Kelly Kline/ESPNHSWho will be the last man standing: Rodney Purvis or Julius Randle?

Back in November, we launched the first ESPNHS Fans' Choice Player of the Year award with eight of the nation's top players in the running for the honor. Well, we're down to the final two candidates, so it's time for you fans to really make your vote count.

Wolfpack nation spoke up in the semifinals to help senior Rodney Purvis coast by Nerlens Noel, while junior Julius Randle got an assist from his fans in Big D to take down Shabazz Muhammad.

We caught up with the two good friends one final time for a quick update on their seasons and to get their final campaign speeches.

Rodney Purvis, Upper Room Christian (Raleigh, N.C.)
No. 20 in the ESPNU 100
What it would mean to be voted POY by the fans: “I just think it’s different because it’s based off what the fans think and the fans are what’s important. I really love all of my fans. I appreciate them. All of my fans are really loyal and I really appreciate that.”
Highlight of this season: “Making the Jordan and McDonald’s All-American game.”
Final campaign message: “I think people should vote for me because I put God first and I’m a fun kid. Also I like my fans and I just love the game of basketball. Thanks so much for all of your votes guys.”

Julius Randle, Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas)
No. 2 in the ESPNU 60
What it would mean to be voted POY by the fans: "It would mean a lot to me that I have support from all around the country. I'm grateful for that."
Highlight of this season: "The highlight of my current season would definitely be winning the City of Palms. Great team effort. We really came together during that time."
Final campaign message: "Fans vote for me! I've had a pretty good season, and I still have that meal to cook for one of you!"

Discuss this matchup on Twitter #espnhsfans

Check out the players' campaign videos and see the first-round entrants on the player intro page.

The choice is yours

Who will be the last man standing: Rodney Purvis or Julius Randle?