Eye on POY: Illinois girls basketball

February, 23, 2012
2/23/12
3:12
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The window on the Gatorade State Girls Basketball Player of the Year race is closing, and the search for elite student-athletes is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program’s selection process.

Eye on POY, Jewell Loyd, Niles West, girls, Illinois
Chris Hansen/ESPNHSJewell Loyd is the No. 4 ranked recruit in the Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNHS.
Jewell Loyd
Senior point guard/shooting guard, Niles West (Skokie, Ill.)

2011-12 Team record: 22-9 (Class 4A)
2011-12 Team standing: lost Class 4A sectional semifinal to Glenbrook South, 48-46

2011-12 Points per game: 27.5
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 12.2
2011-12 Assists per game: 2.1
2011-12 Blocks per game: 2.2
2011-12 Steals per game: 4.0

Academics: B average
Collegiate destination: University of Notre Dame

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Shot 46.2 percent from the field, 40.4 percent from 3-point range and 84.2 percent from the free throw line. Her 27.5 points and 2.1 assists produced 63 percent of Niles West’s 50.3 points per game. Amassed 31 points and 13 rebounds in a 48-46 loss to Glenbrook South (Glenview, Ill.) in the sectional semifinals. No. 4 ranked recruit in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNHS. 2012 McDonald’s All-American. 2012 Women’s Basketball Coaches Association High School All-America Game selection. Member of USA Basketball’s 2009 U16 National Team Trials & 2010 U17 World Championship Team. 2010 Underclass All-American as named by ESPNHS. 2010 & 2011 Class 3A/4A First Team All-State selection as named by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association. 2009 Class 3A/4A Second Team All-State selection as named by the IBCA. 2009 Nike Skills Academy participant.

Morgan Tuck
Senior guard/forward, Bolingbrook (Ill.)

2011-12 Team record: 22-1 (Class 4A)
2011-12 Team standing: Class 4A sectional final vs. Benet Academy on Thursday; No. 3 ranked team on ESPNHS FAB 50

2011-12 Points per game: 27.5
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 12.2
2011-12 Assists per game: 2.1
2011-12 Blocks per game: 2.2
2011-12 Steals per game: 4.0

Academics: B-plus average
Collegiate destination: University of Connecticut

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Shooting 68.0 percent from the field, 35.6 percent from 3-point range and 79.1 percent from the free throw line. Her 31.3 points and 2.4 assists account for 49.0 percent of Bolingbrook’s 73.7 points per game. Totaled 17 points and 10 rebounds in a 76-37 rout of Neuqua Valley (Naperville, Ill.) in the sectional semifinals. No. 15 ranked recruit in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNHS. 2012 McDonald’s All-American. 2012 Women’s Basketball Coaches Association High School All-America Game selection. Member of USA Basketball’s 2009 U16 National Team, 2010 U17 World Championship Team & 2011 U19 World Championship Team. 2010 Second Team & 2011 Third Team as named by USA Today. 2009 Third Team & 2010 Second Team All-American as named by Parade Magazine. 2009 National Freshman of the Year and 2010 National Sophomore of the Year as named by ESPNHS. 2009 Miss Basketball selection (first freshman ever selected. 2009, 2010 & 2011 Class 3A/4A First Team All-State selection as named by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association. 2009, 2010, & 2011 Class 4A state champion.

Make no mistake, the Gatorade State Girls Basketball Player of the Year race isn’t over yet. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Here are some more of many who’ve been in the conversation throughout the 2011-12 campaign.

Tyra Buss: Sophomore guard, Mt. Carmel (Ill.)
Linnae Harper: Junior guard, Whitney M. Young Magnet (Chicago, Ill.)
Megan Podkowa: Senior guard, Trinity (Glenview, Ill.)
Janee Thompson: Senior point guard, Whitney M. Young Magnet (Chicago, Ill.)

Think we're missing a deserving Gatorade State Player of the Year candidate in your state? Let us know via e-mail at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com.

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