Eye on POY: Tennessee girls basketball

February, 26, 2012
2/26/12
3:39
PM ET
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.

Return of the POY, Shacobia Barbee, Tennessee, Riverdale
Chris Hansen/ESPNHSShacobia Barbee is the returning Gatorade Tennessee Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
Shacobia Barbee
Senior forward, Riverdale (Murfreesboro, Tenn.)

2011-12 Team record: 28-3 (Class 3A)
2011-12 Team standing: Class AAA state tournament begins March 4; No. 5 ranked team on ESPNHS FAB 50

2011-12 Points per game: 14.8
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 11.1
2011-12 Assists per game: 4.4
2011-12 Blocks per game: 1.2
2011-12 Steals per game: 4.6

Academics: A-minus average
Collegiate destination: University of Georgia

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Shooting 45.5 percent from the field and 61.7 percent from the free throw line. 2010-11 Gatorade Tennessee Girls Basketball Player of the Year. Riverdale faced six opponents ranked on the FAB 50, finishing with a 3-3 record against those teams. No. 82 ranked recruit in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNHS. 2012 Women’s Basketball Coaches Association High School All-America Honorable Mention. 2011 Class AAA Miss Basketball. 2011 Class AAA All-Tournament selection. 2010 and 2011 Player of the Year as named by The Tennessean. 2010 & 2011 Class 3A First Team All-State selection as named by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association. 2010 Class AAA All-Tournament Most Valuable Player. 2010 Class AAA state champion. 2011 Class AAA state runner-up.

Bashaara Graves
Senior forward, Clarksville (Tenn.)

2011-12 Team record: 33-0 (Class AAA)
2011-12 Team standing: Class AAA state tournament begins March 4; No. 7 ranked team on ESPNHS FAB 50

2011-12 Points per game: 21.3
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 11.9
2011-12 Assists per game: 3.3
2011-12 Blocks per game: 2.5
2011-12 Steals per game: 2.6

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

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Averages 27.3 points, 15.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 3.3 steals and 3.2 blocks per 32 minutes of action. Her 21.3 points and 3.3 assists account for 39 percent of Clarksville's 71.5 points per game. Shooting 64.5 percent from the field and 74.4 percent from the free throw line. No. 5 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 2010 U17 World Championship Team and 2011 U19 World Championship Team trials roster. 2010 and 2011 Class 3A First Team All-State selection as named by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association.

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.

Marjorie Butler: Senior point guard, Webb School of Knoxville (Tenn.)
Chandler Cooper: Senior guard, Clarksville (Tenn.)
Nina Davis: Junior guard, Memphis Central (Memphis, Tenn.)
Alexa Middleton: Sophomore point guard, Riverdale (Murfreesboro, Tenn.)
Aaliyah Whiteside: Senior guard/forward, Memphis Central (Memphis, Tenn.)

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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