A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.
For her 50 fellow Gatorade State Girls Basketball Player of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Kuaneshia Baker
School: Helen Cox (Harvey, La.)
Athletic achievement: Baker averaged 25.0 points, 9.7 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 3.0 steals and 1.1 blocks this past season, leading the Cougars to an unofficial record of 24-7. A two-time District 8-4A Player of the Year, she was nominated for the McDonald’s All-American Game and the WBCA All-American Game. A 2011 First Team All-State selection, Baker concluded her prep basketball career with a school-record 2,695 points. A state association ruling on the eligibility of a freshman reserve required Helen Cox to vacate wins in any game that player appeared, resulting in an official record of 2-29.
Academic excellence: Baker has maintained a B average in the classroom.
Exemplary character: A member of the Cox High Student Leadership Committee and the school choir, she has volunteered locally as a camp counselor and with the Jefferson Parish Recreation Department.
“Kuaneshia Baker is a very physical guard who handles the ball extremely well and shoots the ball well off the dribble,” said Kathy Luke, head coach at Vandebilt Catholic (Houma, La.). “She can also shoot the 3-pointer. Her ability to create shots for her teammates is probably the one thing that sets her apart from other good guards.”
THE FUTURE: Baker has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on an athletic scholarship at Louisiana State University this fall.