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Eye on POY: Mississippi boys basketball

3/11/2012

The window on the Gatorade State Boys 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.

Twymond Howard

Senior Forward, Pearl High (Pearl, MS)

2011-12 Team record: 27-4

2011-12 Team standing: Lost in South State semifinal

2011-12 Points per game: 25.0

2011-12 Rebounds per game: 11.7

2011-12 Assists per game: 3.9

2011-12 Blocks per game: 1.4

2011-12 Steals per game: 1.8

Academics: B average

Collegiate destination: UTEP

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Clarion-Ledger Dandy Dozen; Second Team All-Metro in 2011.

Devonta Pollard

Senior Forward, Kemper County High (Dekalb, MS)

2011-12 Team record: 28-8

2011-12 Team standing: Won Class 3A state title

2011-12 Points per game: 23.8

2011-12 Rebounds per game: 15.7

2011-12 Assists per game: 2.8

2011-12 Blocks per game: 5.1

2011-12 Steals per game: 2.5

Academics: B average

Collegiate destination: Undecided

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: McDonald's All-American; Ranked No. 32 Senior by ESPNU; Clarion-Ledger Dandy Dozen; Triple-double in state final.

Make no mistake, the Gatorade State Boys 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.

Gavin Ware: Senior Forward, Starkville High (Starkville, MS)

Malik Newman: Freshman Guard, Callaway High (Jackson, MS)

Fred Thomas: Senior Guard, Jim Hill High (Jackson, MS)

Raeford "Gator" Worsham: Senior Forward, Wayne County High (Waynesboro, MS)

Jacoby Mobley: Senior Guard, Starkville High (Starkville, MS)

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.