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Monday, March 12, 2012
Eye on POY: Tennessee boys basketball

By Eric Snyder

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.

Alex Poythress
Senior forward, Northeast (Clarksville, Tenn.)

2011-12 Team record: 28-3
2011-12 Team standing: Lost in Class AAA, Region 5 Tournament quarterfinals

2011-12 Points per game: 28.2
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 11.1
2011-12 Assists per game: 1.9
2011-12 Blocks per game: 4.3
2011-12 Steals per game: 1.4

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Kentucky (NLI)

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: McDonald's All-American; Two-time Class 10-AAA District Player of the Year; Two-time Class AAA Mr. Basketball finalist

Jonathan Williams III
Junior forward, Southwind (Memphis, Tenn.)

2011-12 Team record: 28-5
2011-12 Team standing: Lost in Class AAA, Region 9 Tournament quarterfinals

2011-12 Points per game: 15.7
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 10.2
2011-12 Assists per game: 2.6
2011-12 Blocks per game: 2.6
2011-12 Steals per game: 1.1

Academics: A-minus average
Collegiate destination: HS junior

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: First Team District 15-AAA selection; School career leader in points, rebounds, blocks

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.

Leron Black: Sophomore forward, White Station (Memphis, Tenn.)
Cameron Golden: Senior guard, Ridgeway (Memphis, Tenn.)
Jajuan Johnson: Junior guard, Southwind (Memphis, Tenn.)
Nick King: Junior guard, Memphis East (Memphis, Tenn.)
Jalen Lindsey: Sophomore forward, Christ Presbyterian (Franklin, 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.