High-SchoolPlayer-of-the-Year: Carver

Alabama Boys Hoop POY: Craig Sword

March, 22, 2012
3/22/12
5:50
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade Boys 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 his 50 fellow Gatorade State Boys Basketball Player of the Year winners, click here.

THE WINNER: Craig Sword

THE BASICS

School: Carver (Montgomery, Ala.)
Grade: Senior
Position: Guard
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 183 pounds

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Sword led the Wolverines to a 29-3 record and the Class 6A state championship this past season. He amassed 33 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two steals in a 61-56, title-clinching victory against Hazel Green (Ala.), capturing tournament Most Valuable Player honors. A two-time returning First Team All-State selection as named by the Alabama Sports Writers Association, Sword averaged 17 points, nine rebounds, seven assists, five steals and four blocks per game. He shot 65 percent from the field, 52 percent from 3-point range and 80 percent from the free throw line.

Academic excellence: Sword has maintained a 3.08 GPA in the classroom.

Exemplary character: In addition to serving as a youth basketball instructor, he has volunteered locally at his church, multiple retirement facilities and field days for both elementary and middle school children. Sword has also donated his time on behalf of the Boys & Girls Club of America and as part of the National Education Association’s Read Across America campaign.

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Eye on POY: Alabama boys basketball

March, 19, 2012
3/19/12
3:44
PM ET
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.

Craig Sword
Senior guard, Carver (Montgomery, Ala.)

2011-12 Team record: 29-3 (Class 6A)
2011-12 Team standing: Class 6A state champions

2011-12 Points per game: 17
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 9
2011-12 Assists per game: 7
2011-12 Blocks per game: 4
2011-12 Steals per game: 5

Academics: B average
Collegiate destination: Mississippi State University

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Amassed 33 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two steals in the 61-56 victory against Hazel Green (Ala.) in the state championship game. His 17 points and seven assists produce 43.9 percent of his team’s 70.7 points per game. No. 34 ranked shooting in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNU. 2012 Class 6A state tournament Most Valuable Player. 2011 Class 6A First Team All-State selection as named by the Alabama Sports Writers Association. 2010 ASWA Class 5A First Team All-State selection.

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