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.
Junior guard/forward, Norcross (Ga.)
2011-12 Team record: 23-5
2011-12 Team standing: Class AAAAA second round vs. Marietta on Tuesday; No. 29 ranked team on ESPNHS FAB 50
2011-12 Points per game: 21.9
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 6.5
2011-12 Assists per game: 3.5
2011-12 Blocks per game: 1.4
2011-12 Steals per game: 4.3
Academics: B average
Collegiate destination: Undecided
How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: 2010-11 Gatorade Georgia Girls Basketball Player of the Year. Totaled 29 points, nine steals and six rebounds in an 85-36 Class AAAAA state tournament first-round blowout of Archer (Lawrenceville, Ga.). Shooting 52 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range and 72 percent from the free throw line. No. 3 ranked recruit in Class of 2013 as rated by ESPNHS. Member of USA Basketball’s 2010 Women’s U18 National Team and 2011 Women’s U19 World Championship Team; 2011 Miss Georgia Basketball selection as named by the Georgia Sports Writers Association. 2011 Second Team All-American as named by USA Today. 2010 ESPNHS National Freshman of the Year. 2010 Class 5A Player of the Year as named by the GSWA. 2010 and 2011 Class AAAAA state champion.
Senior forward, McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.)
2011-12 Team record: 28-0 (Class AAAAA)
2011-12 Team standing: Class AAAAA second round vs. Westlake on Tuesday; No. 2 ranked team on ESPNHS FAB 50
2011-12 Points per game: 19.3
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 9.8
2011-12 Assists per game: 2.3
2011-12 Blocks per game: 1.5
2011-12 Steals per game: 3.4
Academics: B average
Collegiate destination: Syracuse University
How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Scored 16 points in an 88-40 Class AAAAA state tournament opening-round win over Camden County (Kingsland, Ga.). Dropped 42 points in a 64-61 win at nationally-ranked Memphis Central (Memphis, Tenn.). Shooting 62 percent from the field, 42 percent from 3-point range and 80 percent from the free throw line. No. 34 ranked forward in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNHS. 2011 Class AAAAA First Team All-State selection as named by the Georgia Athletic Coaches 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.
Morgan Batey: Senior guard, Pace Academy (Atlanta, Ga.)
Alexis Brown: Junior point guard, North Gwinnett (Gwinnett, Ga.)
Kaela Davis: Junior guard, Buford (Ga.)
Allisha Gray: Junior guard, Washington County (Sandersville, Ga.)
Holli Wilkins: Senior wing, Wesleyan School (Norcross, Ga.)
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.