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.
Senior Guard, Sylvan Hills High (Sherwood, AR)
2011-12 Team record: 27-5
2011-12 Team standing: Won Class 5A state title
2011-12 Points per game: 25.0
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 6.1
2011-12 Assists per game: 2.2
2011-12 Blocks per game: 1.1
2011-12 Steals per game: 2.3
Academics: B average
Collegiate destination: Kentucky
How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: McDonald's All-American; Ranked No. 15 senior by ESPNU; Scored 27 points in state title game.
Junior Forward, Hall High (Little Rock, AR)
2011-12 Team record: 27-3
2011-12 Team standing: Won Class 7A state title
2011-12 Points per game: 16.0
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 9.9
2011-12 Assists per game: 1.6
2011-12 Blocks per game: 3.5
2011-12 Steals per game: 1.8
Academics: B-plus average
Collegiate destination: Arkansas (verbal)
How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Ranked No. 31 junior by ESPNU; All-State; 11 points and 10 rebounds in state title game.
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.
Dusty Hannahs: Senior Guard, Pulaski Academy (Little Rock, AR)
Imara Ready: Junior Guard, Parkview High (Little Rock, AR)
Anton Beard: Sophomore Guard, Parkview High (Little Rock, AR)
Trey Thompson: Sophomore Center, Forrest City High (Forrest City, AR)
Jalen Jackson: Senior Guard, West Memphis High (West Memphis, AR)
Dederick Lee: Junior Guard, Clarksville High (Clarksville, AR)
Stetson Billings: Senior Forward, Strong-Huttig High (Strong, AR)
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.