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 forward, Milton (GA)
2011-12 Team record: 26-4
2011-12 Team standing: Will play in Class 5A semifinals on March 8
2011-12 Points per game: 17.5
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 8
2011-12 Assists per game: 2.5
2011-12 Blocks per game: 2
2011-12 Steals per game: 2
Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Virginia
How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Ranked No. 54 in ESPNU 100; 2012 Beach Ball Classic MVP; 2012 All-Metro; 2012 All-Region
Senior power forward, Miller Grove (Lithonia, GA)
2011-12 Team record: 22-9
2011-12 Team standing: Will play in Class 4A state final on March 9
2011-12 Points per game: 16.2
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 10.9
2011-12 Assists per game: 0.8
2011-12 Blocks per game: 0.6
2011-12 Steals per game: 3.0
Academics: B average
Collegiate destination: Undecided
How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: 2012 McDonald's All-American Game selection; 2012 Jordan Brand Classic selection; Ranked No. 21 on ESPNU 100; Led Miller Grove to three straight Class AAAA state championships.
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.
Shaq Goodwin: Senior power forward, Southwest DeKalb (Decatur, GA)
Kenny Gaines: Senior guard, Whitefield Academy (Mabelton, GA)
Tony Bagtas: Junior point guard, Westlake (Union City, 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.