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Eye on POY: Rhode Island boys basketball

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.

Jarell Lawson

Senior guard/forward, Central (Providence, R.I.)

2011-12 Team record: 19-4

2011-12 Team standing: Won Open State Tournament title

2011-12 Points per game: 19.0

2011-12 Rebounds per game: 10.9

2011-12 Assists per game: 1.5

2011-12 Blocks per game: 2.0

2011-12 Steals per game: 1.0

Academics: B average

Collegiate destination: Undecided

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Unanimous First Team All-Division I selection; First Team All-League selection; Rhode Island Basketball Coaches Association All-Star

Evan Scott

Senior center/forward, North Kingstown (R.I.)

2011-12 Team record: 20-5

2011-12 Team standing: Lost in Open State Tournament quarterfinals

2011-12 Points per game: 16.5

2011-12 Rebounds per game: 9.2

2011-12 Assists per game: 0.9

2011-12 Blocks per game: 2.8

2011-12 Steals per game: 2.1

Academics: B average

Collegiate destination: University of San Francisco

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Unanimous First Team All-Division I selection; Two-time First Team All-League selection; Rhode Island Basketball Coaches Association All-Star

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.

Charles Correa: Junior guard, St. Raphael Academy (Pawtucket, R.I.)

Ben Engvall: Junior forward, Barrington (R.I.)

Tommy Hunt: Junior guard, La Salle Academy (Providence, R.I.)

Lee Messier: Junior guard, Bishop Hendricken (Warwick, R.I.)

Austin VanBemmelen: Senior guard, North Providence (R.I.)

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.