High-SchoolPlayer-of-the-Year: Punahou School

Hawaii Boys Hoop POY: DeForest Buckner

March, 22, 2012
3/22/12
5:39
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: DeForest Buckner

THE BASICS

School: Punahou School (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Grade: Senior
Position: Forward
Height: 6-foot-8
Weight: 250 pounds

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Buckner led the Buff N’ Blue to a 28-2 record and the Division I state championship this past season. He recorded 10 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in a 59-52, title-clinching victory against Kahuku (Hawaii), capturing tournament co-Most Valuable Player honors along with teammate Malik Johnson. A two-time returning All-State Fab 15 selection as named by the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Buckner averaged 12.8 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.7 blocks, 1.6 steals and 1.3 assists per game. He shot 67 percent from the field and 59 percent from the free throw line.

Academic excellence: Buckner has maintained a B average in the classroom.

Exemplary character: Also a football standout, he has volunteered on behalf of the Special Olympics in addition to donating his time as a youth basketball and football instructor.

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Eye on POY: Hawaii boys basketball

March, 14, 2012
3/14/12
10:17
AM 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.

DeForest Buckner
Senior power forward/center, Punahou School (Honolulu, Hawaii)

2011-12 Team record: 28-2 (Division I)
2011-12 Team standing: Division I state champions

2011-12 Points per game: 12.1
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 9.1
2011-12 Assists per game: 0.8
2011-12 Blocks per game: 2.4
2011-12 Steals per game: 1.2

Academics: B average
Collegiate destination: University of Oregon (football)

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Averaged 12.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.3 blocks in three Division I state tournament victories. Amassed 10 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in a 59-52 win over Kahuku in the state championship game. Shot 42.2 percent from 3-point range and 77.1 percent from the free throw line. His 18.2 points and 1.6 assists produce 36.5 percent of Kamehameha’s 58.6 points per game. 2012 Division I state tournament Most Outstanding Player. 2010 and 2011 All-State Fab 15 selection as named by the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

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Eye on POY: Hawaii Girls Cross Country

January, 9, 2012
1/09/12
6:08
AM ET
The cross country season may have concluded, but the search for Gatorade State Girls Cross Country Runners of the Year is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated. These athletes made a case, but did they do enough on and off the course this past season to capture the prestigious statewide honor?

Dakota Grossman
Sophomore, Seabury Hall (Makawao, HI)

2011 Team postseason standing: Fifth
2011 State meet finish (Place—time): First—19:27.5

Elli Brady
Junior, Punahou (Honolulu, HI)

2011 Team postseason standing: Second
2011 State meet finish (Place—time): Second—19:47.3

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Hawaii Volleyball POY: Tayler Higgins

December, 14, 2011
12/14/11
5:38
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade State Volleyball Player of the Year selection process, resulting in this winner based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For her 49 fellow Gatorade State Volleyball Player of the Year winners, click here.

THE WINNER: Tayler Higgins

THE BASICS

School: Punahou School (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Grade: Junior
Position: Setter
Height: 5-foot-9

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Higgins led the Buff n’ Blue to a 15-0 record and the Division I state title this past season. She recorded 95 assists, 16 digs and 11 kills while posting a .578 kill percentage in the state tournament. The 2011 Division I State Tournament MVP, Higgins was also named 2011 Interscholastic League of Honolulu Player of the Year.

Academic excellence: Higgins has maintained a 3.17 GPA in the classroom.

Exemplary character: A devoted member of her church community, Higgins has volunteered locally as an assistant in the Punahou School athletic office and has also donated her time collecting gifts and canned goods on behalf of an area shelter for needy families.

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Hawaii Football POY: Steven Lakalaka

December, 1, 2011
12/01/11
5:39
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS POY team managed the Gatorade State Football Player of the Year selection process, resulting in this winner based on the awards 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 Football Player of the Year winners, click here.

THE WINNER: Steven Lakalaka

THE BASICS: Anatomy of a POY

School: Punahou School (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Grade: Senior
Position: Running back
Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 205 pounds

THE PILLARS: Gatorade criteria

Athletic achievement: Lakalaka rushed for 1,154 yards and 12 touchdowns on 218 carries this past season, leading the Buff n’ Blue (11-3) to the Division I state final. A two-time First Team All-State selection, he collected more than 100 rushing yards in a game four times in 2011, including a season-high 162 in a win over Iolani School (Honolulu, Hawaii) on Sept. 9.

Academic excellence: Lakalaka has maintained a 3.01 GPA in the classroom.

Exemplary character: A devoted member of his church community, Lakalaka has volunteered locally as a youth football and basketball coach.

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