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Eye on POY: South Dakota 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.

Zach Hanson

Senior Forward, T.F. Riggs High (Pierre, SD)

2011-12 Team record: 16-7

2011-12 Team standing: Plays Huron in state quarterfinals, 3/15

2011-12 Points per game: 18.0

2011-12 Rebounds per game: 8.0

2011-12 Assists per game: 1.1

2011-12 Blocks per game: 1.9

Academics: B average

Collegiate destination: HS Junior

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Second Team All-State in 2011; Two-time All-Conference.

Skye Warwick

Senior Guard, St. Thomas More High (Rapid City, SD)

2011-12 Team record: 22-1

2011-12 Team standing: Plays Tri-Valley in state quarterfinals, 3/15

2011-12 Points per game: 17.2

2011-12 Assists per game: 4.1

2011-12 Steals per game: 1.2

Academics: B average

Collegiate destination: Northern State

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Second Team All-State in 2011; Three-time All-Conference.

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.

Wyatt Krogman: Junior Guard, White River High (White River, SD)

Lane Severyn: Junior Guard, T.F. Riggs High (Pierre, SD)

Tucker Volesky: Senior Forward, Mitchell High (Mitchell, SD)

Darin Peterka: Senior Guard, Miller High (Miller, SD)

Cole Langer: Junior Forward, Dell Rapids High (Dell Rapids, SD)

Tanner Heiser: Junior Guard, Watertown High (Watertown, SD)

Joey Habtemariam: Senior Guard, Washington High (Sioux Falls, SD)

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.