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/forward, Sheboygan Area Lutheran (Sheboygan, Wis.)
2011-12 Team record: 23-4 (Division 5)
2011-12 Team standing: Division 5 state semifinals vs. Chippewa Falls McDonnell Central on Thursday
2011-12 Points per game: 32.5
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 13.7
2011-12 Assists per game: 3.6
2011-12 Blocks per game: 2.1
2011-12 Steals per game: 1.6
Academics: A-minus average
Collegiate destination: University of Wisconsin
How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Shooting 63.4 percent from the field, 37.0 percent from 3-point range and 72.8 percent from the free throw line. Scored 58 points in an 80-73 victory against Random Lake (Wis.), just missing a top-10 performance in state history. Became just the fifth Wisconsin prep player to eclipse 2,500 career points. No. 25 ranked recruit in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNU. 2012 Kentucky Derby Festival Classic invitee. 2011 Division 5 Player of the Year as named by the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association. 2011 Player of the Year as named by the Sheboygan Press. 2011 Second Team All-State selection as named by the Associated Press. 2011 Adidas Nations championship team member. 2011 NBA Top 100 Camp invitee. 2010 AP Honorable Mention All-State selection.
Senior guard, Germantown (Wis.)
2011-12 Team record: 26-0 (Division 1)
2011-12 Team standing: No. 27 ranked team on ESPNHS FAB 50; Division 1 state semifinals vs. Madison Memorial on Friday
2011-12 Points per game: 22.1
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 4.1
2011-12 Assists per game: 5.5
2011-12 Blocks per game: 0.6
2011-12 Steals per game: 2.6
Academics: A-minus average
Collegiate destination: University of Wisconsin (preferred walk-on)
How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Averaged 21.2 points in his first four Division 1 state tournament games, including 21 points in a 57-45 win over De Pere (Wis.) in the state quarterfinals. Faced a Division 1 schedule of opponents with a combined .567 winning percentage, including 15 teams with .500 records or better and seven games against teams ranked in the top 15 of their respective divisions. 2011 Division 1 First Team All-State selection as named by the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association and Associated Press. 2011 Player of the Year as named by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
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.
Deonte Burton: Junior small forward, Vincent (Milwaukee, Wis.)
Wally Ellenson: Senior shooting guard, Rice Lake (Wis.)
Bronson Koenig: Junior point guard, Aquinas (La Crosse, Wis.)
Junior Lomomba: Senior small forward, Madison Memorial (Madison, Wis.)
Phillip Nolan: Senior power forward, Riverside University (Milwaukee, Wis.)
J.P. Tokoto: Senior small forward, Menomonee Falls (Wis.)
Duane Wilson: Junior point guard, Dominican (Milwaukee, Wis.)
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.