Mr. Basketball USA: Players chime in

Last week, we took a look at the most important criteria in the ESPNHS Mr. Basketball. This week, we asked players from across the country to give their opinions on what makes a national player of the year.

It should come as no surprise top vote-getter Shabazz Muhammad (94 points, 10 ballots) solicited plenty of support, but the reasons why he and other top candidates were the choice varied.

Student-athletes around the country placed great emphasis on leadership skills and the ability to make teammates better which leads to team success, regardless of the amount of talent on the roster.

"Is he a winner? How's his attitude? Does he play hard consistently? Has he had big games against good teams? ...I haven't seen all the guys this year, so I guess I'll go with Shabazz (Muhammad)."

- Zena Edosomwan, Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.), 2012

"Of course I'm going to say myself. But if not me, then Shabazz Muhammad. I think the player of the year should be a great person on and off the court. He should also be a warrior that hates to lose."

- Archie Goodwin, Sylvan Hills (Sherwood, Ark.), 2012

"I think the player of the year should be a good leader on and off the court. I wouldn't say his team has to win state, but his team's probably going to be very good. I think the player of the year should be Shabazz Muhammad or Aquille Carr. Shabazz's team played at the Hoophall Classic and I got to see his team practice. He is an insane athlete. Aquille, he's put Baltimore on his back. He's small, but he amazing to watch."

- Tyler Huffman, Northwest Catholic (Hartford, Conn.), 2012

"Probably Jabari Parker because he is an all-around player. He leads and his team wins. I think a player of the year should be the guy that comes to play every night that puts up numbers and leads his team to victory. If it's not him, it's definitely Shabazz Muhammad or Kyle Anderson."

- Stanley Johnson, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), 2014

"Kris Jenkins of Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.). He did really well this year. My high school went against him a few times. When Nate Britt was out, he played amazing. He was clutch down the stretch. I think the player of the year should be a clutch player on a winning team."

- Michael Li, Bishop O'Connell (Arlington, Va.), 2014

"I would say Shabazz (Muhammad). His body of work and his consistent effort night in and night out makes him deserving. He doesn't take plays off and he's a winner."

- Marcus Paige, Linn-Mar (Marion, Iowa), 2012

"To me, you have to be an all-around player and leader for his teammates. He doesn't have to play on a great team, but if he's a good leader he'll make his team better. Marcus Smart, he's just a winner. He plays defense and goes hard every play. He plays defense and rebounds and that's what it's all about."

- Bryant Rucker, Frisco Centennial (Frisco, Texas), 2012

"Oh wow, Amile Jefferson would probably get my vote. He's everywhere, a great player whose has great offense and great defense and you got to play defense to win. Winning is the biggest factor and sometimes you have to put the team on your back and I think he does that."

- Logan Stumpf, Cedar Cliff (Wormleysburg, Pa.), 2012

"Shabazz Muhammad. He has an all-around game and does everything. I saw him play a couple of times on the AAU circuit and watched him play on ESPN a few times. He's big and strong for his position and gets a ton of rebounds."

- Michael Volovic, Carmel (Carmel, Ind.), 2013

Others Receiving Votes:
Kris Dunn (New London, New London, Conn.) 9 pts.
Grant Jerrett (La Verne Lutheran, La Verne, Calif.) 9 pts. (1)
Katin Reinhardt (Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif.) 7 pts. (1)
Tyler Dorsey (Ribet Academy, Los Angeles, Calif.) 6 pts. (1)
Marcus Paige (Linn-Mar, Marion, Iowa) 6 pts. (1)
Amile Jefferson (Friends' Central, Wynnewood, Pa.) 5 pts. (1)
Rondae Jefferson, Chester (Chester, Pa.) 5 pts. (1)
Stanley Johnson, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 5 pts. (1)
Isaiah Austin (Grace Prep, Arlington, Texas) 4pts. (1)
Perry Ellis (Wichita Heights, Wichita, Kan.) 4 pts. (1)
Razhaun Henderson (Bishop Alemany, Mission Hills, Calif.) 4 pts. (1)
Jahlil Okafor (Whitney Young, Chicago, Ill.) 4 pts. (1)
Alex Poythress (Northeast, Clarksville, Tenn.) 4 pts. (1)
Gabe York (Orange Lutheran, Orange,
Calif.) 4 pts. (1)

About ESPNHS Mr. Basketball Tracker Panel
ESPNHS' panel of 10 experts, which includes five McDonald's All-American selection committee members, casts its vote each week for the top national player of the year candidates. Each panelist lists the top seven candidates regardless of class. The votes are then tabulated on a 10-point scoring system with a first-place vote equaling 10 points, a second-place vote earning nine points and down to four points for a seventh-place vote. The number in parenthesis refers to the numbers of ballots on which a player appeared and previous rankings refers to position in previous tracker.