The 2011-12 Gatorade State Boys Basketball Players of the Year selection process is underway, and what better way to kick off coverage than with profiles of returning underclassmen winners? Repeating is no guarantee, but here's a snapshot of what this year’s challengers can shoot for.
Name: Perry Ellis
School: Wichita Heights (Wichita, Kan.)
Position: Power forward
Weight: 220 pounds
Notes: 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 Gatorade Kansas Boys Basketball Player of the Year. No. 30 ranked recruit in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNU. Three-time Class 6A First Team All-State selection as named by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association. Three-time Class 6A state champion. 2010 USA Basketball Men’s Developmental National Team Roster member. 2009 Elite 24 Hoops Classic selection.
Academics: 4.0 GPA
College: University of Kansas
Extracurricular activities: In addition to donating his time as a youth basketball instructor, he has volunteered locally as part of multiple youth literacy-outreach initiatives and as a motivational speaker for young student-athletes, addressing the importance of education and positive thinking. He has also served on behalf of the Wichita Children’s Home.
Paul Biancardi, National Director for ESPN Basketball Recruiting: “He’s a three-time Gatorade Player of the Year winner, that’s extremely impressive because of the criteria you have to meet to do that. It speaks volumes about his abilities on the court and his character off it. He’s a strong, physical power forward who can score on the blocks. He has increased his ability to play facing the basket out to 15 feet. He’s a low-post and high-post threat and a good rebounder on both ends of the floor.”
Each Gatorade State Player of the Year is challenged by thousands of fellow high school athletes. These are a few of the returning boys basketball underclassmen that also contended in 2010-11.
Willie Cauley: Senior center, Olathe Northwest (Olathe, Kan.)
Conner Frankamp: Junior point guard, Wichita North (Wichita, Kan.)
Clint McCullough: Junior forward, St. James Academy (Lenexa, Kan.)
Colin Murphy: Senior forward, Basehor-Linwood (Basehor, Kan.)
Micah Swank: Junior guard, Pratt (Kan.)
Trey Unrau: Junior guard, Moundridge (Kan.)
A dedicated ESPNHS POY team manages the Gatorade Player of the Year selection process and oversees all research, reporting, comparative analysis and criteria-compliance on the program’s behalf. Candidates are judged on athletic production and impact in the current season. Contenders must demonstrate high academic achievement and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership. Senior status has no bearing on a candidate’s merit and selections are made independent of ESPNU recruit rankings.
To nominate a student-athlete for Player of the Year honors, contact the POY team at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com.