The 2011-12 Gatorade State Girls 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: Diamond DeShields
School: Norcross (Ga.)
Notes: 2010-11 Gatorade Georgia Girls Basketball Player of the Year. 2011 USA Basketball U19 World Championship Team member. 2010 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team member. 2010-11 Miss Georgia Basketball and 2009-10 Class 5A Player of the Year as named by the Georgia Sports Writers Association. 2010-11 Second Team All-USA selection as named by USA Today. 2009-10 National Freshman of the Year as named by ESPNHS. 2009-10 Fourth Team All-American as named by PARADE Magazine. 2010 and 2011 Class 5A state champion. No. 3 ranked recruit in Class of 2013 as rated by ESPNHS HoopGurlz.
Academics: 3.00 GPA
Extracurricular activities: In addition to donating her time as a youth basketball instructor, she has volunteered locally on behalf of her church and the Jack and Jill of America service organization for African-American women.
Angie Hembree, head coach of Norcross: “Diamond is one of the most athletic players you will see. Her length, speed and vertical jump allow her to play any position from the point guard to the post. She can create off the drive or shoot the deep 3-pointer off the pass. Diamond can play above the rim, scoring on passes directly to the rim or tips on put back shots. She sets up her teammates’ scoring by commanding double teams and hitting the open man. She is coachable, delightful and just plain fun to watch.”
Each Gatorade State Player of the Year is challenged by thousands of fellow high school athletes. These are a few of the returning girls basketball underclassmen that also contended in 2010-11.
Ariel Butts: Senior power forward/center, George Washington Carver (Columbus, Ga.)
Andraya Carter: Senior point guard, Buford (Ga.)
Kaela Davis: Junior guard, Buford (Ga.)
Breanna McDonald: Senior guard, Chamblee Charter (Ga.)
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.