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, Chaparral (Parker, Colo.)
2011-12 Team record: 25-3 (Class 5A)
2011-12 Team standing: Class 5A state champions
2011-12 Points per game: 18.0
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 3.7
2011-12 Assists per game: 1.9
2011-12 Blocks per game: 0.6
2011-12 Steals per game: 1.5
Academics: B average
Collegiate destination: University of Wyoming
How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Made a miraculous tip-in at the buzzer to defeat Arapahoe 69-67 in the Class 5A state championship game. Totaled 19 points, seven rebounds and two steals in the title game. Shot 47 percent from the field, 32 percent from 3-point range and 76 percent from the free throw line. Named 2012 Class 5A state tournament Most Valuable Player. 2011 Class 5A Honorable Mention All-State selection as named by The Denver Post.
Senior center, Lewis-Palmer (Monument, Colo.)
2011-12 Team record: 27-1
2011-12 Team standing: Class 4A state champions
2011-12 Points per game: 28.5
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 9.6
2011-12 Assists per game: 1.2
2011-12 Blocks per game: 2.5
2011-12 Steals per game: 1.2
Academics: B average
Collegiate destination: University of Colorado
How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Amassed 23 points and five rebounds in a 44-43 win over Sierra in the Class 4A state championship game. Shot 73 percent from the field and 76 percent from the free throw line. Named 2012 Class 4A state tournament Most Valuable Player. No. 37 ranked recruit in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNU. 2011 Class 4A First Team All-State selection as named by The Denver Post. 2010 Denver Post Class 4A Second Team All-State selection. 2010 and 2011 Class 4A All-Tournament selection. 2011 NBA Top 100 Camp invitee.
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.
Cory Calvert: Senior guard, Chaparral (Parker, Colo.)
Dominique Collier: Sophomore guard, East (Denver, Colo.)
Wesley Gordon: Senior forward, Sierra (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Austin Haldorson: Senior forward/center, Highlands Ranch (Littleton, Colo.)
Carlton Hurst: Junior guard, Aurora Central (Aurora, Colo.)
Josh Perkins: Sophomore guard, Regis Jesuit (Aurora, Colo.)
Tanner Samson: Senior guard, Regis Jesuit (Aurora, Colo.)
Xavier Talton: Senior guard, Sterling (Colo.)
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.