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 power forward/center, Punahou School (Honolulu, Hawaii)
2011-12 Team record: 28-2 (Division I)
2011-12 Team standing: Division I state champions
2011-12 Points per game: 12.1
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 9.1
2011-12 Assists per game: 0.8
2011-12 Blocks per game: 2.4
2011-12 Steals per game: 1.2
Academics: B average
Collegiate destination: University of Oregon (football)
How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Averaged 12.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.3 blocks in three Division I state tournament victories. Amassed 10 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in a 59-52 win over Kahuku in the state championship game. Shot 42.2 percent from 3-point range and 77.1 percent from the free throw line. His 18.2 points and 1.6 assists produce 36.5 percent of Kamehameha’s 58.6 points per game. 2012 Division I state tournament Most Outstanding Player. 2010 and 2011 All-State Fab 15 selection as named by the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
Senior point guard, Kamehameha (Honolulu, Hawaii)
2011-12 Team record: 20-10 (Division I)
2011-12 Team standing: Lost Division I first round to King Kekaulike, 43-38
2011-12 Points per game: 18.2
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 2.1
2011-12 Assists per game: 1.6
2011-12 Steals per game: 2.6
Academics: B average
Collegiate destination: Undecided
How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Scored 20 points in a 53-48 loss to King Kekaulike in the first round of the Division I state tournament. Averaged 21 points in two regular-season meetings against eventual state champion Punahou. Shot 67.4 percent from the field. 2011 Division I All-Tournament selection. 2011 Division I state champion. 2010 and 2011 Honolulu Star-Bulletin All-State Fab 15 selection.
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.
Lanaki Apele: Senior guard, Kamehameha (Kea'au, Hawaii)
Kawe Johnson: Junior guard/forward, Kahuku (Hawaii)
Malik Johnson: Senior forward, Punahou School (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Moritz Krume: Senior forward, Academy of the Pacific (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Mason Kuali'i-Moe: Senior guard, Kahuku (Hawaii)
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.