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, Union (Camas, Wash.)
2011-12 Team record: 21-8 (Class 4A)
2011-12 Team standing: Lost Class 4A state semifinal to Central Valley (Spokane Valley, Wash.), 52-51
2011-12 Points per game: 20.7
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 6.3
2011-12 Assists per game: 2.7
2011-12 Blocks per game: 1.0
2011-12 Steals per game: 1.9
Academics: B-plus average
Collegiate destination: Brigham Young University
How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Averaged 27.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.3 assists in three Class 4A state tournament games. Sunk a full-court shot as time expired in the 52-51 state semifinal loss to Central Valley. Played a schedule of opponents with a .576 winning percentage and 20 games against winning teams. No. 51 ranked point guard in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNU. 2012 State Player of the Year as named by the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association. 2012 First Team All-State selection as named by The Seattle Times and The News Tribune. 2012 Class 4A state tournament Most Valuable Player.
Senior guard, Davis (Yakima, Wash.)
2011-12 Team record: 25-3 (Class 4A)
2011-12 Team standing: Class 4A state champions
2011-12 Points per game: 19
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 7
2011-12 Assists per game: 5
2011-12 Blocks per game: 2
2011-12 Steals per game: 5
Academics: A-minus average
Collegiate destination: Undecided
How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Amassed 10 points, eight rebounds, six assists, five steals and a block in the 48-42 state title win over Central Valley. His 19 points and five assists produced 46 percent of Davis' 63 points per game. 2012 State Player of the Year as named by The Seattle Times and The News Tribune. 2012 Class 4A Player of the Year as named by the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association. 2012 Class 4A Second Team All-Tournament selection. 2010 and 2011 Class 4A Honorable Mention All-State selection as named by WIBCA. 2011 Class 4A First Team All-Tournament 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.
Brett Bailey: Junior guard, University (Spokane Valley, Wash.)
Mitch Brewe: Senior forward, Seattle Prep (Seattle, Wash.)
Caleb Dressler: Senior forward, Evergreen (Seattle, Wash.)
Zach Lavine: Junior point guard, Bothell (Wash.)
Darien Nelson-Henry: Senior center, Lake Washington (Kirkland, Wash.)
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.