The Gatorade State Baseball Players of the Year selection process is in full swing, 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: Matt Olson
School: Parkview (Lilburn, Ga.)
Weight: 230 pounds
2011 BA: .471
2011 HR: 10
2011 RBI: 35
2011 R: 27
2011 W-L-S: 5-2-0
2011 IP: 41.1
2011 ERA: 3.72
2011 K-BB: 45-9
Notes: 2010-11 Gatorade Georgia Baseball Player of the Year. Four-star prospect as rated by ESPNHS. Led the Panthers (27-9) to the 2011 Class 5A state championship. 2011 Under Armour All-American. 2010 and 2011 Region Player of the Year. 2011 USA Baseball Under-16 Junior Olympic team member.
Academics: A average
College: Vanderbilt University
Extracurricular activities: A member of his school’s Beta Club, he has volunteered on behalf of the Special Olympics and as a mentor to intellectually challenged students.
John Poitevint, head coach of rival Dacula (Ga.): “Matt Olson is a big-time player. He has an explosive bat and can hit the ball out of any park. He’d rather take a walk than chase bad pitches and in my experience, the good hitters are the ones who believe their teammates will pick them up. It’s obvious that Olson has been coached to believe that.”
Each Gatorade State Player of the Year is challenged by thousands of fellow high school athletes. These are a few of the returning boys soccer underclassmen that also contended in 2010-11.
Byron Buxton: Senior outfielder, Appling County (Baxley, Ga.)
Josh Hart: Junior outfielder, Parkview (Lilburn, Ga.)
Austin Meadows: Junior outfielder, Grayson (Loganville, Ga.)
Lucas Sims: Senior right-handed pitcher, Brookwood (Snellville, Ga.)
Duane Underwood: Senior right-handed pitcher, Pope (Marietta, 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 ESPNHS recruit rankings.
To nominate a student-athlete for Player of the Year honors, contact the POY team at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com.