A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.
For her 50 fellow Gatorade State Girls Basketball Player of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Bashaara Graves
School: Clarksville (Tenn.)
Athletic achievement: Graves led the Wildcats to a 36-0 record and a berth in the Class AAA state quarterfinals against Memphis Central (Memphis, Tenn.), scheduled for Thursday. She averaged 21.3 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 2.5 steals and 2.3 blocks per game entering the postseason round of eight. Selected to play in both the McDonald’s and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association All-American games, Graves shot 63.9 percent from the field and 73.7 percent from the free throw line in 2012. She averaged 17.9 points, 13.9 rebounds, 4.3 steals and 3.3 assists as a junior, leading the Warriors (32-4) to the 2011 Class AAA state quarterfinals.
Academic excellence: Graves has maintained a 3.30 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: In addition to donating her time as a youth basketball instructor, she has volunteered as a peer counselor for students with special needs.
“Bashaara is a phenomenal, versatile basketball player,” said Glen Fox, head coach at West Creek (Clarksville, Tenn.). “I have watched her develop her game for five years now, and there really isn’t a position that she can’t play. Her leadership skills are also evident on her team. Many girls wilt under pressure and expectations. Bashaara did not, and will not. As an opposing coach, I am happy she is graduating, but as a fan of the game I will miss watching her play.”
THE FUTURE: Graves has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on an athletic scholarship at the University of Tennessee this fall.