The window on the Gatorade State Girls 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 center/forward, Twinsburg (Ohio)
2011-12 Team record: 19-3 (Division I)
2011-12 Team standing: Division I district semifinals begin on Thursday; Ranked No. 16 on ESPNHS FAB 50
2011-12 Points per game: 17.5
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 10.2
2011-12 Assists per game: 1.6
2011-12 Blocks per game: 1.7
2011-12 Steals per game: 2.5
Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: University of Maryland
How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Ranked No. 7 by Hoopgurlz ESPNU 100; 2012 McDonald's All-American selection; 2011 Cleveland Plain Dealer Player of the Year; 2012 Women's Basketball Coaches Association High School All-American; 2011 Division I state tournament Most Outstanding Player; Twinsburg High career scoring leader; 2009-2011 First Team All-State.
Senior point guard, Sycamore (Cincinnati, Ohio)
2011-12 Team record: 21-1 (Division I)
2011-12 Team standing: Division I district tournament begins on March 3
2011-12 Points per game: 12.6
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 5
2011-12 Assists per game: 3.3
2011-12 Blocks per game: 0.3
2011-12 Steals per game: 3
Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Maryland
How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: 2011 Greater Miami Conference co-Player of the Year; 2012 McDonald's All-American nominee.
Make no mistake, the Gatorade State Girls 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.
Kelley Austria: Senior guard, Carroll (Dayton, Ohio)
Kelsey Mitchell: Sophomore guard, Princeton (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Vanessa Smith: Junior post, Hathaway Brown (Shaker Heights, Ohio)
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.