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POY Potential: Top Okla. volleyball recruits

The Gatorade Player of the Year Program honors athletes who meet comprehensive and exacting criteria in high school sports. Candidates are judged on athletic production and impact in the current season. Contenders also 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 PrepVolleyball.com's Senior Aces rankings.

That being said, the state’s top five recruits as ranked by PrepVolleyball.com are sure to enter the 2011-12 Gatorade Volleyball Player of the Year conversation at some point. Here they are …

1. Bishop Kelley High (Tulsa, Okla.) middle blocker Oyinkan “Inky” Ajanaku

  • PrepVolleyball Senior Aces rank: No. 2

  • Height: 6-foot-4

  • Club: Club One

  • College: Stanford (verbal)

  • John Tawa, publisher of PrepVolleyball.com: "Ajanaku is a long, fluid athlete with a massive upside as a volleyball player. The 2010 Oklahoma Gatorade Player of the Year after topping state champion Bishop Kelley in kills and solo blocks, Ajanaku is fast and agile, a big jumper who is willing and able to hit a variety of sets. And while she is totally capable of dominating both offensively and defensively, she remains a complete team player, admiring and respecting the efforts of her teammates and understanding they have an integral part in her success as a player. Very funny and entertaining, Ajanaku’s ability to keep the mood light does not diminish both her competitive spirit and willingness to do whatever is necessary to ensure her team's success. Headed to Stanford, Ajanaku is sure as many smiles as head turning plays.”

2. Cache High (Cache, Okal.) outside hitter Madison Ward

  • PrepVolleyball Senior Aces rank: No. 88

  • Height: 6-foot

  • Club: Oklahoma Peak Performance

  • College: Oklahoma (verbal)

  • John Tawa, publisher of PrepVolleyball.com: "An extremely gifted athlete with the capabilities of playing any of the pin positions in the court, Ward possesses high flying attacking skills to go with solid defense and an above average passing and serving game. When playing on the right, she also has the hands to be an effective secondary setter. Ward came back from injury last fall to lead Cache to an Oklahoma state title. Ward also is an asset off the court, as her sweet personality creates fast and long-lasting friendships. An amazing golfer, singer and artist, Ward does not have a lot of years in volleyball yet, so her upside is tremendous. Committed to Oklahoma, expect her to make an immediate impact with the Sooners once she gets to Norman.”

Owasso High (Owasso, Okla.) outside hitter Aubrey Marsellis

  • PrepVolleyball Senior Aces rank: Top 250

  • Height: 6-foot-1

  • Club: Club One

  • College: Undecided

Bartlesville High (Bartlesville, Okla.) right side hitter Sadie Schaffner

  • PrepVolleyball Senior Aces rank: Top 250

  • Height: 6-foot-3

  • Club: Club One

  • College: Undecided

A dedicated POY team at ESPNHS manages the Gatorade Player of the Year program selection process and oversees all research, reporting, comparative analysis and criteria-compliance on the award program’s behalf.