Return of the POY: South Carolina's Xylina McDaniel

Xylina McDaniel is the returning Gatorade South Carolina Girls Basketball Player of the Year. HoopGurlz/ESPNHS

The 2011-12 Gatorade State Girls Basketball Players of the Year selection process is underway, 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: Xylina McDaniel

School: Spring Valley (Columbia, S.C.)

Grade: Senior

Position: Forward

Height: 6-foot-2

Notes: 2010-11 Gatorade South Carolina Girls Basketball Player of the Year. Led Vikings (29-0) to the 2011 Class 4A state championship. No. 25 ranked recruit in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNHS HoopGurlz. 2010 USA Basketball Women's U17 National Team Trials Roster member. Three-time Class 4A First Team All-State selection as named by the South Carolina Basketball Coaches Association. 2009-10 Class 4A Player of the Year as named by SCBCA.


Academics: B average

College: University of North Carolina

Extracurricular activities: In addition to donating her time as a youth basketball instructor and as part of a youth literacy-outreach program, she has volunteered on behalf of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, the Spring Valley Education Foundation, Ronald McDonald House Charities, the March of Dimes, Advancement Via Individual Determination and her church.

Anne Long, head coach of Spring Valley: “Xylina McDaniel is a talented basketball player and goes the extra mile to excel in all endeavors, including game preparation. Even though she is our leading scorer, she strives to include all of her teammates, so that they can experience success. Xylina is an exceptional athlete and person. Her defensive skills are relentless. Her mental preparation for practice and games is outstanding. She is a tremendous positive role model for the youth in our community.”

Each Gatorade State Player of the Year is challenged by thousands of fellow high school athletes. These are a few of the returning girls basketball underclassmen that also contended in 2010-11.

Alaina Coates: Junior power forward/center, Dutch Fork (Irmo, S.C.)

Asia Dozier: Junior guard/forward, Spring Valley (Columbia, S.C.)

Kianna Holland: Junior guard, Seneca (S.C.)

Khadijah Sessions: Senior point guard, Myrtle Beach (S.C.)

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 ESPNU recruit rankings.

To nominate a student-athlete for Player of the Year honors, contact the POY team at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com.