From many, there will be one. While there’s no guarantee contending athletes will win their own state at this point in the season, a number of elite performers are making a case for Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year consideration. Here’s the scoop on the latest top candidate.
Senior guard/forward, Florida High (Tallahassee, Fla.)
Greatness Present: Following her father’s death when she was 13 and her mother’s death two years ago, Small bounced around for the next year from home to home, including foster care, in order to continue playing for Dr. Krop High in Miami.
In November, Small’s AAU coach Kimberly Davis Powell and her husband Kelvin Powell, a girls basketball recruiting expert who publishes the Roundball Journal, adopted the 6-foot McDonald’s All-American.
Small proceeded to lead her new school on its deepest Class 4A state tournament run ever. Small averaged 23.4 points, 8.3 rebounds, 5.2 steals, 5.0 assists and 1.4 blocks for the Seminoles, who reached the Class 4A regional finals before succumbing to Ribault (Jacksonville, Fla.) two weeks ago.
Greatness Past: Small — Blue Star Basketball’s No. 11 ranked recruit in the Class of 2013 — produced 24 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists per game for Dr. Krop in 2011-12, leading the Lightning (28-4) to the Class 8A state title game. She participated in the USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team Trials this past summer.
Greatness Future: Small is expected to announce her decision between Baylor and South Carolina during the McDonald’s All-America Game festivities in early April.
Make no mistake: The Gatorade State Girls Basketball Player of the Year races aren’t over, and the National POY race is now heating up. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Check back for daily updates on the top contenders making their case.