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 Boys Basketball Player of the Year consideration. Here’s the scoop on the latest top candidate.
Senior guard/forward, Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, Calif.)
Greatness Present: Against Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) in the CIF Southern California Open Division semifinals on Tuesday, Long Beach Poly couldn’t recreate the magic executed in a 61-59 win over St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) last Saturday. During the game, Prince eclipsed 2,000 career points and Oregon-bound teammate Jordan Bell buried a game-winning layup as time expired in the quarterfinals.
The 6-foot-6, 215-pound Prince scored 25 points in the final game of his prep career, but he and Bell both fouled out in an 83-63 loss to Mater Dei in the semifinals. Entering the game, Long Beach Poly and Mater Dei were ranked No. 17 and 22 in the USA TODAY Super 25, respectively.
Prince averaged 20.2 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game for the Jackrabbits, who finished the season with a 28-4 record.
Greatness Past: During Long Beach Poly’s run to the 2012 Open Division title game, where the Jackrabbits also fell to Mater Dei, Prince dropped 40 points in a quarterfinal win over Eisenhower (Rialto, Calif.). The No. 89 ranked recruit in the Class of 2013 averaged 21.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists as a junior.
Greatness Future: USC
Make no mistake: The Gatorade State Boys 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.