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 USA TODAY team that administers the program’s selection process.
Senior guard, Marion County (Lebanon, Ky.)
2012-13 Team record: 18-0
2012-13 Team standing: Ranked No. 8 nationally as rated by USA TODAY
2012-13 Points per game: 22.6
2012-13 Rebounds per game: 4.7
2012-13 Assists per game: 4.9
2012-13 Steals per game: 4.1
Collegiate destination: Kentucky (verbal)
How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: The 5-foot-8 Epps has Marion County off to a perfect 18-0 start and a No. 8 national ranking. She will attend the University of Kentucky, following in the footsteps of her father, Anthony, the starting point guard for the Wildcats’ 1996 national championship team. She is ranked No. 21 in the Class of 2013 by Blue Star Basketball.
Senior guard, Owensboro Catholic (Owensboro, Ky.)
2012-13 Team record: 10-5
2012-13 Team standing: Unranked by USA TODAY
2012-13 Points per game: 25.0
2012-13 Rebounds per game: 6.6
2012-13 Assists per game: 3.4
2012-13 Steals per game: 1.8
Collegiate destination: Duke (verbal)
How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: A member of the 2012 USA Women’s U17 World Championship Team, the 6-foot guard averaged 11.9 points, a team-high 7.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.0 steals per game in leading the U.S. to the gold medal. Greenwell missed the entire 2011-12 season with a torn ACL suffered during the summer of 2011 at the FIBA 3×3 Youth World Championships. She averaged 32.6 points, 12.0 rebounds, 3.9 steals and 3.6 assists per game as a sophomore for Owensboro Catholic. She’s ranked No. 6 in the Class of 2013 by Blue Star Basketball.
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 2012-13 campaign.
China Dow: Senior guard, Christian Academy (Louisville, Ky.)
Kyvin Goodin-Rogers: Senior forward, Marion County (Lebanon, Ky.)
Nora Kiesler: Sophomore center, Assumption (Louisville, Ky.)
Macy Morris: Sophomore forward, Bell County (Pineville, Ky.)
Morgan Turner: Sophomore guard, Meade County (Brandenburg, Ky.)