Each season, Gatorade recognizes one student-athlete from each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., who embodies its Player of the Year program’s three pillars: athletic production, academic achievement and exemplary character.
Each week during its Gatorade State Player of the Year selection process, USA TODAY surfaces one candidate who meets those criteria and deserves recognition as a serious Gatorade State Player of the Year contender.
Name: Haley Smith
School: Skyline (Sammamish, Wash.)
Sport: Girls basketball
Athletic Production: After a knee injury limited her to just 14 games as a junior, Smith captured KingCo Conference Player of the Year honors as a senior this season. She has averaged 12.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.2 steals, 1.8 assists and 1.3 blocks per game for the Spartans (19-5) entering the Class 4A regional finals. Smith has committed to play basketball at the University of Colorado.
Academic Achievement: A member of the National Honor Society and National Merit Award semifinalist, she has maintained an A average.
Exemplary Character: In addition to donating her time as a youth basketball instructor, Smith has volunteered for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, Beaver Lake Triathlon, Issaquah Turkey Trot, Earthwatch Worldwide and Cherry Street Food Bank. She has also participated in the Seahawks Leadership Challenge and Bruce Bowen’s Proactive Coaching leadership conference.