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: Kailee Johnson
School: Central Catholic (Portland, Ore.)
Sport: Girls Basketball
Athletic Production: The 6-foot-3 Johnson totaled 40 points and 15 boards in a pair of blowout victories in the first two rounds of the Class 6A state tournament last week.
The McDonald’s All-American is averaging 18.5 points, 10.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 3.5 steals and 1.8 blocked shots per game for the Rams (23-3), who play Westview (Portland, Ore) in the Class 6A state quarterfinals on Thursday.
Johnson has knocked down 65.6 percent of her shots (160-of-244) and recorded 16 double-doubles.
Academic Achievement: She has maintained an A average in the classroom and is headed to Stanford on an athletic scholarship.
Exemplary Character: She has volunteered locally as a coach and mentor with the Special Olympics.