For a list of the other Gatorade State Girls Basketball POYs, click here
THE WINNER: Tyra Buss
School: Mount Carmel (Ill.)
Athletic achievement: She averaged 45.8 points, 6.7 steals, 5.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game this past season, leading the Aces (27-5) to the Class 2A sectional finals. The state’s returning Miss Basketball as named by the Chicago Tribune and Illinois Basketball Coaches Association, Buss shot 55.4 percent from the field, 39.1 percent from 3-point range and 81.6 percent from the free throw line. Her career point total of 4,897 surpassed the previous state record set by 2006-07 Gatorade Illinois Girls Basketball Player of the Year Brittany Johnson, and ranks second in U.S. prep history.
Academic excellence: Buss has maintained a 5.00 GPA on a 5.0 scale and ranks No. 1 in her graduating class.
Exemplary character: In addition to donating her time as a youth basketball instructor, referee and game-clock operator, she has volunteered locally on behalf of the Salvation Army and Kiwanis International. A member of her school’s student council, Buss has also tutored elementary school students.
“Tyra was without a doubt the most difficult player to prepare for as an opposing coach in my 33 years as a varsity coach,” said Charles Mair, head coach of rival Princeton. “I often in preparing to play Tyra hoped that she would miss the bus if coming to Princeton or get locked in the locker room if we played at Mt. Carmel. As a basketball player, she reminds me of a female ‘Pistol’ Pete Maravich. She is a magician with the basketball and has the ability to create shots that others do not even fathom existing.”
THE FUTURE: Buss has signed with Indiana.