For a list of the other Gatorade State Girls Basketball POYs, click here.
THE WINNER: A’ja Wilson
School: Heathwood Hall Episcopal School (Columbia, S.C.)
Athletic achievement: She led the Highlanders to a 23-4 record and the South Carolina Independent Schools Association Class AAA state championship this past season. The National Player of the Year as named by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Naismith Girls High School Player of the Year, Wilson averaged 34.4 points, 14.5 rebounds, 5.4 blocks, 3.2 steals and 2.3 assists per game. A McDonald’s High School All-American Game selection and also a WBCA All-American, she amassed 37 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocks in the 66-58, title-clinching overtime victory against Northwood Academy.
Academic excellence: Wilson has maintained a B average as an upperclassman and has served as a member of her school’s student government and honor council.
Exemplary character: In addition to donating her time as a youth basketball and volleyball instructor, she has volunteered locally on behalf of her church and as part of an elementary school after-school care program.
“She has improved her game from year to year,” said Roshan Myers, head coach of rival Hammond School. “She is by far the most dominating player my team has faced. Also, her national status has caused young aspiring basketball players to flock to her from all over the state. She responds to them with true sportsmanship, signing autographs, giving hugs and taking pictures. Through it all, she appears to remain humble. What an awesome young lady.”
THE FUTURE: Wilson remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.