From many, there will be one. And while there’s still no guarantee contending athletes will win their own state at this point in the season, a number of elite performers are making a case for Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year consideration. Here’s the scoop on the latest top candidate.
Senior guard, North Little Rock (Ark.)
Greatness Present: Malik Monk is the top-ranked shooting guard recruit in the Class of 2016, but fellow Arkansas product Kevaughn Allen wasn’t about to let him spoil his final high school game.
One of the top two-guards in the Class of 2015, Allen won the highly anticipated head-to-head showdown with Monk, capturing a third consecutive (with an asterisk) Class 7A state championship, 66-59.
Allen scored a game-high 28 points on 10-of-19 shooting, including 4-of-8 from 3-point range. The silky smooth, 6-foot-3 sharpshooter added five rebounds, two assists and two steals against just one turnover, earning title-game MVP honors for the second time in three years.
Meanwhile, Monk scored 25 points on 9-of-22 shooting (4-of-13 from beyond the arc) accompanied by nine rebounds and four turnovers.
North Little Rock trailed by two points at halftime and by four after three quarters, but outscored Bentonville 17-6 in the final frame, as Allen netted 10 points in the quarter to finish with 18 in the second half.
Allen concluded his prep career with his best statistical season, averaging 25.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 3.1 steals per game.
The asterisk on North Little Rock’s title run is last month’s self-reported violation for using an ineligible player, resulting in the forfeit of all the school’s football and basketball victories in 2013-14. As a result, NLR returned the 2014 state title trophy Allen helped win against Springdale. He also scored 28 points in what had been an 89-81 victory a year ago.
Saturday’s heroics should help erase that disappointment.
Greatness Past: The 2013-14 Gatorade Arkansas Boys Basketball Player of the Year, Allen also captured MVP honors in the state final as a sophomore, leading the Charging Wildcats over Fayetteville, 64-52, for what was then their first state championship since 1971.
Greatness Future: Allen has verbally committed to Florida.
Make no mistake: The Gatorade State Boys Basketball Player of the Year races aren’t over, and the National POY race is now heating up. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Check back for daily updates on the top contenders making their case.