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Gatorade National POY Watch: Napheesa Collier

Uconn Huskies signee Napheesa Collier from Incarnate Word Academy (Mo.) /  Photo Credit: Incarnate Word Academy

UConn Huskies signee Napheesa Collier from Incarnate Word Academy (Mo.) / Photo: Incarnate Word Academy

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 Girls Basketball Player of the Year consideration. Here’s the scoop on the latest top candidate.

Napheesa Collier
Senior guard/forward, Incarnate Word Academy (St. Louis, Mo.)

Greatness Present: Collier and Maya Moore share the same hometown of Jefferson City, Mo. And like Moore, the 2006-07 Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year at Suwanee (Ga.) Collins Hill High, Collier is having one heck of a senior season.

Collier’s numbers this winter for Incarnate Word (21-2) are eerily similar to those Moore posted while leading the Eagles to Georgia’s Class AAAAA state title in 2007. Collier has averaged 26.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.7 blocks, 3.6 steals and 2.1 assists for the Red Knights, who have won 20 straight games since losing twice to teams from Arkansas in a season-opening tournament. By comparison, Moore collected 25.5 points, 12.1 rebounds, 4.3 steals, four assists and two blocks per game as a prep senior.

Collier continued her season-long dominance during a pair of easy wins over the weekend for IWA. The 6-foot-1 wing totaled 41 points on 17-of-18 shooting from the field (94.4 percent!) as Incarnate Word easily beat a pair of Kansas City schools—Notre Dame de Sion and St. Theresa’s—by a combined 76 points. For the season, the McDonald’s All-American has knocked down 72.6 percent of her shots from the floor (236-of-325) and 80.4 percent of her free throws (127-of-158).

Greatness Past: After playing for Jefferson City High as a freshman, Collier captured 2012-13 Gatorade Missouri Girls Basketball Player of the Year honors as an IWA sophomore and has led the Red Knights to back-to-back Class 4 state titles. Entering the final three games of the regular season, Collier has totaled 2,595 points and 1,225 rebounds in her prep basketball career.

Greatness Future: Ranked as the No. 7 recruit in the Class of 2015 by ESPN, Collier is following Moore’s footsteps once again and heading to the University of Connecticut in the fall.

Make no mistake: The Gatorade State Girls 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.

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