In the history of the American Family Insurance ALL-USA selections, few players have been chosen more than once to either the first, second or third team.
But only one, according to USA TODAY research, was named Player of the Year in his or her sport twice.
That player is Candace Parker, who was the ALL-USA Girls Basketball Player of the Year in 2002-03 and 2003-04 for Naperville (Ill.).
Parker added another chapter to her long list of basketball accolades on Thursday night when she won the WNBA Finals for the first time in her career and was named WNBA Finals Most Valuable Player. Parker led the Los Angeles Sparks with 28 points and 12 rebounds to a 77-76 victory in Game 5 against the Minnesota Lynx.
The championship — and Parker’s emotional response, dedicating the title to her former Tennessee coach Pat Summit — provides an opportunity to look back at just how dominant Parker was in high school in her two Player of the Year seasons.
Junior Year, 2002-03
She averaged 24.3 points, 14.2 rebounds, 4.8 assists and three assists, leading Naperville to the Class AA state title and was named Illinois’ Miss Basketball for the second time.
In her first three high school seasons, she posted a total of 2,175 points and 1,316 rebounds.
She discussed her future as part of a USA TODAY interview after being named Player of the Year:
Q: In 10 years I want to be where? Doing what?
A: “In graduate school either studying psychology or medicine. Of course, I’d be interested in the WNBA if I get the opportunity.”
Senior Year, 2003-04
She averaged 24.3 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.5 blocks and 3.3 steals, leading Naperville to its second consecutive Class AA state title, despite missing 11 games with a torn knee ligament. She also was named Illinois Miss Basketball for the first time.
She finished with 2,758 career points, helping Naperville to a 95-4 record in her final 99 games.
Asked what car she drove at the time by USA TODAY, she said a 1990 Ford Topaz.
Q: What vanity plate would you choose?
A: PLJ. “Means peace, love and jump shot. I that’s how I sign autographs.”