Monacan's Megan Walker Named Gatorade Girls National POY

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Virginia Preps
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Matthew Hatfield (VirginiaPreps.com)

In its 32nd year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company announced Megan Walker of Monacan High School (North Chesterfield, Va.) as its 2016-17 Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year. Walker was surprised with the news by 2015 WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne.

"It was exciting for me to be able to surprise Megan with the Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year award, especially because she is such a deserving student-athlete," said Delle Donne. "Megan is a well-rounded individual who has already accomplished so much on and off the court, so it's an honor for me to welcome her into the prestigious Gatorade Player of the Year family, and I'm looking forward to following her career at UConn and beyond."

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court, distinguishes Walker as the nation's best high school girls basketball player. A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select Walker from nearly 429,000 high school girls basketball players nationwide. Walker is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year award, to be presented at a special ceremony prior to The ESPY Awards in July.

The 6-foot-1 senior guard led the Monacan High Chiefs to a 30-0 record and a third straight Group 4A state championship this past season. Walker – who is Virginia's returning Gatorade Player of the Year – averaged 25.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.2 steals, 1.2 assists per game and 1.1 blocks per game, and she capped off her year with 35 points, 11 rebounds, six blocks and five steals in a 60-59 win over King's Fork High in the state final.

A McDonald's High School All-American Game selection and a two-time Group 4A Player of the Year, Walker was a member of the USA Basketball Women's National Team that won the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Women's Championship. Rated as the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2017 by Blue Star Basketball Report, she concluded her prep basketball career with 2,062 points.

A member of the Monacan High Healthy Allies, a booster group that supports the school's Health and Physical Therapy Specialty Center, Walker has volunteered locally at a daycare center and as a youth basketball coach. She has also donated her time as part of multiple community-service initiatives through her church youth group and has maintained a 3.83 GPA in the classroom.

"Megan Walker possesses a college-ready frame and she can create for herself and others everywhere on the floor – off the dribble, around the rim and beyond the arc," says Chris Menning, National Evaluator for BlueStar Basketball. "Her hard work makes it all look effortless. She represents everything that Gatorade Player of the Year has always stood for – a high quality student-athlete both on and off the court – and she's very deserving of this honor."

Walker has signed a National Letter of Intent to compete in women's basketball on scholarship at the University of Connecticut this fall.

"Megan is an excellent student-athlete who has earned recognition as the nation's best high school girls basketball player while also excelling in the classroom and making a difference in her community," said Gatorade Senior Vice President and General Manager Brett O'Brien. "Megan's statistics on the court speak for themselves, but even more impressive is the example she sets for younger student-athletes and impact she has had on her teammates. Megan represents everything we look to celebrate in a Gatorade Player of the Year recipient."

As a part of Gatorade's cause marketing platform "Play it Forward," Walker also has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of her choosing. She is also eligible to win one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants for her organization of choice, which will be announced throughout the year.

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport.

The selection process is administered by the Gatorade high school sports leadership team in partnership with the Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.


Former notable Gatorade National Players of the Year include:

* Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Peyton Manning
* 2015 NBA first overall pick Karl-Anthony Towns
* Three-time WNBA champion Maya Moore
* Four-time track & field gold medalist Allyson Felix
* Three-time beach volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh
* Three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw




For more information on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of former winners, and future announcement dates, visit the Gatorade Player of the Year Web site at http://www.gatorade.com/poy, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GatoradePOY or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Gatorade.


ALL-TIME GATORADE NATIONAL GIRLS BASKETBALL PLAYERS OF THE YEAR

YEAR

NAME

HIGH SCHOOL

STATUS

2016-17

Megan Walker

Monacan, North Chesterfield, VA

High School Senior

2015-16

Erin Boley

Elizabethtown, Elizabethtown, KY

Notre Dame

2014-15

Katie Lou Samuelson

Mater Dei, Santa Ana, CA

University of Connecticut

2013-14

Brianna Turner

Manvel, Manvel, TX

Notre Dame

2012-13

Mercedes Russell

Springfield, Springfield, OR

University of Tennessee

2011-12

Breanna Stewart

Cicero-North Syracuse, Cicero, NY

Seattle Storm

2010-11

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis

Mater Dei, Santa Ana, CA

Seattle Storm

2009-10

Chiney Ogwumike

Cy-Fair, Cypress, TX

Connecticut Sun

2008-09

Skylar Diggins

Washington, South Bend, IN

Dallas Wings

2007-08

Nneka Ogwumike

Cy-Fair, Cypress, TX

Los Angeles Sparks

2006-07

Maya Moore

Collins Hill, Suwanee, GA

Minnesota Lynx

2005-06

Tina Charles

Christ the King, Middle Village, NY

New York Liberty

2004-05

Abby Waner

ThunderRidge HS, Highlands Ranch, CO

Retired from WNBA

2003-04

Candace Parker

Naperville Central HS, Naperville, IL

Los Angeles Sparks

2002-03

Candace Parker

Naperville Central HS, Naperville, IL

Los Angeles Sparks

2001-02

Ann Strother

Highlands Ranch, Denver, CO

Retired from WNBA

2000-01

Shyra Ely

Ben Davis, Indianapolis, IN

WNBA Free Agent

1999-00

Shereka Wright

Copperas Cove, Copperas Cove, TX

Univ. of Alabama Staff

1998-99

Nicole Kaczmarski

Sachem North, Lake Ronkonkoma, NY

Retired from WNBA

1997-98

Tamika Williams

Chaminade-Julienne, Dayton, OH

Univ. of Kentucky Staff

1996-97

Nikki Teasley

St. John's at Prospect Hall, Frederick, MD

Retired from WNBA

1995-96

Jaime Walz

Highlands, Ft. Thomas, KY

Highlands (Ky.) H.S. Coach

1994-95

Stephanie White

Seeger, West Lebanon, IN

Vanderbilt Univ. Coach

1993-94

Monick Foote

Samford, Wilmington, DE

Retired Pro

1992-93

La'Keshia Frett

Phoebus, Hampton, VA

Univ. of Virginia Coach Staff

1991-92

Katie Smith

Logan, Logan, OH

Retired from WNBA

1990-91

Michelle Marciniak

Central Catholic, Allentown, PA

Retired from WNBA

1989-90

Lisa Leslie

Morningside, Inglewood, CA

Retired from WNBA

1988-89

Lisa Harrison

Southern, Louisville, KY

Retired from WNBA

1987-88

Vicki Hall

Brebeuf Prep, Indianapolis, IN

Univ. of Toledo Coach Staff

1986-87

Kris Durham

Union Catholic, Scotch Plains, NJ

Seton Hall Univ. Grad

1985-86

Susan Anderson

Mt. Baker, Deming, WA

Univ. of Texas Grad

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