In its 29th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Kalani Brown of Salmen High School as its 2013-14 Gatorade Louisiana Girls Basketball Player of the Year. Brown is the first Gatorade Louisiana Girls Basketball Player of the Year to be chosen from Salmen High School.
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 Brown as Louisiana’s best high school girls basketball player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year award announced in March, Brown joins an elite alumni association of past state girls basketball award-winners, including Candace Parker (2001-02, Naperville Central HS, Ill.), Diana Taurasi (1998-99 & 1999-00, Don Antonio Lugo HS, Calif.), Maya Moore (2005-06 Collins Hill HS, Ga.), Rashanda McCants (2004-05, Asheville HS, N.C.), Shyra Ely (1999-00, Ben Davis HS, Ind.) and Lisa Leslie (1988-89, Morningside HS, Calif.)
The 6-foot-5 junior center led the Spartans to a 33-1 record and a second straight Class 4A state championship this past season. Brown averaged 20.4 points, 13.0 rebounds, 4.9 blocks and 1.5 steals. The 2013 Class 4A Player of the Year and the 2014 Class 4A state tournament MVP, Brown was a member of the gold-medal winning United States team at the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championships for Women. The daughter of former NBA player P.J. Brown, she is ranked as the nation’s No. 16 recruit in the Class of 2015 by Blue Star Basketball.
Brown has maintained a B average in the classroom. The Salmen High junior class president, she has volunteered locally with the Special Olympics and has donated her time to both Feed the Children and NBA Cares.
“Kalani Brown can do more than score,” said Nancy Walsh, head coach of Cabrini High. “She can rebound, block shots and is a completely unselfish passer. Plus, she has pushed herself this year to become a dominant post player, not just a 6-5 kid.”
Brown will begin her senior year of high school this fall.
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 USA TODAY High School Sports, 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.
Brown joins recent Gatorade Louisiana Girls Basketball Players of the Year Kaitlyn Pratt (2012-13, McDonogh 35 College Preparatory High School), Kuaneshia Baker (2011-12, Helen Cox High School), Brandi Jeffery (2010-11, St. James High School), Theresa Plaisance (2009-10 & 2008-09, Vandebilt Catholic), Kristi Bellock (2007-08, John Curtis Christian School), and Adrienne Johnson (2006–07, Franklin) among the state’s list of former award winners.
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