The race for MaxPreps National Player of the Year honors is shaping up as a photo finish.
With most of the country deep into the 2012-13 schedule, a clear leader has yet to emerge and several preseason favorites have stumbled out of the blocks.
History favors statistically productive stars playing for nationally ranked teams.
With the exception of last year's winner, Kyle Anderson
of St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.)
, each POY since 2006 has averaged more than 20 points per game. All seven MaxPreps POYs have helped their team appear in the national rankings at some point in the season and three have gone undefeated.
The combined record of teams featuring a MaxPreps Player of the Year winner over the last seven years is 205-18. Needless to say, the margin for error to stay in the running is razor thin.
So who is at the front of the pack heading down the backstretch?Andrew Wiggins
of Huntington Prep (W.Va.)
is the nation's most spectacular player – there isn't much debate about that. The top-ranked prospect in the Class of 2013 is averaging 22.2 points, 11.6 rebounds and more than two blocks, steals and assists per outing.Nigel Williams-Goss
is the best player for arguably the nation's best team in Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)
. The Washington-bound senior point guard was the MVP of the 'Iolani Classic in Hawai'i and has helped navigate the Pilots to a 19-0 record.
Big man Jahlil Okafor
of Whitney Young (Chicago)
is posting 21.8 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots per game for the 11-1 Dolphins – ranked No. 4 in this week's Xcellent 25
. The 6-foot-10 junior put up 34 points in a dominant season-opening performance against storied DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.).Past MaxPreps National Players of the Year
2012 – Kyle Anderson, St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.)
2011 – Austin Rivers, Winter Park (Fla.)
2010 – Harrison Barnes, Ames (Iowa)
2009 – Derrick Favors, South Atlanta (Ga.)
2008 – Brandon Jennings, Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)
2007 – Kevin Love, Lake Oswego (Ore.)
2006 – Greg Oden, Lawrence North (Indianapolis)Click through for a closer look at the Top 10 candidates for MaxPreps National Player of the Year