ATLANTA (March 14, 2017) – Megan Walker (pictured with ball), the nation’s top high school girls’ basketball commitment, was named winner of the 2017 Naismith Trophy, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today.
Walker, a senior from Monacan (Va.) High School and a UConn commitment, becomes the 6th Naismith Trophy winner to play for legendary coach Geno Auriemma, following Diana Taurasi (2000), Maya Moore (2007), Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (2011), Breanna Stewart (2012) and Katie Lou Samuelson (2015).
The 6-1 shooting guard led the Chiefs to a third consecutive Group 4A state title and a perfect season (30-0). In the championship game, she scored 35 points, including her team’s final 16 and the gamewinner with 15 seconds left. She also hauled down 11 rebounds and added six blocks and five steals in her final game at Monacan.
Walker, who recently eclipsed the 2,000-point total, averaged 25.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game during her senior campaign.
“Megan is so deserving of this award. She holds herself to a maturity level of people many years her senior. She is humble yet confident, and is always helping everyone on the team improve,” said Larry Starr, Monacan High School Head Girls’ Basketball Coach. “Megan is a great teammate, leader, and person and will represent the Naismith Trophy with dignity and class.”
“In 30 years of this award we have had the privilege of recognizing not only the most talented individual high school basketball players, but those who elevate the game of their teammates to achieve greater successes. Megan exemplifies that quality, which was recognized by our voters,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “We enthusiastically welcome her to our family of Naismith Trophy winners.”
The award is determined by a select group of basketball journalists from around the country who form the Naismith Trophy national high school voting academy. The selections were based on outstanding player performances during the 2016-2017 high school basketball season.
First presented in 1987, the Naismith High School Player of the Year award has honored many notable winners, including Lisa Leslie (1990, Morningside High School, Inglewood, California), Chamique Holdsclaw (1995, Christ the King, Middle Village, N.Y.), Candace Parker (2003, Naperville Central, Naperville, Illinois) and Maya Moore (2006 & 2007, Collins Hill High School, Suwanee, Georgia).
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Founded during the 1956-57 season, the Atlanta Tipoff Club is committed to promoting the game of basketball and recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of those who make the game so exciting. The Atlanta Tipoff Club administers the Naismith Awards, which have become the most prestigious national honors in all of college basketball. Named in honor of Dr. James Naismith, inventor of the game
of basketball, the Naismith Trophy recognizes the top Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Players of the Year. Other Naismith Awards are presented to the Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Coaches of the Year, Boy’s and Girl’s high school basketball players and coaches of the year, basketball officials and overall contributors to the game. The Naismith Trophy was first presented to UCLA’s Lew Alcindor (later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) in 1969. Old Dominion’s Anne Donovan won the inaugural Women’s Naismith Trophy in 1983.