Chiney Ogwumike is the Gatorade National POY!

Superstar high school senior Chiney Ogwumike of Cy-Fair High in Houston, TX, the younger sister of Stanford's sensational sophomore (#30) Nnemkadi Ogwumike, has just been named the Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year. Ummm, that is Candace Parker/Lisa Leslie/Nneka-level stuff here, people! Read on for the story! An terrific interview with sister Nneka is forthcoming!

Break Out The "Chiney Chomp" for the National POY!

Fans of Stanford Women's hoops may have to come up with a custom move to honor a very special young student-athlete who will be making her way west this summer to "quench our thirst" for top-tier hoops talent. A fresh spin on Florida's famed "Gator Chomp" might just be in order.

It may not come as a complete surprise, given the fact that she is considered the nation's top high school recruit, but it is nevertheless quite impressive that superstar senior Chiney Ogwumike of Cy-Fair High School in Houston, TX, the younger sister of Stanford's sensational sophomore (#30) Nnemkadi Ogwumike, has been named the "Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year"Ummm, that is Candace Parker/Lisa Leslie/Nneka-level stuff here, people! Chiney averaged an impressive 23 & 14 for the 2009-10 season. Interestingly, the selection process for Gatorade State and National Players of the Year is administered by ESPN RISE, the multimedia high school division of ESPN, in partnership with The Gatorade Company. Chiney beat out an impressive list of finalists that included Duke-bound Gatorade California State Player of the Year Chelsea Gray, a one-time Stanford prospect.

This former youth gymnast is on a big-time roll! In the 2010 Texas 5A state championship tournament final three weeks ago, Chiney went for 31 & 18 and was named the MVP. What is scary is that she could have had more. The Lady Bobcats were up big very early. And that wasn't even her best performance of the tournament In the semi-final she went for 24 points and a Rodman-like state-record 25 rebounds! She also took home the 2010 Morgan Wootten (National) Player of the Year Award. As Arrested Development's G.O.B. would say "C'MON!"

According to Stanford Media Relations: Chiney has also starred on both the club and international scene. Ogwumike plays her club ball for Cy-Fair Shock 90, and on the international scene was a member of the 2008 USA Women's U18 National Team Trials roster leading into the 2008 FIBA U18 Americas Championship. She was also a standout on the Cy-Fair volleyball team, helping lead the Bobcats to the state tournament in 2007, and as a junior leading the squad to a co-district title in 2008.

Under Coach Tara VanDerveer, phenomenal talent has been a frequent luxury for the Cardinal program. The Stanford Women have had their share of "collegiate" National Players of the Year. Jennifer Azzi was the Wade trophy-winner in 1990, Kate Starbird was the POY in 1997 and had been the Gatorade State Player of the Year in Washington as a high school senior). Stanford also became the college of choice for several finalists including Jayne Appel (Gatorade State POY in CA in 2005-06), Nicole Powell (Gatorade State Player of the Year in Arizona in 1999-2000), Kristin Folkl (three-time Gatorade State Player of the Year in Missouri from 1991-1994), and Val Whiting (Gatorade State Player of the Year in Delaware back in 1988-89). There must be others, but there simply isn't time for in-depth research at the moment!

We do know that Martha Richards (Enthoven), who by the way is now a Buck/Cardinal Club director, was named the "Women's Basketball News Service High School Player of the Year" in 1987-88.

It has been one amazing year for the Ogwumike family. Hats off to parents Peter and Ify Ogwumike, athletic immigrants from Nigeria, for raising some serious student-athlete studettes! "Nneka", a 6-2 forward for the Cardinal (and a 2008 graduate of Cy-Fair), was recently named the "Pac-10 Player of the Year" in just her second season and is a viable Wade Trophy finalist along with ab-fab teammate Appel. It was a lot for Chiney to try and emulate! As a senior in high school, Nneka was selected the Gatorade Circle of Champions National Player of the Year, the Parade Co-Player of the Year, the MaxPreps Athlete of the Year, Miss Basketball Texas, and as a McDonald's All-American. She was also named MVP of the 2008 Texas 5A state championships, teaming with Chiney to help the Lady Bobcats win the title.

Nneka logged on to Skype this afternoon to surprise her sister with the great news during a previously top-secret assembly at Cy-Fair, a school which was once referred to as "Harris County's Little A&M" The Cy-Fair athletic motto, "Bobcat Fight Never Dies!", sounds suspiciously like something Joe Kapp would come up with, but I guess we can let it slide. 

We know Chiney has the requisite athletic talent, that is without question. - all you have to do is spend three minutes on YouTube to know that this gal can ball with the best of them! However, If Chiney possesses one-third of the charm and intelligence Nneka has demonstrated during her first two years at Stanford, she will be a most welcome addition to the Stanford community!

We don't want to get ahead of ourselves, but there is a very reasonable chance that the Ogwumike sisters could become one of the most accomplished sibling duos, if not the greatest "Sister Act" in the history of women's college basketball. And don't look now, but there are two younger sisters, eighth-grader Chisom aka "Olivia" and seventh-grader Ernima aka "Erica", who both play basketball and who we are willing to bet the Farm have some serious "game". Funny, we didn't think we could be any more excited about Chiney's pending arrival on the Farm next fall, but "Holy Gatorade"....we admit we are!

Gatorade is celebrating the 25th Anniversary of its outstanding award program. Here is the link to cast your vote for the "All-Time Greatest Girls Basketball Player of the Year": http://playeroftheyear.gatorade.com/25th/vote/  Apparently, one can vote once per sport, per day for your favorite all-time athlete. Be sure to check back often and make sure your favorites win! To keep up to date on the latest happenings, become a fan of "Gatorade Player of the Year" on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. 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 http://playeroftheyear.gatorade.com .

Further Background on the Gatorade Player of the Year Awards 

In 1985, The Gatorade Company established an award honoring America's elite high school student-athletes. Now in its third decade, the Gatorade Player of the Year award has become one of the most prestigious accolades in high school sports. The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one award-winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school boys football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls basketball, boys baseball, girls softball and boys and girls track & field. The selection process for Gatorade State and National Players of the Year is administered by ESPN RISE, the multimedia high school division of ESPN, in partnership with The Gatorade Company. All final selection decisions are the result of a collaborative effort between ESPN RISE and The Gatorade Company.

Amongst Gatorade Player of the Year award alumni, fans will discover names like Peyton Manning, Candace Parker, Alonzo Mourning and Lisa Leslie. These champions represent only a handful of exceptional talents who were first recognized by the Gatorade Player of the Year program before shining at the highest levels of competition. Over the past 24 years, more than 10,500 state and 200 national Players of the Year have been honored for their athletic excellence, academic achievement and exemplary character.

The Gatorade company is proud to recognize, celebrate and support the nation's most outstanding high school talents throughout their journey to greatness both on and off the field.


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