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 Danberry as Arkansas’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, Danberry 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 5-foot-7 junior guard led the Wampus Cats to a 25-5 record and a berth in the Class 7A championship game against Northside, scheduled for March 13. Through 30 games, Danberry averaged 12.3 points, 6.7 assists, 6.4 rebounds and 2.7 steals. An All-Conference selection and a member of the Arkansas All-Sophomore team in 2013, she is rated as the nation’s No. 52 recruit in the Class of 2015 by ESPN.
Danberry has maintained a 3.39 GPA in the classroom. She has volunteered locally on behalf of children with special needs and as part of an elementary school literacy-outreach initiative.
“Danberry does so much for that team,” said Steve Wiedower, head coach at Russellville High. “She’s a true point guard who can also be a stopper on the defensive end. She can get to the basket whenever she wants and she does a great job of distributing to other players.”
Danberry 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.
Danberry joins recent Gatorade Arkansas Girls Basketball Players of the Year Tyler Scaife (2012-13 & 2011-12, Hall High School), Calli Berna (2010-11, Fayetteville High School), Morgan Hook (2009-10 & 2008-09, Rogers), Shekinna Stricklen (2007-08, Morrilton), and Whitney Zachariason (2006–07, Central Arkansas Christian) among the state’s list of former award winners.
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Click here for more on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, and a complete list of past winners and the announcement of the Gatorade National Player of the Year.
Click here to read an article about Danberry that was featured in 501 Life Magazine last month
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