The four players selected as the 1989 Deseret News girls prep basketball MVPs should be no surprise - Taylorsville's Natalie Williams, Bear River's Wendy Wood, Hurricane's Brooke Haines, and Valley's Ann Esplin are all multi-year starters who stood out in individual play while aiding their respective teams to state titles.
They headline the 1989 Deseret News all-state teams (see facing page), selected on tabulated ballots submitted by the state's coaches. The four first and second teams comprise 48 honorees _ the top vote-getters of nearly 400 girl hoopsters who received votes.While the ballots have been tabulated and the teams completed for several weeks, announcement of the all-state selections has been delayed so that all player photos could be collected.
Certainly not a newcomer to postseason honors, Williams is a multiple-year, multiple-sport MVP in volleyball and basketball, as well as the state's 4A record-holder in the long jump. This basketball season alone, she has earned All-America honors from Scholastic Coach and Parade magazines while being a regional winner and national finalist in several other countrywide top-player competitions. And add to that being featured in a New York Times story.
Despite facing double- and triple-team defenses and plenty of zones, the three-year starter finished with per-game averages of 29.3 points, 17 rebounds and a half-dozen blocks _ plus being the second-best team leader in assists.
You'll remember that Williams spurned across-the-country basketball recruiting offers and a chance to earn a spot on the U.S. Volleyball Team to sign a national letter-of-intent to play volleyball at UCLA. And now, according to Taylorsville basketball Coach John Lambourne, the 6-3 Williams is mulling playing both sports at UCLA starting her sophomore season.
"I'd kinda like to see her play and see what she can do," says Lambourne. "If she got into a situation where she could play with four other good players, there's unlimited potential to what she might do."
A 5-foot-10 senior guard-forward, Wood averaged 22-plus points and 10 boards en route to a school-record 1,045 points as a three-year starter. And that included 101 points in the 3A tournament this year _ despite being temporarily KO'd in the championship-game victory over Timpview.
"She's such an unselfish player," says Coach Farrell Williams Wood and her impact on the 20-3 Bear River team. "She can take it to the glass or she'll dish it off. That's what made our team so great. And there's something different than a lot of girls _ she has the ability to get the offensive rebound and put it right back in."
Wood has drawn the interest of the University of Utah, Weber State and other four-year major-college programs, but a need to enhance her academic standing will probably have her start at the junior-college level, with programs like Dixie College and the College of Southern Idaho among many grateful JCs waiting with open arms.
Haines' per-game averages _ 12 points, eight rebounds, three blocks and four steals _ not only show all-around talents but also suggest the overall balance of her two-time titlist Lady Tiger team.
"She can really dominate _ most big girls don't have the speed she has, and she can really jump," says Hurricane Coach Tom Hughes of his team's sole senior starter, a 5-foot-10 two-year starter who has received attention from the likes of SUSC as well as Snow and Dixie colleges.
Esplin, already a two-year starter even though just a sophomore, spearheaded the youthful Valley attack with some pretty impressive individual numbers _ 17.5 points, eight assists, six steals. "I've never seen anybody who is as fundamentally sound as Ann," says Valley Coach Ferril Heaton, who adds a "very unselfish" tag for Esplin because of her assist totals and the fact that she wasn't set on improving on her 18.5-points-per-game scoring average as a freshman.