Prep2Prep 2019-20 CCS Boys Basketball Honors
Half Moon Bay's Mykola Ediger is the CCS Junior of the Year.

CCS Junior of the Year

Building a basketball team in a community like Half Moon Bay comes with a unique set of advantages and disadvantages.

On one hand, with a community that doesn’t have many private schools nearby, most of the local kids who played together since their early days of elementary school will stay put. On the other, having a small and insular community means it’s not like a new kid shows up from a nearby town or school. The players who were there in third grade are still going to be there in high school, so unless someone undergoes a major growth spurt, there typically isn’t too much transformation from year to year.

That looked like a major problem for a Cougars team that had solid talent but lacked a standout leader or a single player who had the ability to take over a game with four returning junior starters, but none who had taken charge as sophomores, and it showed on the court during an early-season skid.

Not only did Mykola Ediger assume that role, he did so while simultaneously being the most talented player on the floor, all part of a remarkable season that earned him the distinction of being named Prep2Prep’s CCS Junior of the Year.

““Mykola is a special player that does everything for us. He can score from the outside, mid-range, post, etc., but that’s only a fraction of what he can do,” head coach John Parsons said. “He can literally play any position on the floor for us on offense or defense. He has vision and a feel for the game that you can’t teach, and he makes the game easier for all of his teammates.”

With averages of 17.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 2.8 steals and a block per game, Ediger truly played every possible role, both tangible and intangible, on a Cougars team that needed someone to step up.

“We haven’t had a lot of big senior leadership figures with the exception of Sorie Syme last year,” Parsons said. “(Mykola) had to make a concentrated effort to learn a lot of those important qualities on the fly, which isn’t always easy to do.”

From the start of the year, Ediger was exceptional on the court, including a 30-point, 11-rebound performance against a Hillsdale team that had beaten Half Moon Bay a week earlier, but the Cougars struggled through much of the first month without a vocal leader. Sure, they had four talented juniors, but none of them had the personality to step up as a vocal leader until Parsons challenged his star.

“During our early season funk, I challenged him a bit more to dominate every single drill in practice, and after he started doing that our practices became more competitive and that started to translate to games,” the third-year head coach said.

The results were almost immediate. HMB won the Aptos/Santa Cruz Warriors NorCal Invitational and swept through the PAL North with ease, losing just two non-league games to eventual NorCal semifinalist University and CCS Open qualifier Sacred Heart Prep.

“He had to make a concentrated effort to learn a lot of those important qualities on the fly, which isn’t always easy to do,” Parsons commented. “By nature, he leads by example, but he slowly started to use his voice more, which really helped us as a team.”

Those efforts came while also taking on a challenging role on the floor, often tasked with guarding a much taller opponent. Standing at just 6-foot-2, Ediger wouldn’t be asked to handle post players for most teams, but on a roster with a rotation that almost exclusively consisted of guards, he was asked to do it all on both offense and defense.

“He has long arms, but more than anything, he’s tough and scrappy,” Parsons said. “We work on rebounding every day, and because of that and his mindset we rarely got beat on the boards. His competitiveness really helps us out. I don’t think we have ever intimidated a team in warmup lines or anything like that, but Mykola hates to lose and loves playing against top competition.”

Not only does Ediger hate to lose, he’s got a good sense of when he needs to play better. After dealing with a pesky Westmoor team for all four quarters when the two teams first met, he dominated the second meeting, a 69-45 rout, with 27 points and nine assists.

“My teammates and I realized how important having a leader was,” he said. “Even now, I’m trying to step into that role by setting an example on how hard to work during this unique situation.”

In addition to becoming a more vocal leader as a junior, he also let his play do the talking, not only as a scorer and passer but also with the highlight-reel dunks and blocks. He turned a 74-41 blowout win over an extremely athletic El Camino team into his own personal mixtape, getting personally acquainted with the rim throughout the night before retiring to the bench with the game nearly reaching running clock territory.

Even with AAU events being cancelled due to continued fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, it’s clear that Ediger’s done more than enough to merit attention from Division I coaches, who will be more than impressed if they check out his game film from his junior season. No matter what school those coaches come from, academic qualifications shouldn’t be an issue. Mykola and his twin brother Sean each carry 4.6 GPAs.

“It’s obviously a lot harder to get seen with no AAU or recruiting camps, but the team I’m playing for, Team Arsenal, is actively contacting coaches, so there’s still some recruiting going on,” Ediger remarked. “I think college coaches should know that some of us are working really hard on our own to get better for when we’re allowed to play games again.”

For his efforts this past season, we are pleased to recognize Mykola Ediger as the Prep2Prep Central Coast Section Junior of the Year.

Other players considered for this award include Carmel’s J.T. Byrne, Mitty’s Mikey Mitchell, Sequoia’s Kiahn Nice-Whiteside, Eastside’s Raymond Reece, Menlo-Atherton’s Skyler Thomas and Piedmont Hills’ Alijah Washington.

NOTE: We would like to thank our media partners, coaches, parents, players and fans for contributing photos for our all-section features. We salute all of the players that have made this a wonderful season of CCS basketball.