High school boys basketball: MVPs were playmakers for championship teams
Sky View didn’t utilize the press until the final game of the regular season, but the press awoke the sleeping giant.
“He was more active, he was aggressive on defense, and he almost looked forward to that. It was fun to see him lead that,” said Hillyard.
As great as the two-year starter was for Sky View, he’ll forever be remembered for the shot — the half-court overtime buzzer beater in the semifinals against Bountiful.
“He let it fly and put Sky View and Utah basketball on the map. Couldn’t happen to a better kid. He’s a humble kid, and he’s just as happy for his teammates to succeed,” said Hillyard.
Jake Miles, Morgan
Last season, Morgan leading scorer Jake Miles rolled into the state tournament hoping to make a name for himself. Instead, the junior was bullied and knocked around by eventual state champion Hurricane. He scored just 11 points in that quarterfinal loss, well down from the 31 he’d scored the previous round of the playoffs.
Miles vowed to get tougher in the offseason, and the entire Morgan community is glad he did.
The physically and mentally tougher Miles did the dominating this season, finishing third in the state in scoring at 24.7 ppg and leading Morgan to its first state title in 40 years.
“Down against Hurricane, they shut him right down with the physical play and he was just trying to shoot jump shots. But this year, teams were physical with him and he went to the foul line a lot, and that was a great help to our team and made him a lot better player,” said Morgan coach Jim Wiscombe.
Miles averaged around 10 free-throw attempts per game and shot a scintillating 93 percent. Combined with a lethal jump shot — which led to 72 3-pointers — he was nearly impossible to guard.
Even in the state tournament when defenses were geared toward slowing Miles, he still scored his points. Along with leading 3A in scoring, he also averaged 3.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 3.3 steals.
Despite all of the success, Miles never became too full of himself.
“One thing that Jake did that was fantastic, at every football game Jake Miles was there cheering his heart out. At every girls basketball game, Jake Miles was right there cheering for his other schoolmates. He showed great leadership that way,” said Wiscombe.
Miles will leave for an LDS Church mission this summer, and hopes to play college basketball when he returns. Utah State has granted him walk-on status when he returns, but he may ultimately get more offers.
Cody John, Wasatch Academy
Just a sophomore, Cody John was the glue that held everything together for the Lone Peak of 2A.
Night after night, the shooting guard from Canada proved to be the most consistent player for the Tigers, who dominated this season, finishing with a 25-1 record and claiming the 2A state championship.
“At the end of the day, he’s one of those kids who has a knack for putting the ball in the basket, it’s not something you can teach. You’re either good at it or you’re not. As the returning leading scorer from last year, I put a lot of pressure on him and he accepted that,” said Wasatch Academy coach Geno Morgan.
John, who was a 2A first-teamer last year, led Wasatch Academy in scoring again this year at 15.2 ppg. He also added 2.5 rpg, 3.5 apg and 1.6 spg.
Morgan said the youngster is like a sponge and handles corrective criticism as well as any player he’s ever coached. It’s a big reason he made huge strides defensively this season.
John is a playmaker in the truest sense of the word. He can shoot the 3, he can beat defenders off the dribble and he’s good at the free-throw line.