High school boys basketball: Deseret News MVPs were versatile stars
“He can shoot the ball, he can handle the ball, but what was good this year was his length, he’s a long kid for his size so he got in passing lanes and got rebounds for us,” said Wiscombe.
Cody John, Wasatch Academy
For a team that won 26 basketball games this season with a 33-point average margin of victory, there wasn’t really one indispensable player for Wasatch Academy.
Junior Cody John, however, was the player who undeniably held it all together.
“When he’s on the floor, I’m comfortable. He settles me down, he settles the team down,” said Wasatch Academy coach Geno Morgan.
And when John was on his game, a team that was already unbeatable became even more dominant. John finished the season averaging 18.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 3.7 steals.
All four statistical categories improved from his sophomore season when he was also named the Deseret News 2A MVP after averaging 15.2 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.6 steals.
“At the beginning of the year he was really consistent, you could tell that he was taking his game to another level. He was shooting better, he was being more aggressive,” said Morgan. “The thing with Cody, he’s a nice kid and I’m trying to get him to play more angry.”
John was actually at his best, and flashed some of that mean streak, when Wasatch Academy played in out-of-state tournaments this year.
When the Tigers played 2A competition, the games were all blowouts, and John often took a backseat to his teammates, content to be a facilitator offensively and focus more defensively. Against tougher competition in 11 out-of-state tournament games, John averaged 22.0 points, including 32 in a 75-74 loss to Dillard, Fla., in the West Anchorage Tournament championship game, the Tigers’ lone loss of the season.
When necessary, Morgan said John can quickly morph into an elite scorer.
“His ability to put the ball in the basket is his biggest asset. I tell people all the time, he can just flat-out score. He can score in so many different ways; that’s what makes him valuable. And then when he starts being unselfish and kicking the ball out when you come over and help, he can be unguardable at the times,” said Morgan.
John is getting collegiate interest right now from Utah, Utah State and New Mexico State, and with Wasatch Academy expecting to face an even tougher tournament schedule next year, he’ll have even more opportunities to impress.
Tyce Barney, Panguitch
Over the past four years, Tyce Barney dominated 1A basketball unlike anyone perhaps ever. And even though his quest for the elusive state championship his senior season came up one basket short, what Barney accomplished won’t soon be forgotten.
After averaging 23.8 and leading Panguitch to a 24-2 record and a 1A runner-up finish, he finished his four-year career with a staggering 1,985 total points. That ranks him seventh in state history, just ahead of greats like Richfield’s Ryan Cuff, Lone Peak’s Nick Emery and Judge’s Jimmy Soto, and just behind Spanish Fork’s Robbie Reid.
Barney also averaged 8.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.6 steals.