Gonzaga forward Corey Kispert (24) looks to drive past Pacific forward Jeremiah Bailey (left) during the first half of a game Feb. 4, 2021, in Stockton, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
A trio of former Snohomish County high school basketball stars have excelled in the West Coast Conference this season.
And on Tuesday, those three local products were honored by the league.
Gonzaga University senior Corey Kispert, an Edmonds native and former King’s High School standout, was named the WCC men’s basketball player of the year.
On the women’s side, Brigham Young University senior Paisley Johnson Harding and University of San Diego senior Jordyn Edwards were among the league’s 10 first-team all-conference selections. Johnson Harding starred for Glacier Peak High School and Edwards for Lynnwood High School.
Here’s a glance at what each player has accomplished this season:
Corey Kispert, sr., Gonzaga (King’s)
The accolades keep pouring in for Kispert, who is among the leading contenders for national player of the year honors.
The Edmonds native has averaged 19.5 points and 4.9 rebounds per game for top-ranked Gonzaga while leading the star-studded Bulldogs to a perfect 24-0 regular season. For the second consecutive year, he’s been named one of five finalists for the Julius Erving Award, which is given to the nation’s top small forward.
Kispert has shot a scorching 46.3% from 3-point range this season, which ranks fourth in Division I. He’s also shooting 55.6% from the field and 88.9% from the free-throw line. He ranks No. 11 in Division I with a 67.1 effective field-goal percentage — a measure of field-goal percentage that accounts for 3-pointers being worth more than 2-pointers.
Kispert poured in a career-high 32 points in a Dec. 26 rout of then-No. 16 Virginia, leading the Bulldogs to a 98-point output against the Cavaliers’ trademark defense. He drained 9 of 13 shots from beyond the arc in that contest, which tied the Gonzaga program record for made 3-pointers in a game.
Kispert has 11 games with at least 20 points this season and has netted double-digit points in all but one contest.
Kispert, a three-year starter at Gonzaga, has a 119-10 career record in games he’s played in. That’s the highest win percentage of any Division I men’s basketball player over the last 25 years, among players with at least 100 games played.
As a prep standout at King’s, Kispert led the Knights to back-to-back Class 1A state titles in his sophomore and junior seasons before missing the latter part of his senior season with an injury.
BYU guard Paisley Johnson Harding (left) averaged 13.7 points and 3.4 assist per game this season. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Paisley Johnson Harding, sr., BYU (Glacier Peak)
Johnson Harding earned first-team All-WCC honors for the second consecutive season. The former Glacier Peak standout has averaged 13.7 points, 3.4 assists and 2.2 rebounds per game, helping lead BYU to a 17-4 record.
Johnson Harding, formerly Paisley Johnson, has scored at least 20 points three times this season, including a 28-point performance in a Feb. 13 win over Saint Mary’s. The senior guard and three-year starter also made 5 of 10 shots from beyond the arc during a 20-point performance in a Feb. 9 win over Pepperdine.
One of Johnson Harding’s biggest moments this year came late in BYU’s upset of then-No. 21 Gonzaga on Feb. 18. With the Cougars nursing a one-point lead in the final 15 seconds, she made a clutch layup and sank two free throws to help seal the victory.
BYU enters the WCC tournament as the No. 2 seed and has a triple-bye into next Monday’s semifinal round. The Cougars are squarely on the NCAA tournament bubble, as ESPN’s most recent bracket projection Tuesday listed BYU as the “first team out” of the 64-team field.
Johnson Harding helped lead Glacier Peak to the 4A state title game as a senior in 2017.
San Diego’s Jordyn Edwards (23) averaged 10.4 points and 3.2 steals per game this season. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Jordyn Edwards, sr., San Diego (Lynnwood)
Edwards received first-team All-WCC honors after averaging 10.4 points, 3.9 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 3.2 steals per game this season. She ranks ninth in Division I in steals per game.
The senior guard posted a season-high 21 points, six assists and two steals in a Feb. 11 win over Saint Mary’s. She shot 5 of 7 from 3-point range in that contest.
Edwards helped lead San Diego to a 12-7 record. The Toreros would’ve been the No. 4 seed in the WCC tournament, based on the conference’s adjusted win percentage standings. However, San Diego announced on Feb. 25 that its program was going on pause due to a positive COVID-19 test. As a result, the Toreros’ final two regular-season games were canceled and they won’t compete in the conference tournament.
Edwards helped Lynnwood capture the 3A state title as a junior in 2015. She began her college career at Colorado State University before transferring to San Diego following the 2017-18 season. She sat out the ensuing season because of NCAA transfer rules and then earned second-team All-WCC honors in her return to game action last season.