Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: LSU commit Jordan Mickey could have helped but dynamic duo has Richardson Berkner rolling
RICHARDSON — “Here they are,” Richardson Berkner boys basketball coach Jason Petty said. “Batman and Robin.”
Kendal Yancy-Harris and Soma Edo smiled as they sat side-by-side in chairs in a meeting room. So … who’s Batman and who’s Robin?
Their roles aren’t that defined. But the seniors are unquestionably a dynamic duo for Berkner (24-5, 10-0 in District 9-5A), which is No. 8 in the Class 5A state rankings. Yancy-Harris, a 6-4 point guard who signed with USC, and Edo, a 6-5 forward and Fresno State signee, are each in their fourth varsity season.
They were part of a freshmen trio that included forward Jordan Mickey, who transferred to Arlington Grace Prep after his sophomore season and moved to Prime Prep for his senior year. The 6-7 forward, who signed with LSU, could’ve added strength inside for Berkner.
But what-ifs aren’t important to Yancy-Harris and Edo, whose basketball relationship dates to when they played together at Liberty Junior High.
“Kendal really started me playing organized basketball,” said Edo, a high-flying, inside-outside player who averages 16.9 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. “I worked with Kendal every day, and he brought up my basketball IQ.”
Yancy-Harris, who this year added his mother’s maiden name Yancy to his surname, can certainly teach some basketball lessons. He excels in the open floor and is a stat-sheet stuffer with averages of 12.5 points, 8.1 assists and 6.4 rebounds.
Yancy-Harris asked to be released from his letter of intent after USC fired coach Kevin O’Neill on Jan. 14, and he expects to get some kind of release. For now, he’s waiting — and enjoying his final high school season.
“The years have gone by super fast,” Yancy-Harris said.
Berkner has a roster filled with talented juniors including guards Keenan Evans (14 points per game) and Josh Francis (9.1), but Yancy-Harris and Edo are the only seniors. They said this season feels a lot different than the past three.
“It’s like a mentality where you’ve got to ball out every game and play your hardest,” Edo said. “It’s not like freshman year, when you can lose and be like, ‘I don’t care. I’ve got three more years.’”
Now they’ve got four more games, plus the playoffs. Berkner lost in the first round in 2010 and 2011, but the Rams went three rounds last season. To go farther this season, the seniors said, all the teammates must trust each other.
As for the longtime stars and friends, there’s plenty of trust.
“Last game,” Yancy-Harris said with a laugh, “I think we had a little bit too much trust.”
It came when the seniors were near the 3-point line with a defender between them and the basket. Yancy-Harris decided to throw the ball off the backboard and let Edo, who he calls a “freak of nature” in tribute to his above-the-rim ability, rise up and slam it. Edo wasn’t expecting it, however, and was only able to grab the ball and maintain possession.
Batman and Robin weren’t quite on the same page on that play. But most of the time, the seniors are the tag-team heroes for a school seeking its first state title.
“They’re clearly the leaders,” Petty said. “Kendal’s always been that way, and Soma’s really become a great leader.
“The bigger the game, the better they play.”
Follow Matt Wixon on Twitter at @mattwixon.