Gatorade Players of the Year – VJ Edgecombe and Kate Koval
LuHi students VJ Edgecombe ’24 and Kate Koval ’24 have been named the 2022-23 Gatorade Players of the Year for boys and girls basketball in New York, respectively. Gatorade, in its 38th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, recognizes athletes who exhibit outstanding athletic excellence, high standards of academic achievement, and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court.
Koval, a 6-foot-5 junior post player, led the LuHi Crusaders to a 20-2 record and a berth in the New York State Federation Basketball Tournament of Champions. She averaged 15.1 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 3.4 blocks per game while connecting on 60.7 of her field-goal attempts (133-of-219) through 22 games. Koval earned Most Valuable Player honors at the Nike Tournament of Champions in December and is one of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Girls Basketball National Player of the Year award. She has volunteered locally as a youth basketball coach and has maintained an A average in the classroom. Coach Raiti shared, “Kate is truly one of a kind—an excellent teammate, she’s grown into a tremendous leader. She has elite footwork with her back to the basket, but also has the ability to step out and knock down shots behind the arc. Kate performs against the best of the best and her performance never wavers.”
Edgecombe, a 6-foot-4, 190-pound junior wing player, led LuHi to a 21-2 record and a berth in the GEICO High School Nationals tournament. He is averaging 15.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.1 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game through 23 contests. In his first year playing high school basketball, Edgecombe, a native of the Bahamas, led the National Interscholastic Basketball Conference in scoring. He is ranked as the nation’s No. 52 recruit in the Class of 2024 by ESPN.com. Edgecombe has volunteered locally as a youth basketball coach and has maintained an A-minus average in the classroom.
Both students have joined an elite group of former award winners and have been selected from LuHi for the second consecutive year, following Paris Clark’s selection for the 2021-22 Gatorade New York Girls Basketball Player of the Year. Congratulations to both VJ and Kate on this incredible achievement!