Coach Mohr and Edgar’s Boys Have Achieved Highest Ranking Ever
Edison’s Malachi White, shown here going up for a score against Woodbridge in a 68-56 GMC White victory on Thursday, January 30th, is part of a Eagle squad that has a good blend of youth and experience, athleticism, chemistry, camaraderie, and moxy that has resulted in its highest ranking ever in the GMC Hoops Top Ten.
EDISON, NJ—Two years ago, Edison’s boys basketball head coach, Charlie Mohr, guided an Eagles team that started the season at 2-7 to the 2018 GMCT Quarterfinals for the first time in 23 years. Mohr earned 2018 GMC Hoops Coach of the Year honors as Edison won 12 of 15 games before falling to top seeded St. Joseph’s in the Elite Eight.
Last year, the Eagles started the season in the GMC Hoops Top Ten, was seeded 11th in the 2019 GMCT, and did manage to qualify for the state playoffs, but finished two games below .500 at 11-13 including a 6-6 mark in the GMC White. Turn the page to this season, and the Eagles have already surpassed last year’s win total as well as the number of wins the 2017-18 Eagles had entering the 2018 GMCT seeding meeting (12-10).
A week ago, Edison climbed to its highest ranking ever in the GMC Hoops Top 10 at No. 4. Following its loss at New Brunswick, the Eagles slipped back down to fifth. Although the Eagles didn’t have as rocky a start as they did two seasons ago, they did begin the 2019-20 campaign with 3 losses in their first 5 games. However, since then, Edison has won 11 of its last 13 including victories over New Brunswick, Colonia, North Brunswick (twice), and a non-conference win over Barringer of the Super Essex Conference.
This year’s Edison boys basketball team doesn’t have a lot of size, but they are athletic, stingy defensively, have a good blend of youth and experience, and most importantly, have a moxy or confidence that may be unrivaled in the GMC. When you bring the likes of veterans of Manny Davila, Nasir McLean, Malachi White, and Shane Doherty with sophomores like by Niko Barnes, and you have a team that has the potential of reaching unprecedented heights.
Edison’s sophomore class, led by Barnes, reached the 2019 Perth Amboy/GMC Freshmen Tourney Championship Game before losing to Woodbridge. Barnes also happens to be the younger brother of Brendan Barnes, a 1,000 point scorer at Piscataway Tech, who graduated two years ago. Jacob Torres is another sophomore on the varsity roster along with juniors such as Sebastian Abreu, who scored a season high 9 points in the Eagles 57-52 win at North Brunswick this past Saturday morning.
This team also has something that not many Edison teams have had, and that is great chemistry and camaraderie. The athleticism on this year’s Eagles team has not only been limited to the basketball court, but also stood out on the football field during the fall. With the likes of Davila and Tyee Martin, Edison qualified for the state playoffs this season, and reached the semifinal round of the 2018 Central Jersey Group 4 playoffs before losing to North Brunswick. So far this season, Davila has averaged 14.3 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.4 steals according to nj.com.
McLean has averaged 10.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.3 blocks. White has chipped in with 8.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per contest. Doherty has been helping out with 5.4 points and 2.5 rebounds per game while Martin is averaging 3.9 points and 5.0 rebounds per contest. Barnes, who has demonstrated a great knack for finding his teammates with great passes in cramped spaces in the paint, has averaged 7.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1.1 steals per game.
Edison’s coaching staff consists of assistant coach, Mike Meagher, who was the head coach of the 1994-95 Eagles team that reached the 1995 GMCT Quarterfinals as well as the 2000-01 Edison squad that handed undefeated and top ranked St. Joseph’s its only regular season loss in the GMC, and Tyler Jackow, who played at Colonia with the likes of Brandon Hall, who is on the coaching staff at Seton Hall. Edison has only had one 1,000 point scorer in its history, and has not been in an MCT/GMCT Final since 1966 after making it two straight years.
The Eagles have not gone further than the GMCT Elite Eight since the MCT became the GMCT in 1986. Edison has also never won a division title since the inception of the GMC in the 1985-86 season. Those things could change if this group continues to play like it has been playing. Edison also has another solid group of youngsters coming up with its freshman team. The future is bright in Eagle country.