Rylan Bergersen was only about a week old when he attended his first basketball game, and he spent a portion of his childhood traveling the world as his father pursued a career in professional basketball.
Roberto Bergersen — a Boise State Hall of Famer and a second-round NBA Draft pick of the Atlanta Hawks in 1999 — played professionally in France, Italy, Belgium, Spain and Turkey. The Idaho Stampede retired his No. 11 jersey in 2014.
These days in the Bergersen family, it isn’t Roberto getting the attention on the basketball court.
“It was a long time ago that Roberto played, so over time people don’t know him as well anymore, especially the younger kids,” said Rhonda Bergersen, Rylan’s mom and a former University of Washington soccer player. “Now, everyone’s like, ‘That’s Rylan’s dad.’ ”
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Rylan is a senior on the Borah High boys basketball team, which enters the 5A state tournament on a six-game winning streak. The top-ranked Lions (21-2) open against district rival Capital (14-12) at 1:15 p.m. Thursday at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa.
“From the time that he was born, he was around basketball, and I think it was just a natural thing,” said Roberto, who used to take Rylan to Boise State practices while Rhonda was working. “We would like to believe that it wasn’t anything forced upon him, but he lived in that environment and he just kind of took it on.”
This is the third straight trip to state for Rylan, who is averaging a team-leading 15.5 points with 5.5 assists, 2.3 steals and 2.1 assists per game while shooting 53.7 percent from the field and 42.2 percent from 3-point range. He tied a 5A Southern Idaho Conference single-game record last season by going 7-for-7 from 3-point range. His 15.5 ppg ranks second in the 5A SIC.
“I think probably the first memory I have of Rylan is seeing this really skinny ninth grader who obviously knew how to play basketball very well,” Borah coach Cary Cada said. “I never got any feeling from Roberto or from Rylan that he was Roberto’s son. He’s Rylan Bergersen and that’s the way Rylan’s been treated, and that’s the way Rylan has played.
“Obviously, his dad has had a huge impact on the lessons that he’s learned and the work that they’ve done together in the gym. But gosh, Rylan is Rylan.”
At 6-foot-5 with the ball handling skills of a guard and the height to contend around the hoop, Rylan has received interest from college programs, but he said he is leaning toward spending a year at prep school before heading to the college ranks.
“I just think that I was a late bloomer, and I haven’t really fully developed,” Rylan said. “I was barely on the radar after this year, so people started seeing me, but they hadn’t seen enough yet. I think another year would really solidify my recruiting and really help me get better, bigger and improve.”
A successful final three days with his Borah teammates wouldn’t hurt either. The Lions finished second at state Rylan’s sophomore year and lost in the third-place game last season.
“This is the last time, and we’re just trying to put it all out there,” Rylan said.
Schools with the most boys basketball state titles in IHSAA history, which dates back to 1917.