Posted On: 12/24/20 9:28 AM

The grind never stops, and neither does my enjoyment of watching high level high school basketball. This past Monday and Tuesday, I made the trip over to Central Florida Christian Academy to watch some of the top high school basketball teams in the state. Across two action packed days of basketball these are just a few of the players who got my attention:

Dr. Phillips

 W over Bishop McLaughlin 63-53

W over Sagemont 66-47

C Ernest UdehErnestUdeh6'9" | PFDr. Phillips | 2022StateFL 6-10 (2022)

 One of my favorite things about watching high school basketball is seeing big men develop over the course of their high school career. Over the past year the Dr. Phillips big man has seen quite a bit of growth as a player. Known as a rebounding shot blocking and dunking center, Udeh showed a lot of improvements offensively on Monday and Tuesday. On a few next level plays he sealed his man, caught the ball turned and dunked with two hands. The center battled every minute he was on the floor scoring 12 and 13 points respectively while ripping down double digit rebounds and blocking shots in both games. In just the last few weeks, Udeh has picked up offers from Lousiana Lafayette, Georgia state to go along with previous Florida, FGCU, Stetson, FAU, and South Florida offers. With continued improvement on his post game you can expect this list to get much longer over the next year.

PG Denzel AberdeenDenzelAberdeen6'1" | PGDr. Phillips | 2022StateFL 6-4 (2022)

 One of the most dynamic guards in the city, Aberdeen had a strong showing at the Clash at the Cross. Against Sagemont Aberdeen went for 22 points, six rebounds and six assists following a 20-point performance against Tampa area power house Bishop McLaughlin. Shooting the ball from 3-point territory is what the guard does best both of the catch and dribble, totaling six makes across two games. He also can get to the basket dribbling with either hand, however he is most dangerous going to his left where he either stop and pops or gets to the basket. His recruitment has recently taken an upswing after picking up offers from Louisiana Lafayette, and FGCU.

Bishop McLaughlin

 L to Dr. Phillips 53-63

W over Pine Ridge 91-48

SG Emanuel SharpEmanuelSharp6'5" | SGBishop McLaughlin | 2022State#104NationFL 6-4 (2022)

 There are few high school players that I have seen with the same level of footwork as Emanuel SharpEmanuelSharp6'5" | SGBishop McLaughlin | 2022State#104NationFL. The guard can score the ball in so many different ways and his jump shot is a thing of beauty. Against Dr. Phillips a top team in the state, Sharp kept things interesting scoring the ball keeping McLaughlin within striking distance. Finishing the game with 28 points the shooter scored from all three levels including 15 that came in the forth quarter. If there is a better scorer in the state of Florida, I have yet to see it and many high major schools have offered Sharp scholarships as just a junior.

F Dillon MitchellDillonMitchell6'7" | PFBishop McLaughlin | 2022State#235NationFL 6-8 (2022)

 At 6-8 with a near 7-foot wing span Mitchell is a matchup problem for just about every high school team. The forward can also handle the ball well at his size, and has the ability to facilitate for others. Against Pine Ridge, Mitchell was named player of the game finishing with 17 points and eight rebounds to go along with a few blocked shots. Recruiting wise Mitchell has received offers from Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Florida, SMU, and USF.


W over Viera 66-47

 F Sergey GrishaevSergeyGrishaev6'10" | CSagemont | 2021StateFL 6-10 (2021)

 At 6-10 with great straight-line speed Grishaev can get up and down the court very quickly. Against Viera the forward displayed the ability to knock down the3-ball off the catch and shoot and also attack the basket, and finish in transition. At times he settles a little too much for jumpers, and I think he is capable of going back to the basket a little more. The best play I saw him make he caught the ball on the perimeter, ripped through and took two dribbles to the basket for the finish. Named player of the game against Viera after scoring 23 points, there is a lot to like about the combo forwards game. Rollins College (Division II) represents his lone scholarship offer.

G/F Rickey BallardRickeyBallard6'6" | CGSagemont | 2022StateFL 6-6 (2022)

 At 6-6 with the ability to handle the basketball, Ballard is a mismatch problem. The wing thrives in the open court in transition, and loves use his size and athleticism to attack the basket and post up smaller defenders. He also has a decent feel for the game as was evident on a few possessions when he cut through the middle of the lane caught a pass and finished with a two handed dunk. I didn’t see him shoot the ball much at all but he was still able to finish with 13 points against Viera and 17 points against Dr. Phillips. The junior is certainly a player college coaches should keep an eye on over the next two seasons.