ORLANDO, Fla. — Schools may be out, but some high school teams are already back in the gym getting ready for their next basketball season. The Dr. Phillips boys basketball team is one of them — preparing for recruiting camps later this month.
Panthers starting center Ernest Udeh is drawing a lot of attention from college recruiters after Dr. Phillips won its first state boys basketball championship in the spring.
What You Need To Know
- Dr. Phillips basketball center Ernest Udeh is athlete of the week
- The Panthers player is attracting attention from college recruiters
- Udeh is 6 feet 10, athletic, moves well and plays great defense, his coach says
- Udeh says he's received offers from Kansas, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Miami, Florida
"This was it, this is what we prepared for all this season, all last season and to be finally be there, it was a blessing for us," says Udeh, the most recent athlete of the week. "It feels really good."
"Ernest is a special player, 6 foot 10, athletic, moves great, best defense player in our state without question,” says Dr. Phillips coach Ben Witherspoon. "Blocked shots, rebounds, great finisher above the rim and now developing an offensive game so his upside is limitless."
That realization is something new for Udeh.
"Growing up, I never thought it was something that could change my life, and I didn’t take basketball seriously until my freshman year," Udeh says.
"He has the potential to be an NBA player with his size and the way he moves, being able to guard the guards and the big the way he does," Witherspoon says.
Udeh’s size and athletic ability are attracting scholarship offers from a lot of big-time college basketball programs that regularly play in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, but he says he has not let the pressure get to him.
"Most recent, I would say Kansas, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Miami and Florida are some of the offers I have gotten," Udeh says. "At the end of the day, I’m still a 17-year-old kid. I’ll be going to college for free playing a game that I love."
Later this month, Udeh and Dr. Phillips will compete in recruiting camps in Atlanta and Philadelphia.
"Obviously, a great time to get our team together and start building some habits toward next season," Witherspoon says.
For now, his next high school season is Udeh’s main focus.
"To walk back in here, and to know we accomplished our goal from last year and to be able to set new goals with this upcoming season with almost same number of guys, it’s really a blessing," Udeh says.