Combo guard Joel Berry of Lake Highland Prep is one of the state's best basketball players, and this season the sophomore sensation wasted no time in proving it. He helped LHP jump out to an 11-0 start and currently has the Highlanders (15-2) ranked nationally in the POWERADE FAB 50. We asked him about his teammates, how he prepared for this season and what the future holds.
ESPNHS: What were your individual and team goals coming into this season?
JB: To win a state championship with my team and then individually become more of a leader during practices and games. And, of course, working on my game.
ESPNHS: How do you feel it's going so far?
JB: It's going well. We are playing as a team and striving towards all the goals we have set at the beginning of the year.
ESPNHS: You’re averaging around 25 points per game, but you have help. Can you tell me about your teammates?
JB: Jay Henderson is knocking shots and creating opportunities for me to score. We have both Denzel Davis and Landon Stokes controlling the boards and blocking shots on the defensive end. B.J. Simpson allows me to play off the ball, where last year I had to have it my hands all the time. We are really a well-rounded team, it is not just a one-man show.
ESPNHS: Who has stepped up this season?
JB: Everyone. In the biggest game this season thus far, we were in foul trouble, and several players stepped up and played big minutes. We have needed everyone at different times during the season.
ESPNHS: You guys are now ranked fourth in the state. Did you see that coming?
JB: I figured it was coming, we beat top ranked Orlando Christian Prep and then West Orange to win the prestigious Winter Park Rotary Tournament.
ESPNHS: You were maybe the state’s best freshman last year, but you’ve stepped it up this season. What allowed you to make that leap?
JB: AAU play with Each1Teach1 helped build leadership skills, and then I attended the USA Development Team Camp in August and it taught me how to use all your teammates because everyone there was really good, the top players in the nation, so you had to get everyone involved. My offseason training, which included 6,000 shots a weekend and strength and conditioning four days a week, helped improve my game. All that plus summer team camps with my high school teammates helped develop me to the point I am now.
ESPNHS: It’s early, but how has the recruiting process gone for you so far?
JB: Miami, UCF, Boston College, and Tennessee have been in contact recently but other schools like Virginia Tech, Kentucky, Duke, Florida, FSU have also shown interest.