High-SchoolFlorida: Joel Berry

Spit Your Game with Joel Berry

January, 11, 2012
1/11/12
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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.

Berry headshot
Jason Vallery/ESPNHSClass of 2014 combo guard Joel Berry of Lake Highland Prep.
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.

Spit Your Game is weekly Q&A feature with Florida athletes. To suggest a deserving athlete to profile, leave a name in the comments or email us.

Lake Highland Prep jumps to No. 3 in state hoop rankings

December, 9, 2011
12/09/11
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In our preseason poll, we had Lake Highland Prep listed as a bubble team. Our bad. The Highlanders look terrific so far, with wins over Orlando Christian Prep and West Orange. Sophomore sensation Joel Berry is averaging 30 points per game, while classmate Jay Henderson is adding nearly 20 per contest. As a result, LHP jumps all the way to No. 3 in our state rankings.

Undefeated Montverde Academy and Arlington Country Day remain 1-2 in the poll, and both are ranked among the nation's top 16 teams in the POWERADE FAB 50. Here's how the state's top 5 shapes out (records through Dec. 7):

1. Montverde Academy, 4-0
2. Arlington Country Day, 5-0
3. Lake Highland Prep, 7-0
4. Orlando Christian Prep, 3-2
5. Blanche Ely, 4-0


To see the full Florida Weekly Rankings, including capsules on the state's top 25 teams, click here.

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