Archbishop Carroll's Brimah Still Learning
Bulldogs Big Man Improving Daily
By J.T. WILCOX | Senior Columnist
When Archbishop Carroll boys basketball team walks into an opponents' gym, all eyes usually turn to Amida Brimah.
Upon seeing the 6-foot-11 center, opposing players and coaches began to wonder how they're going to deal with the big man on the court.
The answer is becoming increasingly more and more difficult to find as Brimah has developed his overall game and has become a force on both ends of the court.
Bulldogs head coach Juan Hernandez says that Brimah, who committed to UConn Monday, has gotten “better every day” and is still learning.
“He's come a long way,” said Hernandez, who's in his third season in leading Archbishop Carroll. “[Amida] has an energy level that you don't find often. He practices hard and takes everything seriously. Even though he knows he's going to a D-I school, he takes coaching, he stays on task and he gives us everything he has.”
Hernandez used to be one of the opposing coaches that pondered how to deal with Brimah on the court – as Brimah joined the Bulldogs before the start of the 2012 school year as a transfer from Monsignor Pace, one of Archbishop Carroll's district foes.
During his junior year at Pace, Brimah was a reserve playing behind skilled 6-foot-10 big man Malik Price-Martin, who transferred to Northeast. Brimah was known more for his defensive abilities and wasn't much a factor on the offensive end.
Brimah averaged less than five points and five rebounds per contest last season with the Spartans. But he's more than doubled those numbers this year as the pivot man in Archbishop Carroll's offense – putting up 15 points and 10 rebounds per game along with six blocks and a steal.
The Bulldogs have become one of the top teams in South Florida with Brimah patrolling the paint. Ranked as high as No. 5 in the state in Class 4A by Source Hoops, Archbishop Carroll currently sits atop district 14-4A with a 17-4 record. Also, strong showings in various tournaments this season has many believing the Bulldogs will easily surpass its previous season far point – the district semifinals – and be a serious contender to reach Lakeland.
Hernandez says that Brimah benefited from a summer of playing against top competition.
“Over the summer he got to play against some of the best players in the country and I think it really helped him out a lot,” Fernandez said of Brimah's participation in some national camps and showcases.
Brimah's performances over the summer even drew rave reviews from ESPN's Reggie Rankin.
“[Amida] is new to the game but has made tremendous strides in a short time. He's an extra-long and very athletic big man with a great motor,” Rankin said. “He runs the floor like a guard and sustains his effort for the entire game. If he continues to improve at the rate he has over the past six months – watch out. His upside is tremendous and he is a true sleeper.”
Also holding a 3.3 grade-point average, Brimah's commitment to basketball power Connecticut surprised few. The Huskies have produced a plethora of interior forces through the years, including Hasheem Thabeet, Hilton Armstrong and former NBA second overall pick Emeka Okafor, and Brimah has the potential to be the next in that great line – only increasing those chances once he adds more weight to his 220-pound frame.
Miami, South Carolina, Florida International, and Southern Mississippi were all vying for Brimah's services before he chose UConn.
Because Brimah is still fairly new to the game of basketball, Fernandez thinks that the ceiling of his potential is higher than other highly ranked players.
“You could always see the raw potential there,” Hernandez said. “He's always been able to block shots and run the floor, and do a lot of great physical things – but now he's raising his basketball IQ and really learning the game. That's the major thing we've been working on with him. Developing a refined post game, finding a go-to move, and learning the little nuances of the game. The sky is the limit for him.”