It was a rough night for Ensworth (Tenn.), losing 98-78 to Montverde Academy, but a bright spot for the Tigers was Class of 2015 shooting guard and Florida Gators target Andrew Fleming, who led Ensworth in scoring with 23 points.
Despite the tough loss, Fleming thought playing against a team like Montverde Academy was a great learning experience.
“They’re a really good team and I just thought this was a good learning lesson for us because we aren’t a nationally ranked team,” Fleming said. “So we were just going to come in and play our best and size up against the best team in the country.”
Throughout the game, Ensworth coach Ricky Bowers constantly made mass substitutions, which Fleming said was all a part of their “five in, five out” strategy.
“Five in, five out is what we’ve been doing for as long as I have known coach,” Fleming said. “It’s basically you go in and play as hard as you can for one or two minutes and then he’ll get five more fresh players in. Hopefully by the end of the game, the other team will not be able to keep up with us and our best players are fresh at the end of the game.”
The 6-foot-4, 180-pound sophomore frequently guarded Florida signee Kasey Hill. Fleming’s tough defense held Hill to only nine points and limited his production for much of the game. After playing against him, Fleming believes Florida is getting an outstanding player in Hill.
“He’s definitely a great player. He’s quick, he’s smooth and he does all the right things on the court. He’s definitely going to be good for coach [Billy] Donovan,” Fleming said.
Much like Hill, Donovan has showed a lot of interest in Fleming. Florida was the first school to offer him and they have been one of the top schools for Fleming. The former Jacksonville resident has a lot of family ties to Florida. Along with his brother, Fleming said that “all of his family has gone to UF.”
Fleming made an unofficial visit to Florida back in August and was planning on visiting the campus again on Dec. 26, but was unable to make the trip due to time constraints.
He hopes to make it down to Gainesville again sometime within the next few months.
“I always love going on campus and seeing coach Donovan,” Fleming said. “I’ll hopefully go and do that maybe over my birthday, which is in April, or over the summer.”
Fleming has been cautious about narrowing his list of schools down thus far and believes he really won’t be able to do that until the upcoming summer.
“I think that after this summer, I’ll have the best look about what I’m going to do,” Fleming said. “Schools are going to get a good look at me and determine if I can play in their system or not. I’m sure colleges will end up calling, which will help me make a decision and a list pretty soon.”
Prior to the tournament at Montverde, Fleming traveled to Florida from Tennessee to spend time with his family for Christmas and it sounds like Santa came through for him.
“I had a great Christmas,” Fleming said. “I didn’t ask for too much this year, but it was just great being able to see the family and everything.”