As a freshman last season, Emanuel Sharp had quite an impact. He ranked among the leading scorers in Hillsborough County — and the state — with an average of 25.1 points per game. This season, he was even better.
Sharp finished as the state’s fourth-leading scorer and ranked among the top 20 in the nation with an average of 31.9 points per game. Better still, he helped Blake go through a remarkable turnaround. The Yellow Jackets went from a losing record last season to finishing 22-6 and reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
The production and postseason push were a big reason Sharp was named the Florida Dairy Farmers Class 5A state player of the year on Tuesday. The winners in each classification were selected by a panel of high school boys basketball coaches and reporters.
“I was kind of surprised by the award,” Sharp said. “It wasn’t really a goal. I just wanted to keep getting better, but it’s something I definitely appreciate.”
Sharp’s family is entrenched in basketball. His father, Derrick Sharp, a former standout at USF, had a 16-year professional career in Maccabi Tel-Aviv. His mother, Justine, played 10 years overseas. His two older brothers — DJ and Gabriel — are on professional or were on high school teams. Gabriel recently finished his senior season at Tampa Prep.
Emanuel had been coached by his dad since he was in diapers. It was only natural for the two to stick together at Blake. Emanuel is in the school’s performing arts magnet.
By scoring seemingly at will, Emanuel has attracted plenty of attention from colleges. He has offers from four programs: Florida, SMU, Texas Tech and USF. This summer, Emanuel plans to play for Each1Teach1.