Junior Denzel Aberdeen is a leader on the court for the Dr. Phillips Panthers.
Denzel Aberdeen is in his second year on the Dr. Phillips basketball team, and he has made a name for himself as a leader on the court. Aberdeen, a junior, is looking to eventually make it to the next level of basketball.
When did you first start playing basketball?
I started playing when I was 4; I was watching my brothers play — I have older brothers — and I would watch them play AAU, so I would always go watch them when they played at Disney. I would always dribble the ball during their practices, and that’s when I sort of fell in love.
What is it about the sport that has kept you in it for so long?
Basically my family — trying to make it to the league, so I can provide for them. Seeing the sacrifices that they made for me is really what makes me want to make it for them. And it’s fun also — playing in front of crowds (and) playing with your friends.
What is your favorite part about playing point guard? The most challenging part?
The fun part is getting people involved — seeing your teammates make shots, and it really gets them going. Also, when they have the ball, they can get it to you so you can make the shot — so it’s vice-versa. The hardest part is just leading — I was quiet coming in my first year, but Coach Ben taught me how to lead, and now I’m just talking loud, talking on defense, leading and getting wins.
Is there a highlight moment that stands out during your two years at Dr. Phillips?
Probably winning districts against Ocoee last year — that was fun.
Beyond your position, what is the most challenging part about basketball as a whole?
Probably not getting frustrated — trying not to get mad at a certain play. You want to win — everyone are competitors — so really that; try not to yell at teammates too much.
If you have a bad game or make a mistake, how do you mentally get past that?
Just go to the gym the next day, working on what I need to work on and just focus on the next game.
What has this season been like for you during the pandemic?
It’s been kind of crazy with COVID, but it’s also been fun winning with my teammates and practicing and getting better and learning — just giving it all on the floor.
Your junior year is when college recruitment starts coming into play. What’s that been like?
I have actually been getting some recruitment … getting some notice. It’s actually been really fun talking to different coaches, seeing what they have to say and getting to know their program. But it’s definitely been fun, and I’m just trying to get better so I can prove to them that I can play at the next level.
Do you have a favorite player?
Probably Ja Morant and Kyrie Irving. I like how they handle the ball and lead their team. They can do everything — pass, score and defense — and they’re not always the biggest guys on the court.