High School

Why former DeMatha standout Earl Timberlake will have an immediate impact at Miami

High School

For decades, the DMV has been a hotbed for basketball talent. From Kevin Durant to Victor Oladipo to Rebekkah Brunson, the region has been home to some of the world's best basketball players, and that doesn't look to end anytime soon. So, who's next? Throughout the week, NBC Sports Washington will answer that question, taking look at the next crop of players creating a buzz in the DMV.

Earl Timberlake is a student athlete who impacts the game in a myriad of ways. The former 4-star DeMatha wing is a dynamic two-way player who can handle the ball, slash to the rim and knock down big shots. His ability to serve as a lockdown defender leads his high school coach to believe Timberlake will make his presence felt at the University of Miami.

“He’ll be able to guard anybody. Miami will be able to put him on anyone,” DeMatha head coach Mike Jones said. “He’s going to be tough enough, strong enough and be able to move well enough to guard just about any position on the floor.

“Earl is constantly working on his game. The best players I’ve ever coached are the ones who put in work whether they’re with us or not with us, and Earl is definitely of that mold. He’s going to have an impact from day one.”

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According to the coach, the effect Timberlake’s presence had on DeMatha was staggering. Jones said DeMatha would not have won its two most recent titles had it not been for Timberlake; the two-time 1st team All-WCAC performer is the kind of student athlete coaches build championship teams around.

“He immediately changed the culture and vibe of our team,” Jones said. “He’s ultra-competitive -- he literally treated every practice like it was a game, and he came in and challenged guys right away. The way he approached everything made everyone work harder, play harder, focus more. His competitive nature truly changed the vibe of our team.”

In eight seasons at Miami, head coach Jim Larranaga has led the Hurricanes to four NCAA tournament appearances. Last year, they were 15-16 before the pandemic shut the season down. Timberlake may be the shot in the arm Miami needs. He will team up with leading scorer and fellow WCAC alum Chris Lykes (Gonzaga). And with the graduation of Dejan Vasiljevic, Timberlake should be in position to contribute early and often if he adjusts quickly to the collegiate game.

“Because he’s so good, in high school, teams would attempt to pack it in to attempt to keep him out of the lane. But they won’t be able to do that in college,” Jones said. “The spacing is so much better, the floor is so much bigger. He truly is going to find that offensively things are so much easier for him because he’s going to have more room to operate. Again, he’s going to have an impact from day one.”

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