DeMatha Catholic (Md.) 2020 guard Earl Timberlake. [MATTHEW MCINTOSH]
When DeMatha Catholic (Md.) 2020 guard Earl Timberlake committed to The University of Miami in November, it freed him up to focus his attention completely on his final high school season, and so far that’s been a nightmare for opposing teams.
The 6-foot-6, 215-pound Timberlake is putting together an absolutely stellar last run with the Stags, averaging 16.5 points, 10 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 2.5 steals and nearly four blocks per game through February 5. That stat sheet-stuffing has helped DeMatha become the area’s top team this season, with a 20-2 record and the No. 2 spot in ESPN's National High School Top 25.
I recently caught up with Timberlake to discuss his big senior campaign, Miami, and more:
HOW IS IT HAVING YOUR RECRUITMENT OUT OF THE WAY?
“It’s definitely a relief; I can just focus on winning at DeMatha before I leave and head to Miami.”
WHAT LED YOU TO MIAMI?
“Honestly, going into my visit I wasn’t planning or really thinking that I was going to go there. But as soon as I got there, I just fell in love with the program and my family fell in love with the program, too, and I think they can prepare me and help me get to the next level.”
WHAT PARTS OF YOUR GAME DO YOU WANT TO IMPROVE?
“All aspects of my game. Keeping that dog that I am, and improving my ball handling and my shooting - every aspect of my game, pretty much.”
WHAT DO YOU FEEL YOU’VE DONE WELL THIS YEAR?
“[Showing] That I can guard One through Five and I can play anywhere on the court and I can score, I can rebound and I can pass.”
DID YOU PLAY ANY OTHER SPORTS GROWING UP?
“Growing up I played basketball and football, that’s pretty much it. I played, like, running back and tight end. I stopped around 9, 10 [years old] - that age.”
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY THE MOST ABOUT BASKETBALL?
“It kept me out of trouble - that’s one of the main reasons my Mom put me in it. I just fell in love with the sport, and then I started traveling and going to tournaments and stuff like that. I just fell in love with it.”
WHAT’S BEEN YOUR FAVORITE BASKETBALL MEMORY?
“Honestly, I’d say this summer, playing with Team Durant - that had to have been, like, the most fun I’ve had playing basketball in my career so far. Playing with them, it just felt so free - I could be myself on the court. And we had a lot of guys who all got along and stuff, so you couldn’t wait to get out of town with your teammates and stuff like that.”
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OFF THE COURT?
“I’m a big family guy, so I like to be with my family. Going to the movies, out to eat and stuff like that.”
DO YOU HAVE ANY PREGAME RITUALS OR SUPERSTITIONS?
“Before every game, I always call my Grandmother and she prays for me. That’s before every game - any time I step on the floor. And I always write on my shoes “Rest In Peace” to people in my family that’s died or friends, and I always touch my shoes right before the game. Those are my rituals every single game.”
WHAT HAS YOUR DEMATHA EXPERIENCE BEEN LIKE?
“It’s a blessing man, to go to one of the best high schools in the country, you know? I also know every time we step on the court, every team is going to give us their best shot, because everybody wants to beat DeMatha.”
HOW WAS IT MAKING THE TRANSITION INITIALLY?
[Timberlake transferred to DeMatha from Rock Creek Christian (Md.) after his freshman season.]
“Id say it was a little tough coming from where I came from at Rock Creek and going to DeMatha and into the WCAC with it being the best conference in the country. So I had to adjust to it, and how teams were actually gameplanning for me and stuff like that. They knew stuff I’d do well and stuff I didn’t do well, so I had to adjust to it a lot. But I think my coaches at DeMatha prepared me well for it.”