January 4, 2024

Student Athlete Of The Week: Umatilla High Sophomore Herly Brutus

2.9 min read| Published On: January 4th, 2024|

By Kyle Coppola

Student Athlete Of The Week: Umatilla High Sophomore Herly Brutus

2.9 min read| Published On: January 4th, 2024|

If you want to talk about one of the best basketball players in Lake County, look no further than Herly Brutus. He is having a tremendous year and is our student athlete of the week. Brutus is just a sophomore and is having a pronounced impact for the Bulldogs.

Brutus is averaging 16.5 points per game. He leads the team by a wide margin with senior Artis James who has 11 points per game. Brutus is shooting 50% from the field while leading the team in offensive and defensive rebounds. He averages 7.5 defensive rebounds and 3 offensive rebounds per game.

(Herly Brutus is one of the best all around guards in Lake County. He leads his district in multiple statistics including foul shots made and assists. Photo credit – Stephen M. Dowell Orlando Sentinel.)

Safe to say Brutus is certainly a key component of the Bulldogs team. Head coach Patrick Todd has been a big supporter of Brutus and the entire team this season. Last year the Bulldogs made it back to the FHSAA basketball playoffs for the first time in decades finishing the season 21-6.

We had the chance to talk with Umatilla head basketball coach Patrick Todd who says “We are off to a good start this year. We are currently 9-3 overall. Herly Brutus has been the catalyst for our early success. Herly is having a fantastic year. He leads the state in double/double games with 8. Perhaps what sets him apart is that he makes every teammate better. I think he is the best player in our area and certainly one of the better players in the state.” said Patrick Todd

(Patrick Todd “Middle” sits with the 2020-2021 Umatilla team. Since then Umatilla Bulldogs are 46-19 a remarkable turnaround from where this team was just a few short years ago.)

Earlier in the year we talked with coach Todd before the season, and he said “We are so excited about the team this year. Guys like Herly really bring the best out of the team. Then you have guys like Artis James, Jadon Gibbs, Jay Miller and so many other guys who contribute to our team. It really does feel like a family and these kids are putting the work in every day to be the best team they possibly can.”

Umatilla has a ton to be excited about and so does Herly Brutus. He is one of the best at making assists in the game today. Brutus is ranked as the number 32 player in the nation and 8th in the state of Florida. He is ranked number one in Class 4A for assists per game with 7.5 assists. He is an unselfish player who improves players around him.

(From left to right Jalen Pressley, Artis James and Jadon Gibbs. All three boys are seniors. Umatilla has leaned on their seniors this year especially Artis James who is having an impressive year so far.)

Brutus ranks first in Class 4A District 6 with 51 free throws made and first in Class 4A District 6 with 60 field goals on the year. All of this and Brutus is only a sophomore with so much more to prove. Brutus is in the middle of one of the best sophomore season campaigns we have seen out of a Umatilla player in perhaps the past few decades.

During his freshman year, Brutus had 5.7 assists per game and averaged 11.6 points per game, so those numbers have increased drastically for the 2023/2024 season. As the season continues there is a good chance, we could see Umatilla in the FHSAA Playoffs for the second straight year which would be amazing for this program which continues to impress us.

We are so happy to see the Umatilla High School program see success. The program has faced challenges the past 20 years. From 2013 – 2019 the team only won 16 games. However, when Patrick Todd took the team over a few years ago the program went through a revitalization. Coach Todd has won over 500 games in his career. Out of all of coach Todd’s accomplishments the revitalization of Umatilla Basketball is one that he can be particularly proud about.

The town of Umatilla is excited, and they should be! We can’t wait to see how Herly Brutus and the Umatilla Bulldogs fare down the home stretch of the 2023/2024 season.

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About the Author: Kyle Coppola

Kyle Coppola was born in Newton, Massachusetts and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communications from Curry College in 2016. After traveling to Florida on a family vacation, he decided he could not get enough of the warm weather and made the move from snowy Massachusetts to central Florida 8 years ago.

For the last decade Kyle has gained valuable experience in social media content creation, marketing and sales, writing, video production, sports announcing and even broadcasting for local radio stations, such as FM 102.9 in The Villages and FM 91.5 in Massachusetts. Every year he volunteers at The Villages Charter High School as a play-by-play sports announcer for the football games as well as a public address announcer for the basketball games, including the annual Battle at The Villages Tournament.

Outside the office Kyle is a husband and father to two beautiful girls along with their cat. In his spare time he likes to spend time with his family, travel, play golf and swim. He is also a huge sports junkie and even bigger motorsports fan and loves to attend racing events when he can.

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