When Brice Sensabaugh transferred from Hagerty High School in Oviedo, Florida, to Orlando’s Lake Highland Prep after his freshman year, his family moved in right across the street from the school.
For Keisa Sensabaugh, Brice’s mother, that meant easy access to her job as upper school administrative assistant at Lake Highland. For Brice Sensabaugh, that meant the convenience of having a full gym at his disposal to get extra shots up after hours – even late at night – which varsity basketball coach Ben Fratrik said his star player does often enough to know the school security guards on a first-name basis.
That work ethic is what Fratrik credits for Sensabaugh’s rapid rise up national recruiting rankings this summer, when his play alongside borderline five-star Ohio State class of 2022 commit Bruce Thornton on the AAU circuit caught the attention of the Buckeye coaching staff. Sensabaugh, the No. 164 prospect in the country, earned an Ohio State offer on Aug. 20, and is now considering just four schools, with Alabama, Florida and Georgia Tech also in the mix. Sensabaugh will take an official visit to Columbus this weekend, and Fratrik said Sensabaugh‘s plan is to decide on a landing spot in early October.
"He's Built like Charles Barkley, but he Handles and shoots it a lot different than Charles Barkley did."– Lake Highland Prep basketball coach Ben Fratrik
“I really think it’s up to those four,” Fratrik said. “Gun to my head, I don’t know that I could pick one. I mean I would, but I don’t know that I would be right. The four schools that he’s got left; Georgia Tech, Florida, Alabama and Ohio State, are obviously – at least in my opinion – I don’t think he could go wrong. They’re incredible schools, incredible athletic departments, all of them are really, really good basketball programs, the coaching staffs have been incredible through the recruiting process. I don’t know that he could make a bad pick. He hasn’t told me that he’s leaning one way or the other.”
Sensabaugh, a 6-foot-6, 230-pound small forward, finished up an official visit with the Alabama basketball program this past weekend. Ahead of his visit to Columbus this coming Saturday, Fratrik said Buckeye coach Chris Holtmann made a trip to Orlando to spend time with Sensabaugh’s family on Monday. Sensabaugh has Columbus ties; his father went to Ohio State and his grandfather and a couple uncles still live in the city.
With a 2022 recruiting class that currently ranks No. 1 in the country, Holtmann is looking to cement his impressive haul with one final addition, and the status of No. 24 overall prospect Dillon Mitchell – another AAU teammate of Sensabaugh and Thornton – remains uncertain as he weighs a lucrative offer from Overtime Elite.
But Sensabaugh, a three-star recruit on 247Sports and a four-star on Rivals.com, could be rated significantly higher across the board if not for a meniscus injury that cost him his entire junior year of high school basketball.
“He worked really hard, to be honest with you. I thought he was really, really good as a 10th grader, and he probably would’ve risen up the recruiting rankings a little bit earlier, but then he was hurt,” Fratrik said. “I just don’t think many people were aware of how talented he was because he spent so much time on the shelf. But Brice is just an unbelievably hard worker. He’s put an incredible amount of time in the gym, in our weight room, watching film. His recent success has been a long time coming for him, because he’s really put in the time.”
Fratrik’s assessment of Sensabaugh’s off-the-court intangibles make him an obvious draw for Holtmann. Sensabaugh’s high school coach said he’s a straight-A student and an “absolute coach’s dream” who checks all the boxes.
On the court, Sensabaugh’s build is not dissimilar from that of E.J. Liddell, Holtmann’s own star forward who earned first-team All-Big Ten status as a sophomore this past season. Fratrik said Sensabaugh possesses the defensive versatility and offensive repertoire that could make him a matchup nightmare at the next level.
“He makes it really easy to play modern five-out, small-ball basketball, because he can guard – with his size, for us in high school – he can guard five-men,” Fratrik said. “In college he’s gonna be able to guard four-men, but then he can shoot and play like a guard on offense. So I think you’re gonna have a hard time guarding him with prototypical four-men, but he’s gonna be able to probably guard them. So I think that’s where the appeal is, is that he can be multi-positional, he can switch on ball screens defensively, but give you a little bit of a leg up on offense because the stuff that he’s able to do at his size is pretty unique.”
Fratrik said Sensabaugh is built like a defensive end, but has “crazy, deceptive athleticism” that allows him to make a habit of dunking the ball over opponents. In fact, Sensabaugh’s stocky frame and athletic capabilities may be best summed up by one ear-perking comparison Fratrik made to an NBA legend.
“He’s built like Charles Barkley, but he handles and shoots it a lot different than Charles Barkley did,” Fratrik said with a laugh.
As a sophomore, Fratrik said Sensabaugh averaged 18 points per game with six attempts from three-point range a night. Fratrik said Sensabaugh connected on 40 percent of those, and expects his jumpshot to only get better this season.
“He’s got guard skills. Really elite-level scorer, like he can score a lot of different ways,” Fratrik said. “Legit NBA range on his jumper and really good feel, can pass, can play in pick-and-roll.”
Fratrik said he had a bigger role in helping Sensabaugh parse his many recruiting offers when they first began rolling in earlier in the summer. He said his pupil has subsequently gotten a feel for the type of program he would like to join based on extensive research into roster construction and style of play.
The family ties and Thornton connection can only help Ohio State in the recruiting process, but Fratrik said much like many of Sensabaugh’s innate abilities on the court, the decision is beyond him.
“He’s just gifted in a lot of different ways,” Fratrik said.