Elijah Fisher is a 6-foot-2 basketball phenom who’s widely considered the top player to watch for the high school class of 2023.
But right now, he’s only 12.
“I’ve never had a kid, or a player, or a student athlete this young that’s been able to compete and not show signs of being nervous or being out of place,” said his coach Ro Russell, the basketball coordinator at Elijah’s school, Crestwood Preparatory College in North York.
“He fits right in as if he’s an 11th grader or 12th grader,” he added.
Elijah, who’s in Grade 7, was the first middle school student to play and score in a senior varsity game for the Crestwood Lions earlier this year.
“I know I’m at the same skill as them, and it makes me better,” Elijah said.
Ranked number one
It’s not surprising he’s already caught the eye of a number of scouting organizations and American ranking websites, where he’s often the top-ranked player for his future high school graduation class.
“He’s been to all the camps, all the tournaments, and he’s always come out number one,” said Russell.
The goal, Russell added, is to have Elijah head to a major NCAA Division 1 university and then the NBA.
He comes from a basketball family — his dad, mom, aunt, and uncles all played — but Elijah wasn’t a natural on the court at first.
“When he started he could not play, he was not good, no,” said his mom, Thelia Turnbull. But after a lot of work — including regularly waking up at 5 a.m. to train — something clicked, and he fell in love with the sport.
“From there, it was magical to watch,” said Turnbull.
Balancing school and basketball
When he’s not shooting hoops, Elijah is just a “normal kid,” according to his mom. He still has chores and a regular bedtime at home, she said. “He’s not a superstar yet,” Turnbull added. “Not in the household.”
Elijah is also getting mostly A’s in school, and said his academic work is even more important to him than basketball.
“If I get a good education, if I don’t make it to the NBA I have a backup plan,” Elijah said.
“It’s possible he might be one of the best ever.”– North York coach Ro Russell on basketball phenom Elijah Fisher
But if the predictions are right, he probably won’t need a plan B.
Elijah’s coach thinks he could one day join the ranks of some of the biggest Canadian basketball stars, like Andrew Wiggins, Tristan Thompson, and the Raptors’ Cory Joseph.
“We see him following in the footsteps of those great players that have come out of Canada in recent years, and who knows — it’s possible he might be one of the best ever,” said Russell.