Eneil Polynice wears a lot of hats.
At face value, he is a talented 6-foot-5 unsigned senior point guard from Booker High School in Sarasota, Fla., that just won a state championship.
But behind the scenes, he is a father figure, a brother, a mentor, a leader, a bus driver, a cook, a baby sitter, a disciplinarian and a teenager who is trying to earn a scholarship to a Division I school for basketball.
Polynice has been dealt a Costco-sized plate of adversity in his young life. His father was murdered when he was nine the family's native Dominican Republic. Nine members of his mother's family perished in a fire shortly thereafter. Polynice's mother works two jobs, leaving him to be the man of a house that includes seven younger siblings.
"A lot of kids that have gone through things not as worse are on the street or in jail or selling drugs or even dead," Booker head coach Derrick Kirce says.
Polynice isn't on the street, and certainly isn't in jail. Instead, he has spent every opportunity in the gym fine tuning his game. Because of his responsibilities at home, Polynice never played on the national AAU circuit.
So when he shined at the City of Palms and Kingdom of the Sun tournaments this year, people started asking about him. Then came the coaches.
Fast forward to today. Polynice played a giant role in Booker's run to the Florida state championship. He averaged 18.3 points, eight rebounds and six assists as a senior.
"Offensively, he is a Division I point guard," Kirce said. "Some kids can push the ball and they can them a point guard but he has the skills to be a point guard. He has that mentality. I tell every coach that calls about him that he could have averaged 30 points a game if he wanted to. But he just doesn't think that way. He is a point guard and plays like one. All he wants to do is get everyone involved. But then he can defend the team's best player, even the fours and fives if we needed him to."
Kirce said Polynice is holding offers from East Carolina, George Mason, New Orleans, Old Dominion and Western Kentucky while Eastern Kentucky, Florida and Florida State are keeping close tabs on his academic situation.
Certainly blessed with high-major talent, Polynice is playing catch up in the classroom. He is enrolled in night school in order to raise his core grade point average. Two of his other siblings who attend Booker get to play parent for a while now.
Junior college and prep school is also an option, but Kirce said the main objective is to get the score needed to enroll for a Division I school next year. If that happens, Polynice would be the first person in his family to go to college.
A movie script ending, isn't it? Polynice is getting there.