Local high school basketball star, Taeshon Cherry is the son of PLNU alumni Darnell and Danielle Cherry, who both earned All-American honors playing basketball for the Sea Lions. Darnell was on the men’s basketball team in 1998-2001 while Danielle played for the women’s basketball team.
Their son is now one of the top basketball players in San Diego and is ranked No. 22 on ESPN’s Top 100 poll for the 2018 recruiting class.
Surprisingly, Cherry has decided to transfer from St. Augustine High School, a place where he had grown and developed as a basketball player over the last three years. He will soon be taking his talents over to Foothills Christian in El Cajon, a well-known and top-notch basketball program in San Diego County.
Foothills Christian is the former home of current Indiana Pacers rookie power forward T.J. Leaf, as well as current UCLA Bruins point guard Jaylen Hands. Leaf’s dad, Brad Leaf, also happens to be the head coach for Foothills Christian. There is speculation that Cherry and St. Augustine Varsity Basketball Head Coach Mike Haupt, were not on the same page and had a disagreement, leading to Cherry’s decision to transfer.
Cherry will be joining one of the strongest divisions in San Diego County basketball, the Coastal League. Foothills won the division last year with Hands running the show, going 24-7 during the season. This division is no easy task due to the strong and consistent play from the other schools in the Coastal League: La Jolla Country Day, Orange Glen, Santa Fe Christian, Bishop’s, Francis Parker, and Army-Navy.
Even with Foothills accumulating star players as of recent, each team always plays each other tough because of the familiarity with playing each other year in and year out.
Cherry averaged 20.3 points and 10.4 rebounds a game last season for the St. Augustine Saints, leading his team to a San Diego Section Open Division title. On the way to this championship run, ironically, Cherry and the Saints faced Hands and Foothills in a very controversial semifinal round playoff game.
A Foothills player was heard calling timeout when they didn’t have any, which earned that team a technical foul. Coach Leaf disagreed with the call, and crossed the court to confront the officials, earning himself two technical fouls and an ejection. The game ended with the Saints shooting six free throws and making three, earning them a 72-69 victory over Foothills Christian.
The 6’9” Cherry has been a very highly recruited athlete with a number of scholarship options. He has committed to USC, choosing them over schools like Arizona, Oregon, Gonzaga, Texas A&M, and San Diego State.
Even though USC has been at the center of a bribery scandal, Cherry has a strong relationship with assistant coach Tony Bland, which was a factor in Cherry’s decision. Cherry is the highest recruit USC head coach Andy Enfield has had in his tenure as coach since 2013. Cherry confirmed his USC commitment to scout.com saying, “I’m going to USC. I have a good relationship with the assistant and head coach. Their style of play really fits my style of play and it’s perfect for me.”
Now a senior at Foothills Christian, he clearly inherited some talent from both his mother and father, as he is a five-star prospect and is the No. 1 player at small forward in the state of California.