Nobody’s feeling sorry for Eagles coach Kevin Boyle, who has 196-14 record and four national titles in seven seasons since leaving New Jersey to take Montverde to the top of the prep basketball world.
His program lost national player of the year R.J. Barrett to Duke along with stellar guards Andrew Nembhard (Florida) and Michael Devoe (Georgia Tech) from a team that went 35-0, but has reloaded with a recruiting class that would make any college in America proud.
Montverde will start a lineup with no starter smaller than jumping jack guard Harland Beverly, a 6-foot-4 senior who was the best player on his state title Southfield Christian team in Michigan last season.
FSU signee Balsa Koprivica, a 7-footer from Serbia, is Montverde’s lone upperclass varsity returner. And he sat out most of the 2017-18 season awaiting eligibility.
But Boyle and his staff picked up two top 10 national prospects with the arrival of prized unsigned 6-foot-9 senior Precious Achiuwa from New York and 6-6 junior point-forward Cade Cunningham from Texas. Former Kissimmee Osceola standout and UF recruit Omar Payne (6-9) transferred in to add stellar defensive ability to an imposing front line.
Achiuwa, Payne and Koprivica figure to share time on a team that pushes the pace and expects its bigs to run rim to rim on every break.
Backcourt additions include touted 6-5 shooting guard Moses Moody from Arkansas and 6-4 junior Justin Powell from Kentucky.
Youngsters who would be superstars at typical high schools include Nembhard’s brother, Ryan, a ninth grade point guard, and another Canadian, 6-8 freshman Caleb Houstan; along with Dariq Whitehead, a 6-5 freshman with big-time potential.
Whitehead, a Newark, N.J., native who was a varsity reserve last season, knocked down five 3-point shots and led all scorers with 23 points in Montverde’s Purple and Gold preseason scrimmage.
Achiuwa, a freakish athlete with an NBA-ready frame, had 22 points and some monster dunks. Cunningham and Beverly scored 17 points in the scrimmage, Payne 16.
Montverde will host Jacksonville Providence for a Saturday 4 p.m .home game, then embark on its national tour next week with a trip to Washington, D.C., to play highly-rated opponents Paul IV of Virginia and Sunrise Christian of Kansas. The Eagles will return to Hawaii to defend their title at the Iolani Classic in December. The January calendar includes a trips to Wheeling, W.Va., for two big games at the Cancer Research Classic, and to Springfield, Mass., for two more nationally ranked opponents at the Hoophall Classic. The regular season ends in February with two games in New Jersey – where Boyle is a coaching legend.
The Eagles will be home for their annual Montverde Academy Invitational Tournament, Jan. 24-26. That field includes state champs Leesburg and Fort Lauderdale Westminster, The Villages School with UF-bound point guard Tre Mann. The four out-of-state entries include Wasatch Academy of Utah, which is one of 11 teams on the MVA schedule that own top 15 national rankings.
On Feb 2, Montverde meets national No. 2 Oak Hill Academy of Virginia in a national TV (ESPN) game in a ARS National Hoopfest event at Tampa Berkeley Prep.
article via Buddy Collings email@example.com
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