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No. 1: Montverde Academy Eagles (FL) Team Preview

By Prep Circuit Staff, 11/02/18, 4:05PM EDT


Team Rundown

Head coach Kevin Boyle had another outstanding season last year, generating a 35-0 record en route to the program's fourth GEICO National Championship. Gone are guards RJ Barrett and Andrew Nembhard, as is the majority of their roster, but the Eagles reload in a massive way. Montverde will feature at least 10 division one recruits in their rotation, highlighted by transfers Precious Achiuwa, Harlond Beverly, Cade Cunningham, Justin Powell, and Moses Moody. Just like always, the Eagles won't back down from anyone, as they will face one of the toughest schedules in the country.

The Star(s)

The entire lineup is loaded with stars, so we'll go with Achiuwa. The 6-foot-9 versatile wing is the Eagles' highest-ranked player, slotting in at No. 5 in 247 Sports' Top 100 in 2019. Achiuwa had a standout summer for New Heights on the UAA circuit, showcasing his length and athleticism as well as his skills on defense. Achiuwa is super-smooth offensively, and with the way he moves on the court, it's easy to mistake him for a guard. The Bronx-native is one of the most heralded recruits in the class for a reason, and he'll be a primary focal point for the Eagles on both ends of the floor. 

Impact Players

The Eagles' supporting cast is extraordinary. Big man Omar Payne transfers in from Osceola, and the 6-foot-9 senior commit should be a beast for Boyle and company. Payne is committed to Florida and should give Gators' fans plenty to cheer for before he hits campus next fall. 7-foot big man Balsa Koprivica is back as the Eagles' lone returner, and Florida State commit brings size, length, and versatility to the frontcourt. Koprivica likes to operate on the perimeter and is evolving in the pick and roll. Top 20 juniors Cade Cunningham and Moses Moody also transfer in, and both will play huge roles for Montverde. Both Cunningham and Moody are veterans of the 17U EYBL, and they are more than ready to produce. Guards Harlond Beverly (6-foot-4 senior) and Justin Powell (6-foot-5 junior) enter the fold as top 100 recruits, and both will see major time alongside Moody and Cunningham. Dariq Whitehead, Ryan Nembhard, and Caleb Houstan round out the rotation, and all three are widely regarded as top-ten players in the 2022 class. Simply put, there isn't enough time to write about all of the assets Montverde has at their disposal, and they should be fantastic in 2018-19.

Final Word

As mentioned before, Montverde will test themselves early and often in their gauntlet of a schedule. They'll face top 25 foes Sunrise Christian, Paul VI, Norcross, La Lumiere, Imhotep Charter, Oak Hill Academy, and Sierra Canyon, while also competing in the 'Iolani Classic and their own Montverde Invitational. As their preseason ranking should indicate, anything short of a national championship would be a tough pill to swallow for Boyle and company. They are stacked top to bottom, and if they can stay healthy throughout the full season, they should be in a terrific position to defend their GEICO crown.

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