FAB 50 power Montverde Academy makes history with a record seven players selected in the 2021 NBA Draft. Perhaps an even more impressive NBA Draft statistic is four of them off the 2019-20 FAB 50 national championship team are taken in the first round.
There is a definite difference on how great a high school player is while in high school and how good of a NBA prospect he is and how good of a player he can be down the line.
The same ideology holds true for great high school teams.
Obviously, its record and position in the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com is a good indication of how good a team is, but sometimes it’s not until many years later that one can look back at a high school team and realize just how great it was. When a player goes on to success at the highest levels of a game, that can obviously enhance the perception of just how good his high school team was. That especially holds true if a team has more than one great player or future pro.
Once in a blue moon a team comes along that you know is special right away in real time as you’re watching it. It’s evident in its makeup, skill level, size, pedigree and results of its games. In that situation, even the players on the team know it.
That was clearly the case with the high school team most long-time followers, prep editors, and national rankings compilers feel was the best overall during the last 40 years: 1982-83 Dunbar (Baltimore, Md.). That outfit went 31-0 and defeated a strong schedule of foes (for its era) by an average margin of 36.5 ppg. The players on that roster and coach Bob Wade knew how special the group was right then and played accordingly.
It’s the same feeling the players off the 2019-20 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) felt in 2020 as the Eagles rolled to a 25-0 record and beat every foe on a true national schedule by an average margin of 38.9 ppg.
Wade’s ’83 unit cemented its status four years later in the 1987 NBA Draft when three of its players were drafted in the first round. Reggie Williams, the 1983 Mr. Basketball USA went No. 4 overall, spark plug guard and team MVP Muggsy Bouges went No. 12 and reserve Reggie Lewis went No. 22 overall. It blew many people’s minds when Lewis, who was Dunbar’s sixth or seventh man and averaged 5.5 ppg, became the third player off a single high school team taken in the same draft when the Boston Celtics selected him.
There has been 46 documented high school teams with at least three NBA players on its roster, but that ’83 Dunbar team set the standard for other high school teams to follow by having three players taken in the first round of the same draft.
That was the standard until the 2019-20 Montverde Academy team came around.
The Eagles also produced the best player in the country (Mr. Basketball USA pick Cade Cunningham) and rolled to a No. 1 mythical national title as Dunbar did. The players on the Eagles’ roster didn’t have to wait four years to make history, as the core of the group all declared for the NBA Draft after one year of college (a record-low seven seniors were drafted in 2021). Not only did three players off that Eagles team go in the first round, the team produced the No. 1 overall pick (Cunningham), the No. 4 pick (team glue guy Scottie Barnes) and a third lottery pick in Moses Moody.
Not only did its top three get drafted higher than Dunbar’s trio, MVA’s 2019-20 team added a fourth first round pick in power forward Day’Ron Sharpe.
2021 NBA Draft Picks From Montverde Academy (Fla).
No. 1 Cade Cunningham (Oklahoma State) – Detroit Pistons
No. 4 Scottie Barnes (Florida State) – Toronto Raptors
No. 14 Moses Moody (Arkansas) – Golden State Warriors
No. 29 Day’Ron Sharpe (North Carolina) – Pheonix Suns (traded)
No. 50 Filip Petrusev (Gonzaga/Serbia) – Philadelphia 76ers
No. 54 Sandro Mamukelashsvili (Seton Hall) – Indiana Pacers (traded)
No. 57 Balsa Koprivica (Florida State) – Charlotte Hornets (traded)
As if having four players off the same high school team taken in the same draft isn’t enough, the program produced seven of the 60 overall players drafted in 2021.
“This is a special day for all our players their families and the whole Montverde Academy community,” said Boyle. “I’m very happy to see all the sacrifice and dedication pay off for all our players. To have seven drafted, four in the first round, and three in the lottery has truly exceeded our expectations. All of these guys are a special part of the Montverde family.”
Petrusev was a starter on the 2017-18 team led by Mr. Basketball USA RJ Barrett (the No. 3 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft) that went 36-0 and wire-to-wire No. 1 in the FAB 50. Mamukelashsvili was a senior on the 2016-17 team that finished 26-5 and No. 5 in the FAB 50. Koprivica, who played with Barnes at FSU, was the starting center on the 2018-19 team that featured juniors Cunningham and Moody that lost in the GEICO Nationals semifinals to eventual FAB 50 National champion IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) and finished No. 4 in the FAB 50 with a 22-3 mark.
Cunningham (13.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 6.4 apg in 2019-20 for MVA) is the third No. 1 overall pick for Boyle, with the first two being Ben Simmons in 2016 (one year after graduating from MVA as the Mr. Basketball USA) and Kyrie Irving, who played at St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.), in 2011. It surprised some when Barnes (11.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 4.6 apg for MVA) went ahead of Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs at No. 4 and Moody (10.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg) was drafted alot higher than projected coming out of high school. Sharpe (12.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg) was actually the third McDonald’s All-American and earned All-American Elite team honors from Ballislife.
As for the firth starter on that team, that would be sophomore forward Caleb Houstan (10.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg), who like Barrett, re-classed up after his sophomore season of high school and will head to Michigan this fall after earning All-American acclaim as a senior in 2020-21. In all likelihood, all five of the starters off that 2019-20 Montverde Academy team will eventually play in the NBA.