NO. 1 MONTVERDE ACADEMY
Location: Montverde, Fla.
Preseason Rank: 1
2016-17 record: 36-0
Final 2017-18 Super 25 ranking: 1
The Eagles are the reigning GEICO Nationals champions and despite returning just one starter from last year’s team (Balsa Koprivica), they’ve added the depth and talent to repeat.
Arguably the biggest addition is versatile forward Precious Achiuwa, who is ranked No. 12 overall in USA Today Sports’ Chosen 25 for 2019. Achiuwa, who averaged 20.9 points, 11.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists last season, will join center Omar Payne and Koprivica to form one of the most talented frontcourts in the country.
Montverde will also have a dynamic backcourt with Cade Cunningham (18.8 points per game, 8.2 rebounds per game, 5.3 assists per game), a wing who is ranked No. 17 overall in the Chosen 25 for 2020, shooting guard Moses Moody, combo guard Harlond Beverly and shooting guard Justin Powell.
The Eagles also have some of the best freshmen in the country in Ryan Nembhard, Caleb Houston and Dariq Whitehead, who starred at USA Basketball’s Minicamp in October.
The Eagles won’t have R.J. Barrett, last year’s ALL-USA Player of the Year, to bail them out this season, but they’ve got the personnel that will allow them to be equally effective by committee.