When Mike Krzyzewski discussed his 2018-19 team at a preseason press conference at Cameron Indoor Stadium, he mentioned that freshman phenom RJ Barrett “always played up” to a higher level of competition. In keeping with that predilection, Rowan Alexander Barrett reclassified so he could leave the prep ranks a year early to attend Duke.
The player whose first two names mirror a pair of North Carolina counties was the nation’s top-rated prospect at one of the nation’s top-rated prep programs, Montverde Academy.
Montverde (green mountain) is no conjured-for-sports school. Founded in 1912, it accommodates more than 1200 students in grades K-12. But the private, coed school in northcentral Florida is unquestionably one of the top basketball programs for boys, winning four national titles since 2012.
Among Montverde’s grads are Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers. Former Eagles who played recently in the ACC include Florida State’s Solomon Alabi and Wake’s Doral Moore. Center Balsa Koprivica, a 7-1 Serb, has verbally committed to FSU.
“Playing at Montverde was really important,” Krzyzewski said of Barrett. “Playing for Kevin Boyle was fantastic.”
Boyle is a former New Jersey high school coach who’s built upon what was already a powerful program at Montverde. “The headmaster built this the right way,” Boyle told Matthew Stanmyre of NJ.com in 2014. “He really wants to be known as the Duke of high school basketball.”
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Montverde Academy Grads Active in ACC