Montverde Academy Boasts Legion of Foreign Talent

Montverde Academy in Florida has been in existence since 1912. The sprawling campus sits on 125 acres, 25 miles outside of Orlando. Kevin Sutton, the school's new head coach, could be sitting on a potential high school powerhouse.

Kevin Sutton spent two seasons as the successful head coach at Bishop McNamara in Maryland. Sutton had crafted a reputation as one of the top teachers in his area. Now, he's broadened his horizons at Montverde (FL) Montverde Academy.

Sutton is the director of college counseling and head basketball coach at the boarding school. He's 4-1 so far this year and he's tapping the vast resources of a boarding school that has been in existence since 1912.

"Our roster is a microcosm of our school," Sutton said. "We have 39 different countries represented at our school." At least four different countries are represented on the school's basketball team, including Lithuania, Cameroon and Nigeria.

For Sutton, the move to Florida was a no-brainer, basketball notwithstanding. "First and foremost, as an educator, I wanted to be on the administrative team. Basketball-wise, it was a no-brainer. It's a situation I always wanted. It's a high school in a college setting. It's a boarding school."

And it's about to take off on the court.

Sutton has no less than six Division I prospects and only one is a senior.

Idongist Ibok, a 6-11, 230 pounder is the most recognizable name on the roster and the squad's best senior. You may scarcely remember him from last summer's Nike All-American Camp where he made his debut. Ibok, whom we ranked as a high-major prospect coming out of the camp, is a native of Nigeria.

"He has the potential to be very good," Sutton said. Ibok has hands, touch and good footwork. He's putting up 12 points and 9 rebounds a game and will be academically qualified, thus making him a hot spring commodity. Florida State has been on him the longest and leads. Vanderbilt and Iowa State are calling and trying to get in the mix. More will follow.

As good a prospect as Ibok is, Sutton knows where his bread is buttered. "Our junior class is where our future lies."

The leader of that junior class is 6-9 Arminus Urbutis, a native of Lithuania. He's very skilled, according to Sutton. "He's got back-to-the-basket moves. He's got 17-foot rang on his jumper."

Another Lithuanian, Vytautas Valiulis, is the 6-1 point guard on the team. According to Sutton, he'll try out for the Lithuanian junior national squad this summer. Valiulis is putting up 12 points and 9 assists this year.

Joining Valiulis in the backcourt is a long, lean guard. Luc Mbahamoute is a native of Cameroon who goes for 12 points, 7 boards and 4 dimes a game. He's a future point guard. "He's long. He plays guard for us but he'll be a point guard at the next level."

Virginia Commonwealth got in early with junior Stephane Bakinde. The 6-8, 180 pounder is skinny, athletic and still looking for an identity. Sutton says that he likes to play out on the floor.

Rounding out the Montverde corps of international players is Giedriuis Knysas. The 6-8, 170 pounder is skinny and right now he's a shooter. He's the guy hanging out behind the arc bombing 3s.

At Montverde Academy, Sutton has resources, connections and most importantly, talent. Look for the program to take off in the next few years.

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