Pateev Looking at Four

With the fall signing period weeks away, college basketball programs are looking to finalize their 2009 recruiting classes and one lucky team could land a steal in Montverde (FL) center Ruslan Pateev.

With the fall signing period weeks away, college basketball programs are looking to finalize their 2009 recruiting classes and one lucky team could land a steal in Montverde (FL) center Ruslan Pateev.

"Ruslan is a very good player," said Montverde head coach Kevin Sutton. "He has a high basketball IQ, a strong skill set and he can do a lot of things well. He understands offenses and where people are supposed to be on the floor.

"The big thing for him is getting acclimated to how we play basketball over here in high school because he has been used to the European game. He's used to the trapezoid lane and getting your shot up as quickly as possible because of the shotblocking rules."

Checking in at 7-foot, 235 pounds, Pateev plays center and power forward for Montverde.

"He will literally play a big role for us this year," said Sutton. "He'll be playing the five and the four for us. He's very good at the four where he can face up because he is strong on pick-and-rolls and he can make great decisions."

Montverde Academy is one of the top basketball programs in the country. Coach Sutton is entering his sixth season at the school and 24 of his players have signed college scholarships. Prior to accepting the position at Montverde, he coached notable standouts such as George Lynch, Jason Capel, and Damien Wilkens, among others.

Some of his former Montverde stars currently playing college basketball include: L.D. Williams (Wake Forest), Gary Clark (Wake Forest), Soloman Alabi (Florida State), Joseph Katuka (George Washington), Steve Tchiengang (Vanderbilt), and Dashan Harris (Texas A&M).

Coach Sutton has done a terrific job of developing college basketball prospects on the hardwood while preparing them for the rigors of college academics in the classroom.

"We're an independent, private boarding school but it should be known that we aren't a prep school," stated Sutton. "We don't have any athletic postgraduates. Our curriculum is very strong at Montverde, as 100% of our students go on to college and 95% of our classes are core courses.

"In my time here, what we've been able to accomplish is nothing short of remarkable. I've had 24 players go on to college on basketball scholarships and all of my players have qualified academically to play on the next level. We take our academics and athletics very seriously, and we prepare them to go on to college where they can compete not only on the court but also in the classroom."

According to coach Sutton, Pateev should have no problems qualifying. He's already taken the SAT and will do so again on November 1st. As it stands now, four programs are in the mix with three visits already scheduled.

"Ruslan is being recruited by, in no particular order, Arizona State, NC State, Florida State, and SMU," said coach Sutton. "He visited Arizona State this past weekend and he's going to visit NC State tomorrow.

"He will then come back and do the SAT on November 1st before taking a visit to Florida State the second week in November. He hasn't set up a visit with SMU yet so we'll see what they want to do."

According to coach Sutton, all four programs have offered scholarships. Arizona State has been on him the longest and NC State is one of the latest schools to become involved. Heading his recruitment for the Wolfpack is assistant coach Monte Towe, but coach Sutton is familiar with virtually the entire staff.

"NC State jumped in and are really involved," said Sutton. "Coach Towe came down and loved him. The next week coach Lowe and coach Towe came back down to see him again.

"I've known their staff for awhile. Levi Watkins, I was going to coach him, and I also have known coach Strickland for a long time. They are really involved."

While a decision from Pateev could come during the early signing period, coach Sutton didn't rule out a possible spring decision. Hailing from Russia, distance will certainly not play a factor for Pateev as he is looking for comfort.

"He's going to take these visits and go from there," said Sutton. "I know he's going to visit NC State tomorrow and Florida State. The SMU visit isn't set up yet, but we'll see what they want to do. After the visits, we'll take it from there and if he's ready to make a decision we'll do so in the fall and if not he can wait until the spring.

"Ruslan is looking for comfort. We run a very good program here, and I think he is looking for something similar.... academically, socially, and athletically. He's going to go where he is the most comfortable."

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