The PC coaching staff has been looking to add a three point sniper to its incoming class, and Downey appears to fit the bill. The younger brother of Wake Forest's talented Taron Downey, Montez developed quite a reputation over the past two seasons with his versatile game and outside shooting.
Downey, who visited Providence last week, gave every indication that he wants to be a Friar, but it's not quite a done deal yet. PC's admissions office will have to approve Downey's transcript, and other academic requirements will be closely checked. The whole process could take another week or so.
Downey was an all-area and all-state selection at Oak Ridge Military Academy in 2003-04, as a junior. Downey averaged 21.9 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game that season at Oak Ridge. He was ranked as one of the Top 15 recruits in North Carolina by Preps Plus and one of the Top 15 shooting guards in both North and South Carolina by Hoop Scoop.
He transferred to Bishop McGuiness in Kemersville, North Carolina, for his senior year. He led the Villains to a 21-14 record, while averaging 23.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and shooting 52.0 from the floor. For his work, Downey was named a two-time NCISAA 3-A first team all-state and two-time All-Piedmont Athletic 3-A first team selection. Downey had six 30-point performances over the course of the season (with a high of 40) and he was a member of three all-tournament teams, including all-tournament at the prestigious Torrey Pines Invitational in San Diego, Califonia, where he averaged 29 points over 4 games.
An emerging star, Montez already had scholarship offers from the likes of the College of Charleston and Dayton, and he was still being recruited by East Carolina, Florida State, North Carolina State and West Virginia when he decided to sign with North Carolina Charlotte Greensboro.
Downey's academics scared off some of the bigger programs, but UNCG recruited him despite the question marks. He told a local newspaper in North Carolina, "West Virginia told me that if I had waited until December and gotten my grades right, they would have offered. I could have waited until December, but I didn't want to take that chance."
"He is great with the ball," Bishop McGuiness coach Josh Thompson said in a write up in the local papers. "The range that he has, and his consistency I think were the big things. He is very strong. He has a real wide body and was stronger than most of the competition we faced, and he is a great shooter. We could post him up, and he could score on the block. He could guard bigger post players and score in so many ways."
"Montez is a special talent who will undoubtedly be an impact player for us," said then North Carolina Charlotte Greensboro head coach Fran McCaffery upon Downey's commitment in November of 2004. "He can play three positions and is physically ready right now. You can set ball screens for him or run him off screens. You take a guy like Montez, who by definition is a shooting guard, but he is a very good ball-handler. We will run him off screens and post him up and give him the ball in space."
Downey felt a good deal of loyalty to the UNCG staff for sticking with him, but when McCafferty left after the season to take over the head job at Siena, and UNCG hired Mike Dement in April, Downey asked for, and was granted, a release from his letter of intent.
Meanwhile, Downey's stock continued to climb during his senior season, and afterward.
At the N.C. Scholastic Play-By-Play Classic in January, game MVP Montez Downey scored 31 points against regional power Mt. Zion, and another 31 against Page High. Despite his performance, the 6-foot-5 swing man's team lost to Greensboro, N.C. Page High School 68-57.
Scout.com's Dave Telep commented on Downey's performance at the NC PBP Classic: "Montez Downey, SG, Bishop McGuiness: Talented player who went for 31 points and he should be able to help UNC-G in the scoring department early in his career."
On the weekend of May 3rd, Downey's 19 and Under team, the NC Gaters, went undefeated through Pool Play at St. Augustine's College in Raleigh. The Gaters featured Wake Forest signees Kevin Swinton and David Weaver as well as Montez Downey. In two games, Downey had totals of 14 and 18 points, including 8 rebounds and 6 assists in the second game. This proved to be only the beginning of an impressive run.
The Gaters moved on to the nationals and on August 1st, the N.C. Gaters won a 96-93 victory over the Wisconsin, N.H. Hurricanes in the championship game of the 19-and-under AAU Nationals boys basketball tournament. While Swinton was named tournament MVP with 32 points in the final, Downey was a major contributor scoring 21 points in the championship game, and he hit two free throws with 10 seconds left to give the Gaters a three-point lead and the final margin of victory.
If he enrolls, Downey will become the second Friar from the state of North Carolina this season, joining junior Herbert Hill, who hails from Kinston, North Carolina.
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