Mbah a Moute Has Great Senior Year

The 6-7, 215-pound small forward committed to UCLA, <b>Luc Richard Mbah a Moute</b>, received raves on his senior season by his high school coach, comparing Mbah a Moute to current pros he coached in high school...

Luc Richard Mbah A Moute has finished his senior season with Montverde Academy, and his coach, Kevin Sutton, said he had an excellent year.

"He had a great year," Sutton said of Mbah a Moute. "I was very pleased with everything he's accomplished this season."

The 6-7 and 215-pound small forward led Montverde in scoring and rebounds, averaging 18.4 and 7.3 per game. He also averaged three assists per game, shot 54% from the field, 51% from three and 61% from the free-throw line, while also averaging one block and two steals a game.

The 51% on three-pointers is impressive, considering he shot 68 threes for the season, and made 35 of them.

"Without question, in our league, those are great numbers," Sutton said. "It will get him definitely all-area and probably all-state."

Mbah a Moute was also selected to the all-tourney team in the Iolani Classic earlier in the season, and to the Montverde Academy Invitational all-tournanent team.

The forward committed to UCLA will play in the Commonwealth Classic All-Star Game April 2nd in Richmond, Virginia, and is a finalist to be selected for the Nike Hoops Summit all-star game April 9th.

"He really has come so far," Sutton said. "He's in only his fifth year of organized basketball, so his best is still in front of him."

Sutton said that Mbah a Moute improved so much that he went from being a role player for Montverde as a junior to its star this season: "He worked so hard on so many areas of his game. He's by far the most versatile player I've ever coached. And overall he ranks right up there with some of the best players I've ever coached, like George Lynch, Jason Capel and Damien Wilkins. With his versatility, he's on the same level as those guys, in my mind."

The versatility Sutton refers to is Mbah a Moute's ability to play multiple positions and perform various roles. "He just has great all-around abilities. He's our second-best point guard. He sees the floor so well, handles the ball extremely well and he's a great passer. He's a tremendous rebounder. That's what UCLA and Ben Howland really liked about him. He can really rebound his position well. He enabled us to play so fast since he could bring it off the backboard so well. Luc's also an excellent defender. That's where he really got noticed and made a name for himself at the Nike Camp last summer was playing defense. He's excellent on the ball or off the ball. If you noticed, all the guys I compared him to were very good defenders in college as well, and Luc is right there."

Sutton then talked excitedly about Mbah a Moute's upside. "Physically he'll continue to develop and add muscle. I expect his skills to continue to improve, and his understanding of the game will continue to grow, which will really be phenomenal since he has such a great feel right now. Once he gets to UCLA, under that coaching staff, the sky's the limit. Lord willing, I think he can be a pro."

The UCLA coaching staff also really impressed Sutton in their recruitment of Mbah a Moute. "They were very good at recruiting him before he committed to them," Sutton said, "but they've been tremendous since he committed. They've been here to see him many times. It's probably double figures how many times they've been here. And they've made an effort to really get to know everyone in Luc's life, including me, all of his coaches, his teachers, and his host family. They've really done a tremendous job. UCLA is welcome here anytime."

And Sutton might be welcoming back the UCLA staff to Montverde soon. Sutton said he has three juniors who are high-major prospects. Franck Ndongo is a 6-7, 190-pound forward who is also from Cameroon, and one of Mbah a Moute's best friends. Besides UCLA, he had the likes of Arizona and Texas come to see him play this season. L.D. Williams is a very athletic 6-5 shooting guard, who has gotten interest from North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Tennessee and the Florida schools. Then there is also 6-10, 250-pound center Luis Colon, who is originally from Puerto Rico.

Having to spread the ball around to all of this talent, it's a testament to Mbah a Moute that he led the team in scoring and rebounding, and was the best overall player on the squad this year.

Sutton said that it's been a pleasure coaching Mbah a Moute, and that he is very coachable. "He's a great kid, a very good student, who works hard. That served him well here, and it will serve him well at UCLA and beyond."

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