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Andrew Nembhard leads Montverde Academy to Geico Nationals Championship – He did a Q&A on it with HG Insider

Class of 2018 guard Andrew Nembhard played a huge part in Montverde Academy winning Geico Nationals. Geico Nationals is a eight team tournament held in New York City to crown the best high school team in the country. Montverde Academy left the prestigious event with a historic 35-0 season. The Florida commit controlled the tempo throughout and did a tremendous job scoring and getting his teammates involved. He talked to Hoop Group Insider on what it meant to be crowned a National Champion and more.

Q: What was it like to go out there and accomplish everything you guys set at the beginning of the year?

A: “It was really exciting because we were prepared for this since we got onto campus in August,” Nembhard said. “It’s just great to see our team come together and go all the way this season.”

Q: You guys went undefeated throughout the whole season. Was that a goal you set for yourselves?

A: “Everyone’s goal is to go undefeated so we just stayed grounded and listened to our coach,” he said. “It just happened because of us playing under coach and playing together.”

Q: How have you and R.J. Barrett been able to play so well together?

A: “For both of us, our main goal is to win,” Nembhard said. “We’ll both do anything we need to do to win. If that means averaging less stats for the team to win or other people to shine we will all try and buy in to get the win. R.J. and I have been playing together for so long that we know each other very well on the court.”

Q: You hadn’t won a Geico Nationals Championship since you arrived at Montverde Academy. Did not winning it all yet make you that much hungrier this season?

A: “It definitely did since Montverde is a winning school and we wanted to continue that tradition,” Nembhard said. “That two year drought made us a lot more hungry to win it this year.”

Q: What was Head Coach Kevin Boyle’s message to you guys prior to the game?

A: “We had a game plan for the University School and he also told us to play free and confident as well as lock down on defense,” he said.

Q: Did Florida Head Coach Mike White say anything to you after the win?

A: “Yeah he texted me right after congratulating me on the achievement,” Nembhard said. “He also made sure to give me comments on how I played so it was nice to hear from him and the other guys on the coaching staff.”

Q: What made Florida stand out enough to be the school you ended up committing to?

A: “I feel like I have a very good relationship with them,” said Nembhard. “They started talking to me really early in the recruiting process and I connected really well with them on my visit. I connect well with Coach Mike White and the assistants very well. His playing style fits me and I think I can help them continue to have success.”

Q: What can Florida’s 2018 recruiting class bring to Mike White’s team next year?

A: “I think we can bring in a hungry mentality, toughness and help the team continue to reach new heights,” he said.

Q: Lastly, you and R.J. Barrett have continued to put Canada youth basketball on the map. How does it feel to represent your country on big stages like the Geico Nationals?

A: “I feel like it’s such a great thing representing your country in everything you do,” said Nembhard. “Me and R.J. are helping to pave the way for Canada to have more players like us so they can accomplish big things in the following years.”

R.J. Barrett Reclassifies to 2018

rj barrett

R.J. Barrett is looking to get to college, and ultimately the pros, a year sooner. Just days after Marvin Bagley, the #1 player in the Class of 2018, filed papers to re-class into 2017, Barrett followed suit. He announced he would be re-classing from 2019 to 2018. Barrett said the decision came after evaluating his play this summer. The move does not come as a surprise, as anyone who has seen Barrett play knows he is ready for the next level.

If his play this summer was the deciding factor, then I can’t imagine the decision took very long. Barrett was a monster this summer. You probably heard his name mostly during the U19 FIBA Games. Barrett not only dominated Team USA, but took home tournament MVP, while leading Canada to the gold. At only 17 years old, Barrett was outshining players who are signed, and enrolling into colleges in the Fall. Despite the age gap, Barrett was the most outstanding player by far. He has shown he has nothing left to prove at the high school level.

He has been touted by some as the best Canadian prospect ever, as well as the best high school player in the nation as a sophomore. With accolades like that, it is no surprise that Barrett is currently being recruited by all the major powerhouses. Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA, Arizona, Oregon and Michigan were all listed as schools working hard for him. Expect Kentucky to make a hard push after John Calipari got a front row seat to Barrett’s torching of theUSA U19 team in Egypt.

The bar has been set high for R.J. Barrett. Playing at a school that has produced lottery picks Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid & D’Angelo Russell, and for a coach who coached Kyrie Irving and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist prior to joining Montverde, Barrett could be the best of all of them. And we are now a year sooner to finding out.

Canada Basketball: Trending The Right Way

Canada Basketball

Canada Basketball has a lot to look forward to. Just days ago, their U19 team took home the gold in the 2017 FIBA U19 Games in Cairo, Egypt.

The feat may not be as illustrious as an Olympic Gold Medal, but Canada’s U19 team taking home a gold in the U19 FIBA Games is another sign of moving in the right direction. Look across the NBA right now. You will see a growing list of Canadian players, both in number and prominence. The list includes the likes NBA Champions (Tristan Thompson & Cory Joseph), a #1 Overall Draft Pick (Andrew Wiggins) and numerous budding talents (Jamal Murray, Kelly Olynyk, Trey Lyles). While the list will never compare the United States, it does have a fountain of youth that will make Canada fun to watch for the next couple of years.

Waiting to join the list of Canadian born NBA Players is R.J Barrett, a 6’7 wing playing high school ball for Kevin Boyle at Monteverde Academy. Barrett is the #1 ranked player in the class of 2019, according to ESPN. Playing for a coach who has had his share of lottery picks (Kyrie Irving, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, D’Angelo Russell & Ben Simmons), Barrett appears to be next man up on this list.

“He’s not going to be one-dimensional. He can do a lot of different things.” – Kevin Boyle

He’s a versatile, lengthy athlete who can wreak havoc in transition and score in a variety of ways. He was the talk of the tournament after torching the USA for 38 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists. As an encore, he dropped 18 points in the championship versus Italy. He was the easy choice for tournament MVP. Team USA coach John Calipari tried to throw different looks at Barrett, but the Ontario native had an answer every time. Barrett’s final stat line for the tournament: 21.6 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. It’s easy to see why he’s the number one player in the class.

While Barrett is still two years from even hitting the college ranks, several of his Canadian teammates will be making their impacts felt as early as next season. Lindell Wigginton, a former ESPN Top 50 recruit will head to Aimes and play for Steve Prohm and Iowa State. Meanwhile 6’6 forward Abu Kigab will join Oregon, a Final Four team from last season.

Highly prominent prep schools like Monteverde, Huntington Prep, Oak Hill and Findlay Prep have given Canadian players a stage on which to shine on at the high school level. Many of the names listed above have played for one of these schools on their way to the NBA, or high Division 1 schools.

Slowly but surely, the world is becoming more familiar with the talent that exists in the county sitting atop ours. With Steve Nash at the helm, and a growing group of talented youth, Canada Basketball has a lot to be excited about.

Undiscovered Vol. 1: From Unknown to Recruited

With the game of basketball constantly evolving and progressing, we are starting to see the talent pool of high school basketball vastly deepen. Consistently playing above the rim, sinking NBA range threes, and no-look pocket passes are a few of the skill sets we are getting accustomed to seeing on a daily basis. So many players are good now a days. Some of them are really good. But skill level and potential don’t mean much unless you are seen.

A lot of college level players stay under the radar throughout their careers. It may be because of a certain location, not playing on one of the popular AAU circuits, or a delayed growth spurt; some players don’t end up getting the exposure they need to get to the next level.

Hoop Group Elite camps offer the chance for players to cancel out all of the factors above and get the opportunity to show what they can do in front of the people that need to see. Hoop Group has had many players come to camp with little or no interest and leave with college interest and scholarship offers. The following are a few that have come through in the past few years.


  • Gabe Stefanini

Gabe Stefanini came to all three elite sessions in the summer of 2016 holding only one offer as he started the live period. After his successful summer playing in camp, he had a long list of sixteen Division One offers! He eventually narrowed his choices to Santa Clara, Princeton, St. Bonaventure, and Columbia before committing to play at Columbia University in the fall.

  • Keve Aluma

Keve Aluma came in a relative unknown in the summer of 2016. After playing in Elite 1, he made an impression on over ten Division One schools. One of those ten, Wofford College was the school that Keve ended up committing to. He will be playing in the black and gold this season and hopes to continue on Wofford’s success in the Southern Conference.

  • Josip Vrankic

Coming from Canada, Josip didn’t have much interest from schools in the US before coming to the Elite 1 session. After the week, it was an entirely different story. Josip blew up at camp and drew offers from over ten Division One programs. He decided to take his talents west as he will enroll at Santa Clara University of the WCC.

  • Sandro Mamukelashvili

Sandro Mamukelashvili first game in the United States as at Hoop Group Elite Session 1. At the beginning of that session, he held zero D1 offers.  After the week, he was offered scholarships from five high major schools and will be suiting up for Seton Hall University next season.

  • Devin Jensen

Devin Jensen brought his sharp shooting abilities to Elite Session 1 and Team Camp in the summer of 2016. There he was seen by Coach Joey Gallo of Merrimack College. Over the five days Coach Gallo began recruiting Devin who he ended up committing to the Warriors on a full scholarship. Jensen will be a name to watch in the NE-10 these next four years.

  • Matt Faw

Matt Faw held just one Division 1 offer coming into the Academic 2 session at the end of July. After the week, he not only led his team to the league’s championship game, but also picked up offers from five Ivy/Patriot League schools. Matt eventually committed to play for the Crusaders of Holy Cross and will be playing for them this upcoming winter.

  • Michael Myers

Michael Myers injury last March caused him to miss the entire spring season. With the chance of a derailed recruitment, Michael decided to come to Elite camp; he had zero interest at the time from schools at the next level. Through his time at camp, he had the chance to catch the eye of every high academic school on the east coast. Michael eventually found a home at Williams College in of the NESCAC and will be an integral piece of the Ephs as they look to build upon an already historic tradition.


College Coaches: Stay tuned to the Hoop Group Undiscovered series as we try to predict who this year’s hidden gems are!

Silvio De Sousa Shines on Day One at FAA Camp

Silvio De Sousa 3

Pat Lawless (@GiveNGobball)


Class of 2018 power forward Silvio De Sousa stole the show with some incredible performances to kick off Future All American Camp. He moved to the United States from the African Country of Angola six months ago. In a short period of time he has already made a big impact in the U.S. and is isn’t looking back as he is headed to national powerhouse Montverde Academy (FL).

“It’s going to be good for me and fun next year with them,” said De Sousa. “I am just very ready and excited to play next season for them. I just need to work hard and follow in the footsteps of Ben Simmons to be one of the best in the country.”

He says he looks up two players that have both made a huge impact in the NBA.

“The two players I look at for my game are LeBron James and Shawn Kemp,” he told MADE Hoops.

The class of 2018 standout is looking to get a lot out of the rest of camp.

“I just want to do everything I can here and show my work ethic,” he said. “I want to really work here with my teammates. There are really good players here so I really want to play well. I want to learn to be disciplined, humble and be ready to do whatever my coaches say I should do.”

De Sousa is quite the talent and really heightened the intensity early at FAA. Expect to hear a lot more about him the following days.