We continue our 2013-14 team previews with an in-depth look at Arlington Country Day, a team with aspirations of becoming the second consecutive Florida program to win the mythical FAB 50 national title. Throughout October, we’ll preview many of the top teams from across the country as a countdown to the release of our preseason 2013-14 Student Sports FAB 50.
Note: All information that follows came from a questionnaire that was sent to and returned by the school’s head coach. If you would like your school to be profiled, please return the questionnaire that was mailed out earlier this month or it can be filled out online.
Team Name: Arlington Country Day School (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Head Coach: Rex Morgan (448-78 at ACD, 824-167 overall)
2012-13 Record: 30-4
Final Ranking: No. 34 (FAB 50) No. 6 (Southeast)
Returning Starters: 4
Returning Lettermen: 6
Players Most Deserving of Preseason Honors: SF Brandone Francis 6-5 2014 (No. 52 Hoop Scoop Top 100, Florida commit), PF Dante Buford 6-8 2014 (No. 63 Hoop Scoop Top 100, South Carolina, Miami, Oklahoma offers).
Newcomers Who Could Make An Impact: G Lamonte Turner 6-2 2016, PF LaDamion Keys 6-9 2014 (No. 87 Hoop Scoop Top 100), CG Ladarius Chester 6-2 2014, PG Nate Mason 6-0 2014.
Coach’s General Outlook: I think our team has very few weaknesses. I like our speed to push the ball and our overall quickness. We also have added depth and improved our defense with our new additions. We also have experience and are a smart basketball team. We will be improved from last year and the addition of Mason I feel pushes us towards the top five.
Events Scheduled To Play In: Florida Hoop Challenge (Orlando, Fla.) vs. Prime Prep Academy (Dallas), Wild Wings National Classic (Charlotte, N.C.), Penny Hardaway Hoopfest (Memphis) vs. Christian Brothers (Memphis) vs. Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.), Chic-Fil-A Clasic (Columbia, S.C.), Hoophall Classic (Springfield, Mass.) vs. St. Benedict’s (Newark, N.J.), IMG Invitational (Brandenton, Fla.).
Team(s) On Schedule Deserving of Ranking: Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.), Prime Prep Academy (Dallas), Providence (Jacksonville, Fla.).
StudentSportsBasketball.com Comments: This team lost to The Rock of Gainesville in last year’s Sunshine Independent Athletic Association final and should start out the season as the SIAA’s top-ranked program. The other two losses were to Mr. Basketball USA Andrew Wiggins (Kansas) and his team at Huntington Prep of West Virginia. Brandone Francis gives coach Rex Morgan a legitimate All-American candidate and a go-to player in crunch time. The other five returning lettermen give Morgan the experience to win the big games on its schedule, but it’s the newcomers that have the veteran coach excited about ACD’s chances of climbing towards the top of the rankings. LaDamion Keys was one of the breakout players on the summer circuit and the bouncy forward adds athleticism to ACD’s frontcourt. Ladarius Chester will contribute at both guard spots and the late addition of Nate Mason, who will choose between Kansas State and Minnesota, has Morgan excited to get the season going. Arlington Country Day will play a national championship caliber schedule, but if the pieces don’t jell as quickly as Morgan anticipates, the Apaches could slide back down a few notches as quickly as they could rise.
Fast Fact: Before Montverde Academy earned the No. 1 final ranking in last year’s FAB 50, no Florida program had ever finished ranked No. 1 in the nation since the National Sports News Service (the rankings where the FAB 50 originated from) began end-of-the-season ratings in 1952. Just prior to the 2010-11 school year, Arlington Country Day withdrew from the Florida High School Athletic Association and wasn’t allowed to compete against FHSAA-member schools. ACD wasn’t eligible for the FAB 50 since it wasn’t recognized by a governing body, but that changed last season when the Sunshine Independent Athletic Association crowned its first state champion. Beginning July 1, 2012, the Florida Legislature put into law a bill that allowed inter-association play between the SIAA and the FHSAA, thus making SIAA programs eligible for the FAB 50. While a member of the FHSAA, ACD won a record-tying five consecutive state titles between 2005 and 2009.
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RELATED: FAB 50 Consideration Form
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