Montverde Academy of Florida captures second consecutive Student Sports FAB 50 title by virtue of winning 27 of 28 games on the court against murderous schedule to edge Mater Dei of California. Montverde Academy, which does not compete for a state title, closed out its season by winning Dick’s Nationals tournament in New York while Mater Dei ties a state record by capturing fourth consecutive state title with program’s first unbeaten state championship club. Read on for explanation of Montverde-Mater Dei debate and check back later this week for expanded FAB 50 rankings with writeups of all 50 teams.
By Ronnie Flores & Mark Tennis
Contributing: Doug Huff
Entering the Dick’s Sporting Goods National High School Tournament in New York, three teams had a chance to capture the 2013-14 mythical national title for boys high school basketball: FAB 50 No. 1 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.), No. 2 Rainier Beach (Seattle) and No. 3 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.). Mater Dei would have jumped Rainier Beach in the FAB 50 had the Vikings season ended with a Washington state title, but before the state tournament ended for Rainier Beach, the Vikings were allowed to participate in the Dick’s Nationals and since they had the opportunity to win a tournament Montverde was entered in the switch wasn’t made after all.
On a national stage, Rainier Beach lost 67-59 in the opening round to No. 5 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) to drop four spots in the final rankings. Mater Dei, of course, wasn’t allowed to participate per its state association guidelines. As for Montverde Academy, the Eagles bested No. 12 Sagemont (Weston, Fla.) 81-63, Huntington St. Joseph Prep (Huntington, W. Va.) 56-61 and No. 3 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 71-62 in Saturday’s title game at Madison Square Garden. By defeating three quality opponents to close out its season, Montverde Academy retained its No. 1 ranking in the Student Sports FAB 50 and today has been named the mythical national champion by Student Sports. For Montverde, it’s the program’s second consecutive FAB 50 No. 1 finish and national title after becoming the first-ever program from the state of Florida to earn a national No. 1 ranking in 2013.
What About The Curie “Loss”?
With Montverde earning the No. 1 ranking, that means a one-loss team was chosen No. 1 over an unbeaten team from a power state, which doesn’t happen often. Montverde Academy lost on-the-court to Curie (Chicago), which rode a show-stopping performance from Mr. Basketball USA candidate Cliff Alexander to pull off the upset at the Hoophall Classic over MLK weekend. Curie was elevated to No. 1 in the FAB 50 after beating the FAB 50’s preseason No. 1 team and the consensus national No. 1. Montverde Academy dropped to No. 2 in the FAB 50 that week and at no time was Mater Dei ever ranked ahead of Montverde.
We’ve always accounted forfeit wins and losses by listing ranked teams with their “on-court” record since the FAB 50 began for the 1999-2000 season. In no way, shape or form are we giving Montverde Academy “credit” for a Curie win in the analysis versus Mater Dei. McDonald’s All-American guard D’Angelo Russell of Montverde told us he looks at that game as a loss and we’re sure his teammates do, too. Jamie DeMoney of PrepNation.com kept Curie at No. 1 even after the loss to Curie and before the forfeit was announced. MaxPreps.com had Mater Dei No. 1 in its human poll after MLK Monday and the Monarchs finished No. 1 this week. USA Today had Mater Dei No. 1 in its rankings after the Curie forfeits were announced, but it flipped its order around, essentially crediting Montverde Academy with a “win” and dropping its No. 1 team without it losing on the court.
Mater Dei is deserving of the program’s first mythical national title after winning California’s CIF Open Division state title, but as veteran rankings compilers we feel the Eagles’ overall resume trumps Mater Dei’s by a whisker. We are not justifying ranking Montverde Academy ahead of Mater Dei by rewarding the Eagles for a game they lost on the court or by adjusting rankings based on forfeit wins or losses.
Why Montverde Academy?
Montverde Academy was our preseason No. 1 team and even with mid-season personnel changes, it was the most talented team we saw either live or in person this season. Montverde coach Kevin Boyle felt this year’s team was every bit a good as last year’s No. 1 team, which was better on the interior with this team being a bit more perimeter oriented. Boyle clearly put together a schedule designed for a No. 1 team and went 10-1 on-the-court during a 11-game stretch playing across the country against some of the nation’s best teams. Not including Curie and Huntington St. Joseph Prep (which would be a top 10 team in the FAB 50 if eligible), Montverde Academy defeated 16 teams that were at some point ranked or included in the final FAB 50, including No. 15 Providence (Jacksonville, Fla.) twice. Other teams it beat included No. 3 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), No. 10 Northside Christian Academy (Charlotte, N.C.), No. 11 Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.), No. 12 Sagemont (Weston, Fla.), No. 15 St. Joseph (Metuchen, N.J.), No. 38 White Station (Memphis, Tenn.) and No. 45 Tift County (Tifton, Ga.). That’s quite impressive for a team with a big bulls-eye on its back. In every game it played this season, Montverde Academy was the favorite no matter what tournament it played in or what part of the country the game was played at.
Mater Dei defeated 12 teams that were at some point ranked or included in the final FAB 50, including No. 35 Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) twice and a St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) club that underachieved from a national standpoint twice. Mater Dei also defeated No. 7 Whitney Young (Chicago), No. 25 Nuemann-Goretti (Philadelphia) and No. 28 Etiwanda (Etiwanda, Calif.). In the regular season, Mater Dei defeated seven of those 12 ranked teams. Its run to the California Open Division state title was quite impressive, just not impressive enough to surpass the resume of Montverde.
Updated Student Sports FAB 50
Boys Basketball National Team Rankings
(Final poll of the 2013-14 regular season; Through games played on Saturday, April 5; Previous ranking in parentheses; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included)
|1||1||Montverde Academy||(Montverde, Fla.)||27-1*|
|2||3||Mater Dei||(Santa Ana, Calif.)||35-0|
|3||6||Oak Hill Academy||(Mouth of Wilson, Va.)||41-4|
|4||8||Arsenal Tech||(Indianapolis, Ind.)||27-2|
|5||14||Findlay Prep||(Henderson, Nev.)||31-5|
|9||10||Greater Atlanta Christian||(Norcross, Ga.)||32-0|
|10||4||Northside Christian Academy||(Charlotte, N.C.)||28-1|
|11||12||Paul VI||(Fairfax, Va.)||31-6|
|13||13||Bishop Gorman||(Las Vegas)||28-4*|
|15||20||St. Joseph||(Metuchen, N.J.)||30-2|
|17||17||Corona del Sol||(Tempe, Ariz.)||33-1|
|18||18||City College||(Baltimore, Md.)||27-0|
|19||19||North Shore||(Galena, Texas)||35-3|
|20||11||La Lumiere||(La Porte, Ind.)||23-3|
|22||22||Orlando Christian Prep||(Orlando, Fla.)||30-1|
|24||24||East Side||(Newark, N.J.)||30-2|
|29||28||Arlington Country Day||(Jacksonville, Fla.)||30-5*|
|30||30||Blue Valley Northwest||(Overland Park, Kan.)||24-2|
|31||31||New Castle||(New Castle, Pa.)||31-0|
|32||32||West Linn||(West Linn, Ore.)||24-4|
|33||33||Sunrise Christian Academy||(Bel Aire, Kan.)||14-5|
|34||34||Prime Prep Academy||(Ft. Worth, Texas)||21-6|
|35||36||Bishop O'Dowd||(Oakland, Calif.)||28-5|
|38||38||White Station||(Memphis, Tenn.)||30-3|
|40||39||De Soto||(De Soto, Texas)||31-4|
|41||40||Lone Peak||(Highland, Utah)||23-3|
|42||41||Monte Vista||(Danville, Calif.)||32-1|
|43||42||Lakeville North||(Lakeville, Minn.)||27-5|
|44||43||Apple Valley||(Apple Valley, Minn.)||27-2|
|45||44||Tift County||(Tifton, Ga.)||29-3|
|46||45||Christ the King||(Middle Village, N.Y.)||25-6|
|48||47||Denver East||(Denver, Colo.)||24-4|
(*Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included)
Dropped Out: Previous No. 48 Chino Hills (Chino Hills, Calif.).
Bubble Teams: Allentown Central Catholic (Allentown, Pa.) 29-1; Benet Academy (Lisle, Ill.) 25-8; Cape Henry Collegiate (Virginia Beach, Va.) 26-1; Capital Christian (Sacramento, Calif.) 28-4; Cardinal Hayes (Bronx, N.Y.) 26-2; Cardozo (Bayside, N.Y.) 30-3; Chino Hills (Chino Hills, Calif.) 29-6; Christian Brothers (St. Louis, Mo.) 24-7; Covington Catholic (Park Hills, Ky.) 32-2; DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) 29-6; De La Salle (Minneapolis, Minn.) 26-3; Greensboro Day (Greensboro, N.C.) 29-5; Hamilton (Memphis, Tenn.) 22-7; J.W. North (Riverside, Calif.) 26-2*; Jonesboro (Jonesboro, Ark.) 30-3; La Salle College (Wyndmoor, Pa.) 23-7; Lincoln (Brooklyn, N.Y.) 26-4; Linden (Linden, N.J.) 27-5; Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio) 24-2; Morgan Park (Chicago, Ill.) 24-6; Natchidoches Central (Natchidoches, La.) 29-2; North Little Rock (North Little Rock, Ark.) 26-2; Parkview (Little Rock, Ark.) 29-2; Potomac (Dumfries, Va.) 28-1; Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.) 21-10; Scott County (Georgetown, Ky.) 35-4; Simeon (Chicago, Ill.) 21-7*; St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio) 26-2; Trotwood-Madison (Trotwood, Ohio) 25-3; Upper Arlington (Upper Arlington, Ohio) 27-2; Wando (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.) 25-4; Wesleyan Christian Academy (High Point, N.C.) 24-9; Westchester (Los Angeles, Calif.) 30-7; Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) 29-6; Wise (Upper Marlboro, Md.) 24-2.