by Kevin Grogan
Montverde Academy basketball point guard Cade Cunningham has taken over the number one spot as the very top prep basketball player in the country! After a dominant summer showcase, Cunningham now sets his sight on being the court leader on a very talented rich MVA roster. As the new high school basketball season approaches, the Tablet was lucky enough to be invited to the Montverde Academy Nest and check-in with Cunningham after a tough practice on Halloween night as he prepares for a run at a High School National Championship.
Tablet: A brand new 2020 season for your Montverde Eagles basketball team. Always work to be done on & off the court. What are some of the key things that you & your teammates will continue to work on in the next month as you begin the campaign to play for the National Title?
Cunningham: I think the biggest thing for us is that we are a completely new group of guys. Not very much chemistry starting out right now. We are just getting to know each other & learning each other. We have so many really amazing players coming off the bench that we are really looking forward to playing fast with quick rotations so the chemistry is very important.
Tablet: What’s different about this year’s squad compared to last year?
Cunningham: Three new starters; but our depth is a lot better. Look for a lot of guys in and out of the game; fast pace. The whole team is so talented; we’re all working hard trying to earn minutes (playing time). It is going to be a fun season!
Tablet: Exciting news for you moving up as the number ONE high school player in the whole country for the 2020 class. How has the college recruiting process been thus far?
Cunningham: I really try to have fun with it. A lot of players get stressed out and that gets overwhelming. My recruiting has been a bit different with my family’s very involved, but I have really made an effort to stay off twitter and social media. I think that has helped keep me grounded & keep a clear head.
Tablet: Your brother Cannen is an assistant coach for Oklahoma State. That has to be kind of neat enjoying the process. Can you talk about your September 6th visit to Stillwater, Oklahoma?
Cunningham: The coolest thing about that weekend is seeing Cannen do what he loves to do (coach). Being there to see that, really made me happy. But it was definitely a great visit; having my whole family there for it was definitely special.
Tablet: Last year you were, without a doubt, the “quarterback” on the floor for your basketball team last year and, obviously, even more so this year. Coming from a bit of a football background in Texas, are there a lot of parallels for you, specifically, in the two sports?
Cunningham: Yes, I see so many parallels, especially playing point guard now. The biggest thing is leading the team and helping this team become as great as their potential. Obviously, in football, you have to lead ten guys and in basketball, you only have to lead four guys making it a bit more manageable. But leading has always been a fun challenge for me. I really enjoy picking the game apart, being a student of the game, and helping the other guys see what can make us better.
Cunningham: Well I am from Arlington, Texas so I really enjoy the heat. As far as Montverde, the structure and the people have really helped me so much. It has definitely prepared me for college and for life.
Tablet: How do you see your role this year compared to last year.
Cunningham: My biggest goal is to win a National Championship here. With that, it is my job to bring this team together.
Tablet: With this being said, do you have any player-led meetings?
Cunningham: For sure. Moses Moody and I were the two juniors last year. We have been in this system and feel like we know what is ahead of us. Scotty Barnes is another addition this year that is a natural leader. Between the three of us, I feel like we have a tremendous core of senior leaders. Coach Boyle and Coach Miller let us lead the way we need to.
Tablet: Finally, do you have a message for your fellow South Lake Tablet readers?
Cunningham: This year I am more excited than ever to play with a team. It is such an unselfish team; I can promise you it’s gonna be exciting and fast. This is the year to come out and watch some Montverde basketball.
MONTVERDE ACADEMY VARSITY BASKETBALL SCHEDULE 2019-20
Tuesday, November 19 Purple & Gold Game, The EdgeCenter 6:30 p.m.
Friday, November 22 Dr. Phillips/NFEI/Dillard (Preseason), The EdgeCenter 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 23 Dr. Phillips/NFEI/Dillard (Preseason), The EdgeCenter 7:30 p.m.
November 28 – 30 Thanksgiving Hoopfest, Dallas, Texas
Friday, December 6 Lakewood/Trinity/New Hope, The EdgeCenter 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 7 Minneola/Trinity/New Hope, The EdgeCenter 2:00 p.m.
Tuesday, December 10 Tampa Catholic, The EdgeCenter 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, December 12 DeMatha (ESPN), The EdgeCenter TBD
December 18 –23 City of Palms, Fort Myers, Florida
December 27 –28 John Wall Invitational, Raleigh, NC
January 3 – 4 ARS Hoopfest, Memphis, Tennessee
January 10 – 11 Beach Blast, Toms River, New Jersey
January 17 – 20 Hoophall, Springfield, Massachusetts
January 23 – 25 Montverde Academy Invitational Tournament, The EdgeCenter , TBD
January 30 – February 1 St. James Invitational, Hagerstown, Maryland
Kevin Grogan is a contributing sportswriter for the. South Lake Tablet. Kevin and Kimberly are owners of Dash-Sports