The 6-4 Russell was considered the top college prospect in a Class of 2014 loaded with talent all across the state of Kentucky.
“He’s happy about it,” the father said. “He’s 15 and he understands what he has to do for his future. And for me this is more about his grades than basketball. My main thing is that he has to get good grades. He’s been doing all right, but he slipped a bit and I think this will be the best place for him to grow and mature for the future.”
The elder Russell said a prep school had been talked about prior to this school year but it only became official when the family went to the Orlando area to check out the school.
Montverde is No. 7 in USA TODAY’s Super 25 preseason basketball rankings and is coached by Kevin Boyle, who left Elizabeth, N.J., St. Patrick for there after last season. He coached Kentucky freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at St. Patrick and went 26-1 last season.
At Montverde, Russell will join former Lexington Sayre big man Dakari Johnson, considered one of the top five 2014 prospects in the country.
“He’ll be able to play against great competition in practice and they play a national schedule,” Antonio Russell said. “But the main part for me was the academics. It’s such a great academic situation that he could go there and forget about basketball and come back as the next Steve Jobs. It’s a win-win situation for him.”
Russell started last season for Central and helped the Yellowjackets to a 15-10 record. He played for the Louisville Magic AAU team during the spring and summer and gained national attention by helping that team win several national events.
Russell has scholarship offers from Louisville, Indiana, Xavier and Purdue and has also been contacted by Ohio State and Kentucky. He’s ranked among the top 20 prospects nationally in the 2014 class.
“He’s a special, special player and I wish him the best,” Central coach Doug Bibby said. “He has a chance to be the best player from around here in a while. He’s a good one.”