Posted On: 11/4/19 12:35 PM

Florida high school basketball is loaded with athletes and college prospects right across the board and Montverde fits that description, but the diverse collection of talent is unlike any other school in the state and country for that matter. Montverde’s 2019-2020 roster boasts players from 10 different countries including Uruguay, USA, Puerto Rico, Chile, Norway, Mexico, Nigeria, Trinidad, Egypt and Russia. This year’s group has been regarded as being “the most international team in the country.” Many of these players are competitors for their home country’s national teams and came to Montverde for the high level education and basketball instruction/college exposure that is provided.

Montverde Academy is a college preparatory school, founded in 1912. Students from over 90 countries around the world attend the school from pre-k-12th grade. Montverde’s boarding program serves 7th-12th graders and most of the girls basketball players are a part of the boarding program. The school has long prided itself on education and has a 100% college acceptance rate for seniors. As far as athletic facilities go, Montverde has a 44,000 square-foot athletic fieldhouse with the multiple basketball facilities, a 4,400 square-foot strength and conditioning performance center, a rehabilitation center and much more that is accessible for the student-athletes.

The program has seen the likes of current Louisville freshman Ramani Parker, SMU’s Bri Tollie and multiple other Division 1 signees from the program. Numerous Division 1 coaches from a variety of conferences have already been on campus to check out this year’s group. Newly hired Head Coach Laura Harper has taken over the program and has high expectations for her squad. “People will see an uptempo, disciplined team that likes to shoot it. We will play about 11-12 deep and hope to challenge the depth of other teams with our next “woman” up mentality.”

Coach Harper demands excellence from her players and her resume gives her demands some extra weight on and off the court. Hailing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Laura Harper grew up playing for the esteemed Philly Belles as a 6’5 dominant force. She would go on to the University of Maryland where she was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2006 Final Four, while winning a National Championship. Following a successful collegiate career, Laura was drafted 10th overall in the WNBA Draft. She embarked on a 5 year professional career before getting into college coaching. She had multiple stops at the Division 1 level, including her most recent college position at the University of Florida, before taking the Montverde job. Laura’s #15 jersey is retired at Maryland and she is an ACC Legends Hall of Fame inductee. She described Montverde as “the best job in America” upon taking the position. She told Prep Girls Hoops, “My goals for leading this team are to WIN, lead by example and help promote an empowering growth mindset for these upcoming women leaders.”

Roster Preview:

Guards- 

2021 5’6 G Carolina Fernandez Nion (Uruguay) – Floor leader with exceptional passing ability, loves to shoot behind screens, High IQ/High Motor.

2020 5’5 G Nina De Leon (Puerto Rico) – Quick, fiery, decisive scoring PG w/range to 3, qualified with PR national team to go to the World Championships.

2020 5’5 G Erin Dumas (IL, USA) – Quick combo guard with a deadly 1st step, can get to the rim with ease both ways, range to 3.

2020 5’7 G Nadecka Reyes (Puerto Rico) – Strong, scoring combo guard who excels in the open floor. Will shoot the 3 if left open. Pure playmaker.

2022 5’11 G Fernanda Ovalle (Chile) – Can play 1-4, excels in the open floor, finishes exceptionally well around the basket. Averaged 18pts and 13rbs for Chile this past summer in FIBA Americas tournament.

2021 6’1 G Maria Myklebust (Norway) – Versatile shooting guard that can play multiple positions. Strong, physical frame.

2021 6’0 G Niveya Henley (WA, USA) – Lefty, versatile G/F with a quick release to 3, strong build, will post up smaller defenders, uses her uncanny footwork to outsmart and score around defenders with ease. *Butler Commit

Forwards- 

2021 6’2 F Mariana Valenzuela (Mexico) – Versatile forward with exceptional footwork and handles, tremendous offensive rebounder and finisher around the rim. Averaged 13pts and 15rbs during the FIBA Americas championship in Chile.

2020 6’3 F Kayla Morris (NY, USA) – Strong face up game, very comfortable attacking the rim off one or two dribbles. Finishes with ease through contact. *East Carolina commit

2020 6’0 F Caleigh Rose-West (FL, USA) – Lefty face up forward with range to 3, amazing lateral quicks, attacks rim hard and finishes with both hands

2021 5’11 F Valentina Ojeda (Chile) – Versatile forward with range to 3 and a quick release. High IQ, finishes well around the rim.

2020 6’3 F Ksyusha Kozlova (Russia) – Strong and imposing interior presence on both sides of the ball. Very good work ethic. Suffered HS career ending knee injury. *Will make a college decision very soon