In April, Prep Rally reported on longtime St. Patrick (N.J.) High basketball coach Kevin Boyle's decision to leave his longtime perch at the program he built to national prominence for a similar spot at Montverde (Fla.) Academy. Now one of his most promising St. Patrick players will be joining him in Florida, but he'll have to sit out an entire season of basketball to do so.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Dakari Johnson, one of the most highly touted big man prospects in the Class of 2014, is leaving New Jersey to join up with Boyle at Montverde. To do so, Johnson will be forced to sit out the entire 2011-12 season in accordance with a Florida High School Athletic Association bylaw which is designed to keep players from following their former coaches to new jobs they may take.
Johnson's enrollment for the 2011-12 school year was confirmed to the Sentinel by Montverde Academy headmaster Kasey Kesselring, who also confirmed that the FHSAA rule which stipulates any player following his coach to a different school is ineligible for a full academic year would apply to Johnson at Montverde.
Evidently that FHSAA rule does not distinguish between coaches taking new jobs within the state of Florida and those who arrive from another state.
While Johnson will not be able to compete in the coming year, his emergence as a part of the Boyle's program will serve as a statement of Montverde's intent to compete on the national basketball scene, if Boyle's hiring hadn't done that already. It also seems extremely unlikely that Johnson will be the first high profile player to join Boyle's project of building up the Montverde program in Florida.
What may be more interesting is to see what Boyle's Montverde team can accomplish in the 2011-12 season, before Johnson and any other St. Patrick prospects arrive in time for the 2012-13 campaign.
Boyle has always been given credit for his ability both to attract and mold talent, and any strides Montverde makes in his first year at the helm in Florida will almost certainly be a testament to his developmental prowess rather than to the positive credit he's built up for his past accomplishments.