By his former coach’s admission, point guard Ahmaad Rorie is moving up to bigger challenges – in basketball and in life.
The two-time News Tribune All-Area first team guard, including player of the year in 2011-12, announced Tuesday he is leaving Lincoln High School to attend prestigious Montverde Academy in Florida.
Montverde, located 25 miles outside Orlando, finished last season as the top-ranked high school boys’ basketball program in the country by USA Today and ESPN.com.
“The coaches from Findlay Prep (Nev.) and Montverde has been talking to him the last couple months,” Lincoln coach Aubrey Shelton said. “The reasoning behind (leaving) – it’s another step up, another level up.”
The 6-foot-2 guard, and California commit, Rorie led Clover Park to the Class 2A state title as a ninth grader in 2010-11. The Warriors went back to state the next season, but were upset in the state quarterfinals. He did score a career-high 46 points later in the tournament.
After that season, his family moved to Tacoma – and Rorie transferred to Lincoln. Teamed with Colorado-bound Tre’Shaun Fletcher, the Abes won the Narrows 3A, and ended up finishing third in the Class 3A championships in March.
Shelton said Rorie had planned all along to return for his senior season. But once the opportunity to enroll at Montverde came up, he looked into it. In fact, Rorie and his mother, Rhonetta Thomas, visited the private school’s campus two weekends ago (May 10-12).
Rorie declined The News Tribune’s interview request Tuesday to speak about his decision, but his mother did give offer insight.
“Honestly, it was something we talked about in the beginning of high school – a goal perhaps later to look at,” Thomas said. “It was not a spare-of-the-moment decision. It took a lot of planning. I have always talked to my son about moving away, and growing up.”
Regarded just as highly for its academics than basketball program, Montverde is different from other private college-preparatory schools such as Findlay Prep, where former Bellarmine Prep standout Avery Bradley attended, or South Kent School (Conn.) where ex-Curtis star Isaiah Thomas transferred to.
To even be considered, Rorie – who is ranked the 13th-best point guard in the class of 2014 by ESPN.com – had to hold well over a 3.0 grade-point average, and submit multiple letters of recommendation.
In his case, the move makes sense: Rorie gets to play basketball with, and against other NCAA Division I basketball prospects, and his academic course load will be similar to what he will experience at Cal.
Rorie will play an abbreviated summer schedule with his AAU team – the Northwest Panthers. He then will travel with a U.S. all-star team, sponsored by Adidas, to play a tour of games in Italy.
In August, Rorie enrolls at Montverde, and will live on-campus.
“The best of the best get this opportunity,” Shelton said. “It would be really hard to pass up.”