MONTVERDE, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - In just a few weeks, one of the premiere high school boys basketball programs in Central Florida, and in the country, will take their skills to China. They say they won’t repeat the mistakes of other American players.
Montverde Academy is set to play next month in a major international tournament in Beijing. Their coach, Kevin Boyle, has taken the trip three times before with previous teams, but said this time the trip is bringing a whole new set of questions after recent events.
"People will ask us, do we talk to our kids about the situation we're having with the UCLA players,” said Coach Boyle.
In that very recent event, three UCLA players were locked up for a week in China after being accused of shoplifting. It took requests directly from President Trump to get those players released without a stiff penalty. Boyle said his players are being reminded of the stakes for trouble there.
"Obviously we remind kids: that they're representing their family, they're representing the school, and their representing the country,” said Boyle.
However, players on the team said it won’t be an issue. The prestigious school and basketball program has graduated future college and NBA stars in recent years and many of the students themselves come from other countries to attend the academy.
Boyle’s basketball program even has a player from China, and he said their crew plan to scout for future prospects while at the tournament. Causing trouble appears low on the minds of the team.
"I mean, I think we all know what we're going to have to do,” said Senior Andrew Nembhard.
"Their parents have taught them well, the school's taught them well, so we expect that behavior's 100 percent going to carry over,” said Boyle.