The Lexington Catholic Knights will be treated to some swanky surroundings when they make the trip to Montverde Academy to play one of the best teams in the country Friday night.
Montverde, a school in Florida, will debut a brand new state-of-the-art basketball facility for Friday’s game.
Montverde Coach Kevin Boyle spent the last few days going over the team’s new digs — which he said cost about $6 million — and sounded more than pleased with what he’s seen.
“We have an incredible facility that was built here,” Boyle told the Herald-Leader on Thursday. “The weight room is state of the art. The guy who put the weight room in just did the Lakers’ and thought it was every bit as good as the Lakers’ weight room.
“I played at Seton Hall, and it’s a better on-campus facility than Seton Hall. Georgetown, Providence, La Salle, Villanova — I mean, it’s a better on-campus facility than any of those places.”
The arena features a dual-level mezzanine section that stretches from the baseline to past midcourt. There’s VIP seating, a center-court TV studio enclosed in glass and three cameras permanently attached to the ceiling.
The facility seats about 1,600 people, 2,000 when you count standing-room-only spots. Boyle said that’s more than enough room for the Florida boarding school.
“I don’t know of any high school in the country that has a better facility.”
Montverde will host a national tournament in January, and Boyle is hoping the school can parlay its new gym into a bigger, made-for-ESPN event sometime in the near future.
As for Friday’s game, it will be a contest that pits one of the best teams in Kentucky against one of the best teams in the country.
The Knights, led by senior Jack Whitman, is ranked No. 8 in the state and should contend for another 11th Region title this season. Montverde is home to Florida commitment Kasey Hill and Kentucky recruiting targets Dakari Johnson and D’Angelo Russell. The Eagles are rated No. 2 in the nation by ESPN.com.
Boyle said he’s familiar with Lexington Catholic from his days coaching St. Patrick High in New Jersey, where his star players included Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Kyrie Irving.
“I know they have a rich tradition of basketball,” Boyle said of LexCath. “I know the kids know how to play. I know they love basketball. So we definitely respect them coming in. They usually shoot the ball well and understand the game well. So those teams concern me.”