Lincoln Park Academy (Fort Pierce)
is not exactly synonymous with basketball success in Florida.
Since opening nearly a century ago, the academic magnet school has reached the FHSAA state tournament just four times and didn't notch its first — and still only — victory until 2004.
But the Greyhounds' fortunes may be on the verge of changing in a big way.
That's because 6-foot-10 eighth-grader E.J. Montgomery
is leaning toward remaining at Lincoln Park, where he played varsity basketball during the 2013-14 season.
But the summer recruiting game is just heating up.
According to Montgomery's father, Efrem Sr., at least five high school programs have made overtures. One high-profile prep coach followed him intently during an adidas event last month in Orlando.
Though it isn't out of the question that E.J. will suit up for another school next season, Efrem isn't keen on the idea of his 14-yeard-old son leaving home — good news for Lincoln Park and second-year head coach Justin Dussault.
"It doesn't matter where he plays," Dussault said. "He could be in Alaska, Wyoming or Montana and people would find him."
Plenty of college programs already have. Dussault told MaxPreps that roughly 20 Division I schools have already inquired about the promising youngster.
All of the attention might be overwhelming for some, but the Montgomery family has been down this road before. Efrem and wife Glenda, who have both coached extensively, played at North Carolina Central.
E.J. also has two older sisters playing Division I basketball. Brittni will be a redshirt senior at Central Florida next year after pulling down nearly nine rebounds per game as a junior. Brandy averaged 11.4 points per game in her first year at Auburn, earning a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team.
"I was ready, but it's been a little more than I expected," E.J. said of the attention he has received.
Montgomery spent the spring "playing up" with the Atlanta Celtics 17-and-under squad. He's appeared in 13 contests on the adidas Gauntlet circuit, averaging slightly over four points and three rebounds per game.
"It's been good for him," Dussault said. "He's not able to go out there and dominate but he's held his own with guys like Thon Maker. He's rebounded well, defended well and shown that he belongs there."
His 6-10 frame and early reviews from scouts have landed him at No. 4 in Future150.com's Class of 2018 rankings
"It's not about rankings for E.J. He just wants to be the best player he can be," Dussault said.
Incredibly, the site lists Montgomery as a small forward. Dussault doesn't think that projection is off the mark.
"He's a true wing and even played some point guard for us last year," said Dussault, a former Division II college coach. "He's got a really high basketball IQ and he's a fluid athlete. E.J. moves like a 6-foot-1 guard."
Montgomery's summer schedule will be a busy one, with at least two West Coast trips in the works for adidas events. Hopefully he finds some time to be 14 along the way.