Prep Tour: Fork Union

Fletcher Arritt has a fun group down at Fork Union. The coach has a lot of wing talent, one big time scorer and an SEC-bound post player to lean on as FUMA tackles a tough schedule.

FORK UNION, Va. - When it comes to prep schools and post graduate years, everyone seems to have a story. Down at Fork Union Military Academy, Fletcher Arritt has one of his best teams in recent years and his top player, guard Donovan Monroe, and has an interesting tale to tell.

Monroe, a 6-foot-2 guard out of Parkwood High in Waxhaw, N.C., missed his junior season after a car accident knocked him out of action. "I missed all of my junior year of high school basketball," Monroe said. "I broke like 4 ribs, had a separated shoulder and torn ligaments in my right arm. I missed the whole season and it was a big recruiting year for me."

Monroe rebounded last year with an all-state performance but in a sense, he felt as if his high school career was robbed of a year that would have made a difference in his recruiting.

Donovan Monroe
Nowadays, Monroe is wearing out defenders at Fork Union. In Tuesday's workout, Monroe shot 11-for-15 from the field, his second strong outing with college coaches in the gym. At this point, he's getting a variety of attention from Coastal Carolina, College of Charleston, High Point, UNC-Greensboro, Appalachian State and East Carolina.

As the fall progresses and should he continue to dominate play at FUMA, that list will become filled with more programs and even a higher level of schools.

"I had a good showing last Saturday," Monroe said. "I just try to go out and do what I do. I don't worry about the coaches."

One guy who is worrying about the coaches is FUMA's point guard Donald Sims. If the name sounds familiar that's because Sims was a post grad last year at the same program. Despite some low-major offers, Sims opted to return.

"It's not that bad. Once you get used to it you're used to it. I felt that if I came back I'd have a much better year because I know the system." He wants to go to as big a program as possible. We expect him to draw Big South and Southern Conference interest.

Sims' experience should be an asset to this year's squad. In fact, he's already seen a difference in Arritt's present roster. "This group of guys haven't complained yet this year," Sims said. "Last year guys complained and wanted to go home. This group is on a mission and they know what they want to do."

Anchoring the paint at FUMA will be South Carolina-bound center/forward Austin Steed. A big bodied prospect, Arritt's sure to help him expand his game and tighten up his frame. He will be the guy inside for FUMA.

Coach Fletcher Arritt
While Steed is the only cadet over 6-foot-8 on the post grad team, Arritt has a plethora of options on the wing with both size and range. James Humphrey traveled further than anyone to make the team; he's from Fort Wayne, Ind. He'll help on the glass and shoot it deep for Arritt.

Big wings like Austin Dahn, Phillip Pandak and T.J. Murrer shoot it deep, have strong hoop IQ's and could serve as snipers, playing off Steed and Monroe's presence. Blake Gallagher, a 6-foot-7 power forward, has the gift of passing and his ability to find shooters and cutters will be used in the high-post.

Arritt, one of the country's most respected coaches, really like this group. He's probably not going to let them know he's fond of them for a while. Once these guys completely buy into the military aspect of the school which prides itself on bugles before basketball in the morning, expect FUMA to have another strong year as they toe the line with America's finest prep programs.

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