Monroe Balanced On and Off Court

At last week's City of Palms Classic in Fort Myers (FL), each team had one of their players submit an essay for the tournament program. Submitting an essay for Harvey (LA) Helen Cox was junior Greg Monroe. A 6-10 big man, Monroe is regarded by most scouting services as the number one player in the class of 2008, but he wants to be known for much more.

During his essay, Monroe wrote, “if all I’m remembered for is being a good basketball player, then I’ve done a bad job with rest of my life.”

Pretty strong words from somebody who is only 16 years old. But, if you spend a little time with the easy going lefty, you realize pretty quickly that he’s not just trying to sound good. He means what he says. He also knows that college college coaches are looking for the types of kids who are just as valuable off of as they are on the court.

“College coaches want good players, but they also want kids with a lot of character off the court so they can represent their school well,” Monroe told “Our coach always tells us to represent our school, represent our family and represent ourselves in a positive way.”

So, how exactly does a high school junior go about doing those things? According to Monroe it’s pretty easy.

“I’m just trying to live the life of a normal 16 year kid,” said Monroe. “Whatever everybody else is doing, well I shouldn’t say whatever everybody else is doing, but if it’s the right thing, I’ll do it.”

The fact of the matter, though, is that Monroe isn’t your typical 16 year old. At least not on the basketball court. He’s got a rare blend of skill, athleticism, shot blocking ability and versatility that when combined with his 6-10 frame and broad shoulders makes him a one of a kind player.

While he can be a dominant scorer if needed, the junior thinks it’s something else that draws coaches to his game.

“It’s my court awareness. I can rebound, play defense and block shots,” said Monroe. “I was always taught that you don’t have to score all of the points to control the game. All the teams focus so much on me that I try to get open looks for my teammates. On the break, in the offense, if they cut into the lane I can get it to them for easy shots.”

Things have gotten so hectic on the recruiting front that Monroe has tried to apply the brakes on his recruitment process and says that he won’t be picking a school or narrowing things down any time soon.

“More people are showing interest and coaches have been stopping by every once in a while,” said Monroe. “There are a lot of schools and there won’t be a decision soon.”

Press a little harder and he’ll reluctantly give up a list of schools that have been pushing the hardest.

“There’s a whole bunch, LSU, Duke, North Carolina, Florida, Kentucky, Louisville, Texas,” said Monroe. “Kansas has been in too, very much Kansas has been in.”

When asked to expand on how Bill Self has sold the Kansas program to Monroe and his family, he says that the Jayhawks approach has been similar to that of other schools.

“They are stopping by and telling me about their program and their coaches,” said Monroe of Kansas. “When they aren’t doing that they are sending me a lot of mail and stuff like that.”

In reality, that’s about all anybody is going to get out of Monroe regarding any school at this point. He’s determined to handle his recruitment on his terms and to make sure that he lives as normal a life as possible.

Asked one final time when he feels that he might narrow things down, he made it clear, again, that he’s in no rush to make a decision.

“It will probably be the end of the summer,” said Monroe. “There’s no rush on things.”

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