Not only was the decision to sign with State a simple one, but so was the reason for committing so early in the recruiting process. "I just wanted to get it over with so that I could put it behind me and focus on other things I had to work on, such as my school work and what I have to do on the court to win a state championship."
Once he committed, his recruiting was finished as far as he was concerned and he let coaches who called him after he committed know that it was over. "(Coaches) called me the day after I committed and asked me if I was sure. I told them I am a man of my word."
With recruiting now out of the way, what are his expectations for Mississippi State once he dons the maroon and white? "Win a national championship," said Monta Ellis. How soon does he expect that to happen? "The first year."
What about individual goals while at State? "I feel like they have high expectations for me, so I know that I have to go up there and produce like they want me to. If I go in and work hard, there is no doubt that I will (earn) a (starting) spot my first year, but you can't predict the future."
Does his current head coach, Thomas Billups, think he can achieve such a lofty goal of starting his freshman season in a conference as tough as the Southeastern Conference? "He could probably go anywhere in the country and start from day one," said Billups. "(He) has probably been the best player that I have coached in my entire career. There is no doubt about it, he is probably the best that has come through the state of Mississippi." This from a veteran coach who has seen numerous players who have gone on to play in the NBA.
Why such a bold statement? "Because of his IQ of basketball on the court," explained Billups. "He knows the game of basketball. You are never going to upset him on the court. He is always going to be at the right place at the right time. He is always going to do what is asked of him.
"He is a complete basketball player. He can shoot the three. He can drive to the basket. He can get the rebound and play defense. And he is probably the best passer that I've seen in a long time."
That's high marks for a kid that hasn't played his first college game. It even makes you wonder if he will even play a college game. Which brings us to a question on the mind of every Mississippi State basketball fan who has heard of Monta Ellis: Will he play college ball at Mississippi State or skip college altogether and jump to the NBA at the conclusion of his senior year in high school? According to Ellis, "I don't think about (going pro). I just want to go to college and get better and, hopefully, my chance will come."
Ok, so that's not exactly the ringing endorsement MSU fans want to hear. What does his coach say? "I think he is going to college and probably stay two years," said Billups. "He needs to go in and get bigger and stronger. After he does that, then I think he will make his jump."
Speaking of the pros, who does Ellis compare himself to that is currently playing in the NBA? "I compare myself to two guys in the NBA, Jason Kidd and Chauncey Billups," said Ellis. "With Jason Kidd's passing ability and Chauncey Billups' scoring ability, they can take over a game."
And that's exactly what Mississippi State head basketball coach Rick Stansbury hopes to see next year when Ellis steps on the court.
Pictures from the press conference.
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com, the source for Mississippi State sports on TheInsiders.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing email@example.com.