Home school standout signs with Liberty University

Russ Monroe is ready to take the big step — from middle school gymnasiums to Division I college basketball fieldhouses.

The 6-foot-10 senior center for Butternut Home School in the Carson City area recently signed a national letter of intent to play Division I basketball with Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

Monroe, a rural Alma resident, hopes to lead Butternut to the Michigan Association of Christian Schools (MACS) title and a trip to the nationals this season. He said he visited Liberty Baptist in June and accepted the school's full scholarship offer. He said he had a similar offer from Central Michigan University.

Liberty plays in the Big South Conference.

"It's a Christian school and I like that aspect," Monroe said. "I liked how the coaches were committed to their players. I like the atmosphere there at the school."

"They're playing some good competition," Monroe said. "They told me they won't redshirt me as long as I don't want it. They want me to try out right away and get used to the competition."

Monroe, averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds per game, hasn't lost track of the enormous challenges he'll face going from home school basketball to the Division I level.

"I need to get in better physical shape," he said.

Monroe said the more he was recruited by Liberty the more interested he became in joining the school.

"I've been thinking of college football the last couple of years," he said. "I'm very excited about it now."

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