Hoyas' Greg Monroe Going to NBA
"It was mentally what I wanted to do,'' Monroe said in a statement released by the school. "I feel like I'm ready to make this step after working with our coaches for two years. I've enjoyed being able to represent Georgetown. I've enjoyed my experience and while I am leaving campus, I still will always be part of Georgetown."
Monroe never leaned one way or another while questioned frequently late in the season about the possibility of leaving early. It had been anticipated by some that when he originally arrived at Georgetown he might only stay one season, but he returned for a second year and improved notably on his first.
In the school's statement, Thompson said that he, Monroe and the player's family had looked at all the possibilities, and that he fully supports Monroe's move to the pros. "He has made an educated decision,'' Thompson said. "We have watched him grow as a player and as a young man while here at Georgetown.''
College players have until April 25 to declare for the draft; there is no further word on the Hoyas' other two notable underclassmen, junior guards Chris Wright and Austin Freeman. Two high school standout big men have verbally committed to Georgetown, Nate Lubick of Boston and Moses Abraham of Washington, D.C.; the best of the returning big men are 6-9 junior starter Julian Vaughn and 6-7 freshman reserve Jerrelle Benimon, whose role and effectiveness at both ends grew as the season wore on.
Monroe, a New Orleans native, averaged 16.1 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.5 blocks this past season, and 14.5 points and 8.2 rebounds in his two-year college career. He was a first-team all-Big East player this season as the Hoyas stayed in the Top 10 most of the regular season, reached the Big East tournament championship game and earned a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament, but were eliminated by 14th-seeded Ohio in the first round and finished 23-11.
The numbers this season attest to the versatility -- ability to score inside and out, handle the ball, play with his back to the basket or facing it, and pass like few big men in the college game -- that likely will land him in the top 10 of the draft. One of his 14 double-doubles in 2009-10 was a 12-point, 12-assist performance in a February win at Providence; the 12 assists were a conference single-game record for a center. He led the Hoyas in assists 15 times in 34 games as a sophomore.
His most impressive showings this season came in December at Madison Square Garden, when he scored a then-career-high 24 points and added 15 rebounds in a victory over eventual national runner-up Butler; and a 29-point, 16-rebound, four-block performance in a narrow loss at Villanova in January.
The Hoyas later avenged the Villanova loss with a win at home, and also defeated eventual national champion Duke, but Monroe's two seasons finished in disappointment -- as a freshman, Georgetown faded after the start of conference play and wound up in the NIT, but Monroe was named the Big East's freshman of the year.