One On One: '08 C Greg Monroe

2008's Greg Monroe

You've heard the story time after time. A young post player who comes out of nowhere over the summer and establishes himself as an elite talent. Two years ago it was Brandan Wright and Greg Oden. Kevin Love broke out soon after. Perhaps the next big time prospect to make the step into the elite is Greg Monroe, a rising junior who is making a claim for the top overall spot in the class of 2008.

TDD: For those who have yet to see you in action, describe yourself as a player.

Greg Monroe: Well, I always just try to go out there and play my best and be a good team player. My mindset is that even though I am the one getting all the recognition right now, it still takes five guys to win a game, so, I just try to use my ability to dominate and help the team win. That is the thing that matters most. I want to win and help my team dominate.

Usually young players seem to have lapses in intensity. How do you continually stay focused?

It's always just come natural to me. I know that I have some good abilities to play, so I just figure that when I go out and play, I want to exert my will on the other team.

You've been quoted as saying you enjoy displaying your versatility over the summer. Can you elaborate on that?

The way I look at it is pretty simple, I don't want to be one of those players who is defined as a limited player. It's always come naturally for me to play inside and then go outside. I can hit the outside shot, but I can also go inside and do the dirty work – it's whatever my team needs.

The knock on some big men is their over-reliance on their perimeter game, is that something that could be used to describe your playing style?

No, not really, I mean, I like to shoot and handle the ball, but I just like to play a versatile game. Sometimes my team needs me to play down low more, sometimes they need me to play out top. Either way, I just do what I can to help the team win.

If you could pick the perfect scenario or role for yourself in college, what would it be?

Pretty much the same thing, I really don't want to be a big man that is chained to the post, I want to be able to play my same game.

Early on in the process, which programs do you feel would help you show off your versatility and help you display your skills?

Well, I think a lot of the schools that are interested in me would allow me to do that. Schools like Duke, UNC, LSU, they play the style of offense that would allow me to play that way.

Speaking of Duke, can you elaborate on what makes them an attractive option for you?

I just remember watching them coming up and always being amazed at how they played. Coach K just always seems to have really great players who go there and it always seems like he helps them play their best. That's a big thing I always liked about Duke growing up.

You've have a chance to get to know Coach K a little bit, what are your impressions of him at this point?

Well, I've talked with him once and I really like him a lot. He seems like he's this really straightforward, honest coach and I feel like he just wants what's best for me. I think he could push me to get better at my game, and to grow into a better person and player. He's that kind of coach.

For many high major players, college basketball is basically a minor league for the NBA. Others end up sticking around for a while. Where do you come out on that issue?

Well, to me, yeah, college is definitely a place where I can grow in all facets of my game. I'm definitely looking to have the college experience for at least a couple of years, just to where I can grow my game to help me to get to the NBA. Other than that, I definitely look forward to being challenged academically when I go to college, I don't want to just take classes, I want to learn something that will help me in life. I will be in school for a couple of years at least – just to experience everything.

You've had a chance to see Duke as a fan growing up, and now as a recruiting target of the Blue Devils. What perceptions have changed for you?

Well, it's really an honor, and it kind of trips me out too. To be a recruit for any college is just a blessing to me, but yeah, it's definitely different to be recruited by them, it's kind of cool to get to talk with the guys that I've watched on TV growing up.

How often do you speak with the staff?

I've talked with Coach K once and I text back and forth a lot with the staff. Other than that, they just send me lots of mail and make sure I'm doing ok academically and all that. Overall, they just seem to be really caring and supportive of me and my game.

What is your overall approach to the recruiting process? What is important to you?

I've always been the type to just let things go that really aren't all that important. I don't get too caught up in what coaches are in the stands, or how many pieces of mail I get. It's going to be a family decision for me as to where I want to go to college, so, I just try and relax and just concentrate on playing ball, the rest will take care of itself.

What factors are you looking for when it comes to making a decision?

I want to play in a winning environment. Something that is really important to me is that the team is a close knit group of guys. My high school team is really close, I want to feel like I'm a part of a big family with whatever college I go to. Plus, I want a school that will help me grow in my basketball abilities, I know that I can always get better, so, playing for a coach who I trust will help me get better for the NBA is way up on my scale.

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