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Friday, January 11, 2008

Greg Monroe Unimpressive in Helen Cox's Loss to Norcross

I got a chance to watch the Old Spice High School showcase on ESPN2 last evening, which featured a show down between Helen Cox H. S. of Harvey, Louisiana and Norcross H. S. of Norcross, Georgia. Each team sported a highly touted senior, but I was obviously watching to get a glimpse of future Georgetown Hoya, and consensus #1 player in the nation, Greg Monroe. I have to say, that I walked away thoroughly unimpressed by Monroe's performance.

Monroe finished with 8 points and 7 blocks for Helen Cox, who lost to Norcross 59 to 48. This was a big game that should have inspired Monroe. The game was nationally televised and his team had dropped out of the national rankings just last week. This was an opportunity to make a statement by beating 11th ranked Norcross. Instead, Mr. Monroe offered a pretty flat performance.

Monroe had a couple of good blocks. He also had several good passes. And in making those passes he showed himself to be the type of unselfish player that will work in Georgetown's offensive scheme. But he also missed an easy dunk, bobbled the ball several times, and was often lurking around the perimeter or just standing around. Granted, some of the positioning issues are things that John Thompson III should be able to fix. And every time Greg touched the ball he was double or triple teamed. But if this was the only exposure that you ever had to Greg Monroe you would definitely not think that he was a big deal.

One of the few highlights for Monroe was an absolutely thunderous dunk that he had relatively early in the game. He got the ball on a fast break, exploded towards the basket, and threw down a one-handed jam over Norcross's Al-Farouq Aminu, who is the number 3 ranked small forward in the ESPN 150 and who is part of the much-heralded recruiting class at Wake Forest. It was the type of assertive, athletic play that should make Hoya hoops fans salivate. I'm haven't been able to find the video online -- if anyone out there finds it, let me know so we can post it.

The real star of the game, however, was Aminu. The future Demon Deacon, who is a descendent of the Nigerian royal house, was awesome. He scored 27 points and literally carried the entire Norcross team on his back when they went down 12-0 to start the game. It was only one game, but he definitely had the best of Monroe in this one.

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