Greg Monroe’s Ready to Go

Last year’s Morgan Wooten Award winner for high school player of the year, Greg Monroe, makes his debut for the Georgetown Hoyas tonight against Jacksonville.

Past winners of the award include LeBron James, Kevin Love and Greg Oden…so yeah, this guy can ball.

As the WAPO reports, the Hoyas definitively move on this season from the roster that took them to the Final Four two years ago:

The beauty of college basketball, Georgetown Coach John Thompson III likes to say, is that it constantly evolves.

There is no such thing as a finished product to sit back and admire, but instead a revolving cast of players, perpetually defining and redefining itself.

Thompson’s fondness for that flux — and the notion that his work, as a result, can never be finished — will be tested this season.

That test gets under way tonight at Verizon Center, where Georgetown opens its first season in four years without Roy Hibbert, Jonathan Wallace and Patrick Ewing Jr., who led the Hoyas to consecutive Big East regular season titles and three NCAA tournament appearances.

The opponent is Jacksonville (0-1), a team Georgetown beat by 32 points last season but one Thompson isn’t taking lightly. The Dolphins have all five starters returning and scored 40 second-half points against Florida State in both teams’ opener Saturday before falling, 59-57.

“They’re a significantly different team than when we played them last year,” Thompson said of Jacksonville, picked to finish second in the Atlantic Sun Conference. “With their whole group back, they’re going to be confident, and we’re finding ourselves.”

For the faithful at Verizon Center, where Georgetown was unbeaten last season, the focus will be entirely on the new-look Hoyas.

Will 6-foot-11 freshman Greg Monroe, a McDonald’s all-American, show promise of becoming the Hoyas’ anchor inside?

Thompson cautions against assuming that Monroe will simply step into Hibbert’s role, characterizing him instead as “a facilitator.”

“He’s someone who’ll make his teammates a lot better,” Thompson said of the sought-after recruit. “He has an affinity and a gift for being able to pass the ball.”

Teammates rave about Monroe’s work ethic in practice.

“I love the kid!” gushed junior forward DaJuan Summers, who returns for his third season as a starter. “He works tremendously hard. His skill set is very good. And he’s very aware of what’s going on the game.”

Here’s a YouTube highlight reel of Monroe in action at some major national/international camps. We can’t vouch for the audio on this, but the visuals are banging. Update: Got your voucher right here…Gang Starr – “Full Clip.” Certified awesome.

Circle January 17th on your calendar now: that’s the day when Monroe takes his A-game to Duke and shows them what they lost out on by falling short in the recruiting wars.

Monroe canceled his scheduled visit to Durham and signed on with the Hoyas after witnessing Gtown’s March Madness rally featuring Patrick Ewing Jr. teaching Jerry Rice how to dance like Soulja Boy. (Duke promised to counter with Coach K teaching Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty to do the Electric Slide, but apparently that wasn’t enough.)

A few comings and goings for the Hoyas this season: Vernon Macklin, who was never really able to assert himself in the post for Gtown, transferred to Florida to join the Billy Donovan Brigade.

More surprisingly, Jeremiah “Son of Doc” Rivers transferred to Indiana. Maybe he got tired of hearing the sarcastic applause following his infrequent field goals…

lubick
Nate Lubick (right): Gtown’s first Ginger Great?

On the recruiting front, the Hoyas are heavily recruiting in Boston-area prep schools: an arid landscape to be sure, but also the same terrain that yielded Patrick Ewing.

GU has already signed up one top player from the tiny Independent School League’s Class of 2010 all-stars – skilled, carrot-topped big man Nate Lubick from St. Mark’s School. His ginger aura will bring a new dimension to the GU team, and his all-around skills aren’t bad either…

Our sources tell us that Coach Thompson has ALSO been spotted at the Middlesex School gym checking out potential role-player Rod Odom. Although he’s a big man in a little man’s league right now, Odom ultimately projects to be a perimeter player with a solid 3-point stroke and excellent defensive skills. Seton Hall is in hot pursuit of Odom, but JTIII wants to see more before he extends an offer. Here’s hoping Odom accompanies his growth spurt with a killer junior season, so the official high school basketball team of ROTI can send a representative to the official college basketball team of ROTI.

You’d think Gtown would be harvesting most of their players from the DC/Baldimore area, instead of tiny New England prep schools.

However, we suppose that on some level this makes a lot of sense: if you like to run the Princeton offense, you probably need players capable of making the grade at Princeton…

UPDATE: Monroe kicked ass against Jacksonville. The AP report drooled, “The arena lights dimmed…and Greg Monroe was the first Georgetown player introduced to the crowd. Then the game against Jacksonville began, and the 6-foot-11 freshman was the first Georgetown player to shoot the ball this season. And the first to score. And the first to grab a rebound. And the first to block a shot.” Final line: 14 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks…

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About Alpine McGregor
Just like you, man. I got the shotgun, you got the briefcase. All in the game, though, right?

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