Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NEW YORK — We all know the storied legacy associated with Georgetown centers.
Patrick Ewing.Dikembe Mutombo.Alonzo Mourning.Roy Hibbert.Greg Monroe could well be the next in that line, but he’s not ready to say so just yet.
“I’m honored to follow people that were so good here,” Monroe said after putting up 23 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 blocks as Georgetown dismissed Marquette, 80-57, to advance to Saturday night’s Big East championship against the West Virginia/Notre Dame winner.
“I just come out and try to do things for my team….Me being here two years, I can’t put myself in the same category as those players.”
Georgetown has won a record seven Big East tournament titles in the 30-year history of the event, and if Monroe keeps up this level of play, they will add Title No. 8.
He displayed his complete game against Marquette. During one two-minute stretch he had a drive, a dunk, a 3-pointer, an assist and a a blocked shot.
“Greg Monroe is Greg Monroe,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. “I don’t think he went into this, has gone into this, thinking about how he relates or compares or contrasts to the people that played the position here at Georgetown before him.”
Still, just as USC is known for producing quarterbacks and ARizona for point guards, Georgetown will forever be associated with producing some of the best big men in the history of the game.
Ewing led the Hoyas to back-to-back Big East tournament titles in 1984 and ’85, winning MVP awards both years.
In 1992, Mourning led Georgetown to the title game where it fell to Syracuse. He was named MVP in a losing effort.
If Monroe has a big night Saturday, he could join that select group.
“When he first got here, we were amazed at what he could do,” said Georgetown guard Chris Wright, who had 15 points. “Especially the way he passes. I mean, it’s nothing new. We all know Greg is a phenomenal player.”
A first-team All-Big East selection, Monroe averaged 16 points and 9.6 rebounds. He was named the Big East Rookie of the Year a year ago.
“I’ve known Greg since he was in high school,” Marquette coach Buzz Williams said. “He’s a great kid. Comes from a great family. I think he’s an early-entry pro.”
Whether Monroe leaves after this season remains to be seen. DraftExpress.com has him slotted as the No. 13 pick in the June NBA Draft.
But for now, he’s focused on winning a title in New York.
“Yes, it’s Madison Square Garden and it’s the Big East tournament,” he said. “I know as a team we came here to win this tournament and I mean tomorrow [Saturday] night the lights are going to be on.”
Georgetown is involved with both 6-9 senior center Moses Abraham of Temple Hills (Md.) Progressive Christian and 6-3 junior point guard Tyrone Johnson of Plainfield (N.J.). Both players watched the game on TV.
Abraham is set to decide this weekend between Georgetown, Maryland, UCLA, Florida, Tennessee Seton Hall and Indiana.
One report mistakenly had Johnson already verballing to the Hoyas, but his AAU coach, Derrick Bobbitt, says that’s not the case.
“That’s not the case at all,” Bobbitt said. “While Ty continues to have interest in Georgetown, he is still wide open and looking forward to finishing out this high school season and going through the recruiting process.”
(Photo courtesy DraftExpress.com)
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.