NCAA March Madness: Georgetown Fans Should Enjoy Greg Monroe While They Can

Bryan ToporekFeatured ColumnistMarch 12, 2010

NEW YORK - MARCH 12:  Greg Monroe #10 of the Georgetown Hoyas reacts after a play late in the game against the Marquette Golden Eagles during the semifinal of the 2010 Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)
Michael Heiman/Getty Images

If you weren't sure that Georgetown's Greg Monroe would be declaring for the NBA draft after this season, he just all but confirmed it with his performance in the first Big East Tournament semifinal game.

In an 80-57 thrashing of Marquette —who knocked No. 10 Villanova out of the tournament one day earlier—Monroe posted the most unbelievable stat line of any Georgetown player under John Thompson III: 23 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists,  two blocks—and one dagger of a three-pointer that broke what little will to win Marquette had left in the second half.

To those who suggest Georgetown's version of the Princeton offense "holds a player back," Monroe scoffs at you.

Still, to suggest that Monroe's performance was anything short of transcendent would be a discredit to how thoroughly he dominated on Friday night.  

From the opening tip, Monroe took advantage of his considerable height advantage over Marquette, driving hard at the basket for easy lay-ups all night.  

And oh, did the Georgetown guards feed him down low.  

Georgetown fans have often been able to complain about their guards forgetting to feed the post players. On Friday, the Hoyas made damn sure to get Monroe touches on virtually every possession.

Monroe rewarded their persistence all game.  When he wasn't scoring or gathering one of his 13 rebounds—two on the offensive end—he was busy in his typical point-forward role in the Georgetown offense.

The ESPN announcers and Marquette coach Buzz Williams couldn't heap enough praise upon Monroe for his passing ability—and for good reason.  ESPN's Hubert Davis calls Monroe "the best passing big man in the country"—and for a change, an ESPN announcer isn't spouting hyperboles.  

Monroe has unbelievable vision for a 6'10" post player.  He's able to lead a fast-break and dish to his open teammate.  He did that in a 3-on-2 break in the second half against the Golden Eagles.

He's able to catch the ball at the foul line, allow a guard to pick and roll around him, and dish it right back to the cutting guard for an easy lay-up.  He ran this play to perfection with Austin Freeman with five minutes left in the second half.

And Monroe put some of his less-heralded talents on display under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden on Friday night—as if a 23/13/7 box score wasn't enough to please Hoya fans.

Monroe crushed a Maurice Acker fast-break lay-up off the glass late in the first half— setting up a dominant defensive tone that the Hoyas kicked into the next gear in the final 20 minutes.  Monroe and Vaughn combined for four blocks, as they continuously harassed the smaller Marquette players when they went strong at the basket.

And in the total "Eff You" moment of the game, Monroe drilled a corner three-pointer with 6:15 left in the game, stretching the Georgetown lead to 15 and shutting the door on Marquette for good.  

The Golden Eagles never got closer than 15 points for the rest of the game—and the Hoyas cruised to a date with the Big East Tournament finals.

Bottom line: The kid is nothing short of phenomenal, and the Hoyas have been lucky to have him wear a Georgetown uniform as long as he has.  While Thompson won't add him to the list of great Georgetown centers—"I think it's too early to give him that label," he said III after the game on Friday— he's unquestionably cemented his legacy in the Georgetown big-man lineage.

While the Hoyas have likely earned themselves a No. 3 or 4 seed in the NCAA tournament based on their performance this week, those wins aren't coming without a slight cost.  

If Monroe keeps dominating like he did on Friday night, not only will he be a lock to leave Georgetown after this season for the NBA draft, but he'll also make a late push to become a top-five draft pick.