Greg Monroe declares for NBA draft, leaves Georgetown after two seasons

Greg Monroe leaves Georgetown having never won an NCAA tournament game.
Greg Monroe leaves Georgetown having never won an NCAA tournament game. (John Mcdonnell/the Washington Post)
By Liz Clarke
Sunday, April 18, 2010

Characterizing himself as mentally and physically ready for the next step, Georgetown's Greg Monroe said Saturday that he'll declare himself eligible for the 2010 NBA draft, bringing to an end his star turn for the Hoyas after two seasons.

The decision comes one month after Georgetown's promising season ended with a stunning first-round loss to Ohio in the NCAA tournament. Asked immediately after that game whether it would be his last for Georgetown, Monroe said it was not. But after taking time to reflect and discuss his options with family members and Hoyas Coach John Thompson III, the 6-foot-11, 247-pound Monroe, who is widely considered an NBA lottery pick, decided otherwise.

"I'm a better player [after] working with these coaches for two years now," Monroe said in an on-campus interview Saturday. "Over a two-year span this is definitely the biggest strides I've made as a player. [But] wherever I'm taken [in the draft], I'm definitely going to be prepared to put in more work and do whatever I can for my team."

Because Monroe plans to hire an agent, he won't be able to return to Georgetown if he changes his mind.

Monroe is expected to join Wesley Johnson, the Big East player of the year from Syracuse; national player of the year Evan Turner of Ohio State; and Kentucky's John Wall in being among the top 10 players chosen.

"Where he goes is an inexact science," Thompson said Saturday. "But coupled with his desires and his family's desires and needs, he came to the conclusion and decided this was the right time for him to leave."

Monroe's departure likely will drop Georgetown from a favorite for next season's Big East title to merely a contender.

With Chris Wright and Austin Freeman returning for their senior years, along with the addition of 6-2 Markel Starks of Georgetown Prep, Georgetown could boast one of the best back courts in the country. But Monroe's absence will be felt. Among those tasked with shouldering the front-court load will be rising senior Julian Vaughn, rising sophomore Jerrelle Benimon and, ideally, the Hoyas' two incoming front-court recruits -- 6-8 Nate Lubick of St. Mark's School in Massachusetts and Moses Abraham, a 6-9, 235-pound center from Progressive Christian Academy who has given Georgetown an oral commitment.

"I'm not anticipating anyone replacing Greg in that regard," Thompson said. "I think we're going to have the experience and the bodies where there is going to be lot of competition, and there are going to be lot of different options for who's in the game with each other."

Monroe said he's continuing to attend classes while preparing for the June 24 draft and plans to return to complete his degree.

"I came to college to get a degree, I'm going to get my degree no matter what," he said.

Monroe started 65 consecutive games for Georgetown but leaves the Hilltop never having won an NCAA tournament game. He also leaves as a more complete and assertive player yet, at 19, a teenager in a man's body.

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