COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.-Games begin at the USA Basketball Youth Development Festival on Friday. Headlining a star studded cast of prospects is the No. 1 ranked prospect in the Rivals150 Greg Monroe. Rivals.com caught up with the 6-foot-10, 226-pound power forward from Harvey (La.) Helen Cox High School after one of the practice session.
Talented enough on the court and in the classroom to name his school, Monroe has been reluctant to release a formal school list. It won't be too much longer, however, before a list does take shape.
"At the end of the summer, I'm going to cut my schools down to five," said Monroe. "After that, I'll take all five of my visits before I chose a school."
Although Monroe will give no indication of what schools he prefers, he did run down a list of the schools that are pursuing him with the most vigor. The list included Georgetown, Texas, LSU, Duke, Florida, Louisville, Kansas, USC and Baylor.
A great deal of speculation concerning Monroe's recruitment has Duke and LSU locked up in a two team race as his top schools. Monroe is adamant that this is not the case.
"No there is nothing to that," he said. "There aren't any schools in the lead right now. People think that Duke is in a special position because I spoke about looking up to Coach K in a newspaper interview. That was about when I was a young child. I grew up watching Duke games because I loved the live atmosphere in there gym. And Coach K is a great coach, but that was about when I was younger."
Monroe, who is noted for his versatility and specifically adept ball handling and passing for a player his size, is in the midst of making a concerted effort to be a more aggressive scorer. He felt he took some positive steps in that regard at the Rumble in the Bronx.
"Our team did well and made it to the final eight," he said. "I had a good tournament also. I scored the ball better with post up moves and one and two dribble drives to the basket."
When it comes time to finalize a school list and eventually choose a school, the development of his game will be one of the top criteria he considers.
"I want to play for a good coach who can help me get to the next level," he said. "It is important that I advance my skill level. And it is also important that the school has a good all around environment outside of basketball. I want to go to school where I fit in as a whole person and not just a basketball player."
An excellent student, Monroe plans to major in Psychology.