Sophomore Monroe expected to lead no-senior Hoyas
For the first time since 1991-92, and only the fifth time in more than a century of Georgetown men's basketball, the Hoyas do not have a single senior on the roster. It's not necessarily the ideal way to try to regain a place among the nation's elite teams after a step backward last season. Still, coach John Thompson III has one big reason to be optimistic: Greg Monroe, who opted not to head to the NBA after earning Big East rookie of the year honors. "On a team this year that does not have any seniors, he is, as a sophomore, one of the leaders on the team," Thompson said Tuesday. "We have seen that, just in terms of the intangibles. Many of the things you don't see on the court - his role in the locker room, his role within the unit - is much, much different." A month before Georgetown opens the season by playing at Tulane on Nov. 13, the 6-foot-11 Monroe said he is willing to take on more of a leadership role, something also expected to come on the court from juniors Chris Wright and Austin Freeman. They ranked third and fourth in scoring on last season's team, behind departed-for-the-NBA DaJuan Summers and Monroe, and have by far the most game experience of any of Thompson's players. "Austin and Chris have been here the longest, so naturally they'll be the leaders of the team, and I think everybody's accepted that. But whenever it's time to be a leader, anybody can take that role. You just have to be more vocal," Monroe said. "That's the biggest thing this year: We won't be focusing on two people to always say the right things. Whatever needs to be said, somebody has to say it." Last season, he was second on the Hoyas in scoring (13.6 points) and assists (2.5), while leading the team in rebounding (6.5) and blocked shots (1.5). The hope is that Monroe - who said it was an easy decision to remain in school - will improve on those numbers now that he has a year of college experience. "We go as far as he goes," Wright said. Georgetown's aim is to go much further than last season, which became quite a disappointment. The Hoyas were ranked as high as No. 9 in the AP Top 25 before losing 12 of their last 16 games to finish 16-15, including a first-round exit against Baylor in the National Invitational Tournament. This followed three consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament, including a Final Four appearance in 2007. "Because of people that have been here, we have a foundation set, (so) you can go through a year like last year and the sky's not falling in," Thompson said. "Now, that being said, this group was affected by last year. We all were. Hopefully, we'll learn the lessons and hopefully the steps that were taken last year will put is in a position for this year's group not to have the same ending that it did."