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At the top of his game
When Quinnipiac men’s basketball Head Coach Joe DeSantis recruited Rob Monroe just over four years ago, he had no idea what type of impact the player would have. At the time, DeSantis saw an energetic point guard that would fit perfectly in his system that relies upon fast paced play as much as sustained offensive sets.
“I saw him on tape and I said that’s the guy I want, because he was a scoring point guard and that’s how we play,” DeSantis said.
Scoring points is one thing Monroe has done consistently throughout his career. This season is no exception either. As of Jan. 31, the senior was tied with Arizona State’s Ike Diogu for seventh in the nation in points per game with 21.2. He is ranked 38th in the nation with a free-throw percentage of 85.9, and recorded he second highest single-game point total this season when he poured in 41 against Longwood on Jan. 2.
But scoring is not the only way Monroe has contributed to this team. He is also ninth in the nation in assists per game, dishing out a generous 6.8 dimes per contest. In addition, Monroe has tallied the third highest single game assist total in the nation this season, notching 14 against Longwood on Nov. 27.
Clearly, Monroe has embraced his new leadership role, but the stats do not mean everything to him.
“I just wanted to win some games for my team,” Monroe said. “We had a real bad year last year, and I just wanted to try and turn the program around.”
His efforts have not gone unnoticed. Monroe has won multiple NEC player-of-the-week awards this season and is a clear favorite to be team MVP, if there were such an award.
When asked about how he prepared to take on such a role this season, Monroe said that his off-season training definitely helped, but it was only a small part.
“It was more mental than physical; it was more just preparing myself and knowing that my team needed me to play at a high level,” Monroe said. “I knew I could do it. Coach gave me the opportunity to take over the team, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
Whatever it was, Monroe has done it and more. He has been a dream come true for coach DeSantis. As the coach stated after Monroe’s 40 point outburst against Sacred Heart last Thursday night, “Even when he’s not scoring, he can make others better. He has far exceeded all of my expectations for him.”
No one knows what the rest of the season holds. But then again, just four years ago, Rob did not know what great experiences and opportunities waited for him in Hamden, Conn.
“I didn’t know my future was going to be here,” Monroe said. “Everyday I surprise myself. It’s been great. Coach gave me the opportunity to play the way I wanted to play, and I can’t complain.”