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Helen Cox grad Greg Monroe, now a free agent, hopes to be somebody’s ‘missing piece’



July 10, 2015


When the NBA’s free-agency period begins Wednesday, New Orleanian Greg Monroe will be one of the top big men available.


Monroe, an unrestricted free agent who played five years with the Detroit Pistons, joins centers Marc Gasol and DeAndre Jordan and power forward LaMarcus Aldridge as those available who could most bolster a team’s frontcourt.


Five teams have shown serious interest — the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers. Monroe said he’ll meet with those teams this week. “I’m looking to be with a team that’s ready to win,” said Monroe during a timeout at his youth basketball clinic Saturday morning at the Delgado Community College gymnasium. “Hopefully it will be a team where I’m the missing piece.”


Monroe, who led Helen Cox High School to the 2008 Louisiana Class 4A state championship before playing two years at Georgetown, said he’d be a good fit with the hometown New Orleans Pelicans. Both of the Pelicans’ top two centers from last season, Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca, are unrestricted free agents. However, Monroe said the Pelicans have not shown an interest thus far. He has career averages of 14.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, and last season averaged 15.9 points and 10.2 rebounds. “I’d love to play and represent this city,” he said. “Obviously, they have a guy like Anthony Davis who is a superstar already, and he’s only going to get better. “I think I could really play well with him. Our games complement each other. I’m a low-post scorer. Obviously he’s a great midrange player.” But the Golden State Warriors won this season’s NBA championship after an exciting season featuring a fast-paced style with Gentry the offensive mastermind.


That cames one season after the San Antonio Spurs put ball movement and tempo back into the game in winning the title in 2014. It appears the league is getting away from a post-up, plodding style of play that is less exciting to fans. That’s part of the reason Monroe is available. He played center initially for the Pistons, then moved to power forward when the team drafted athletic Andre Drummond in 2012 and put him at center. The two were the top offensive rebounding tandem in the NBA, but coach Stan Van Gundy wanted a change. “Stan had smaller teams in Orlando (Magic) years ago,” Monroe said. “Dre is like Dwight Howard. So Stan wants to put good players around him.


The team has different plans, and I respect that. I don’t want to be anywhere I’m not wanted.” A move may be beneficial to both. Detroit went 145-249 (.368) during Monroe’s tenure. But there’s much interest in Monroe (6-foot-11, 250 pounds), who’s been known as a skillful big man ever since his days at Cox. And a good low-post player, able to score a few feet from the basket, will never go out of style. He said he has no preference between playing center or power forward. The Celtics have four free-agent forwards, need a big-bodied rim protector in the lane and have $25 million in salary-cap space. The Knicks, heading into the second year under General Manager Phil Jackson, would like a cornerstone big man around which to build.


The Trail Blazers are losing Aldridge and want an upgrade from former Pelicans center Robin Lopez. And the Bucks and Lakers each want a center to pair with a promising young power forward who suffered a season-ending injury last season. Monroe signed Detroit’s tender offer of $5,479,933 before last season after a rookie contract of four years, $13,110,094. It was not lost on him that he may be an unrestricted free agent a year too soon. The NBA’s new nine-year, $24 billion television contract kicks in before the 2016-17 season.


That will affect the type of contract Monroe signs, he said. “(He and agent David Falk) are definitely looking at all our options,” he said. “You can see the trend is everybody’s taking shorter deals right now. So, most likely, I might take that route, too, and when the new deal kicks in, get a longer-term contract. “I’m looking at a two-year deal plus an option” to become a free agent. About 60 children, ages 6 to 14, participated in the basketball clinic, doubling the total of the first one last year. “At this age, we focused on basic skills — dribbling, passing, defense and stuff,” Monroe said. “The older ones, we did some typical workouts and drills trying to get them better.” He said his charitable foundation has funded “between 15 and 20” college scholarships for students in New Orleans and Detroit.





Pistons' Greg Monroe becoming more of a leader on, off court

September 27, 2012


Greg Monroe definitely looks the part of budding NBA big man.


Poised to have a breakout season in his third year, Monroe spent countless hours this off-season working on his game. But there was more to it than the physical aspect.


With his participation in the off-season program and doing more than required, Monroe is firmly establishing himself as one of the leaders of the Pistons.


From spending draft night in the war room to practicing with the rookies before Orlando summer-league play began, Monroe has set a good example for his teammates.


But it's more than that.


"It's about setting an example and talking and just learning from each other and helping each other out to make sure this organization gets back on the right track," Monroe said Wednesday during an appearance at the Detroit Medical Center's newly opened Children's Hospital of Michigan Specialty Center-Detroit.


The Pistons brass has noticed the commitment.


"The best players, they inspire and unite by what they do and not what they say," Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said of summer workout warriors Monroe, Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey. "Anybody can make a phone call, but it's the fact that those guys are putting in the work every single day.


"That's what inspires, that's what unites."


Monroe was joined by Pistons mascot Hooper and the dance team at Wednesday's event. Monroe spread a little good cheer by reading to patients and remembered his childhood with a chuckle when he was asked about the reading selection.


"Everybody knows 'One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish,' " Monroe said of the Dr. Seuss classic. "I did not remember how long it was or how much a tongue-twister it was, too.


"Dr. Seuss is the man. As a kid, Dr. Seuss is the greatest thing ever."


CAMP ROSTER: Training camp invitees Terrence Williams and Jonny Flynn were among the players scrimmaging Wednesday morning at the practice facility.


They are still technically free agents and haven't signed contracts.


So it's possible that Williams, a swingman, and Flynn, a point guard, could be signed by another team before training camp begins Monday.


But the Pistons expect them to be around during camp and will eventually sign non-guaranteed deals.


They would face an uphill climb to make the roster as the Pistons have their full allotment of 15 players -- although a trade could create a roster spot.


SPIRITED ACTION: Stuckey, Will Bynum and Tayshaun Prince were the only players missing from the morning scrimmage, although Stuckey and Bynum have been active participants in the off-season program.


Monroe, Knight and forward Jonas Jerebko were impressive, but two rookies stood out.


Second-round pick Khris Middleton displayed a natural scorer's touch and was dangerous in the open floor when finishing breaks with one-handed dunks.


Ukranian Slava Kravtsov showed a presence, blocking several shots from Monroe and altering other shots.


Contact Vince Ellis: 313-222-6479 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow him on Twitter @vincent_ellis56.

More Details: Pistons key dates

Monday: Training camp opens.


Oct. 10: Exhibition opener vs. Toronto.

Oct. 31: Season opener vs. Houston.

Nov. 12: Western Conference champion Oklahoma City visits.

Dec. 28: NBA champion Miami visits for first time.

Feb. 3: L.A. Lakers visit for only time.




Pistons' forward Greg Monroe's mom has lofty goals for his foundation

Friday was the deadline for media members to vote for the annual J. Walter Kennedy Award, named for the NBA's second commissioner who served from 1963 to 1975.

The nominees for the award -- which is given to a player, coach or trainer who shows outstanding service to the community -- are Pau Gasol, Josh Smith, Jason Terry and JJ Reddick.

If Pistons center Greg Monroe and his mother, Norma, have their way, they will one day be nominated for the award.

The second-year player has started the Greg K. Monroe Foundation.

Norma, who runs the foundation, said she hopes to be able to provide scholarships to a deserving student at Greg's alma mater, Helen Cox, in Harvey, La., and a student at a Detroit high school.

The foundation will focus on New Orleans and Detroit and hopes to fund sickle cell anemia and cancer research, homeless programs and youth programs geared toward children from single-parent homes.




Greg Monroe's mother raised her son the right way -- and now she is reaping the rewards

Norma Monroe is driving home from her job as a teacher's aide at Boudreaux Elementary in Terrytown, La., a suburb of New Orleans, when she is asked:

"Can you recall a favorite Mother's Day gift from your son?"

Her son just happens to be Pistons center Greg Monroe.

Today will mark the second Mother's Day of Monroe's NBA career, so we wonder what elaborate gifts a promising pro basketball player could provide.

A new ride, perhaps? Maybe even a brand-new house?

But Norma goes back to a time shortly before the Pistons used the No. 7 pick of the 2010 draft on Greg, a Georgetown product. It was just over a month before draft night when Monroe handed his mother a simple card with a strong message.

She can't recall what it said on the card verbatim, but Monroe told his mother that it was now his turn.

It was his turn to provide, to nurture, to give back.

"It was like he was telling me it was his time to give to me," Norma recalled. "I had to give to him all his life. Now he was in the position and it was my turn to receive.

"I read the card, and I bust out crying.

"But I told him and my daughter (Brittany) that you don't have to repay me back, because what I did was my responsibility as a mother to take care of you all. All I did for you, you all don't have to feel like you have to pay me back -- because you don't."



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