Making It Look Easy; Georgetown's Monroe 'So Ahead of His Time'

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Byline: Barker Davis, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Beware the Big Easy. Georgetown's Greg Monroe served notice to Connecticut's Hasheem Thabeet and the rest of the Big East earlier this week: There's a new star at Big Man U.

The 6-foot-11 center from New Orleans starred in Georgetown's 74-63 road victory Monday. For those who would dismiss Monroe's 16 points, three rebounds, four assists and three steals as nothing special, consider that his performance came on the road ... in his first Big East

game . against the No. 2 team in the nation ... while matched up with Connecticut's 7-3 preseason All-American . and despite foul trouble.

I was interested to see how he would do because that was really his first time playing against a guy who was that tall who was good, said Georgetown senior guard Jessie Sapp, who saw Monroe team with DaJuan Summers and Julian Vaughn to hold Thabeet to four points. "He was great, but I wasn't really surprised. The kid is good. He understands the game of basketball and how to get his points and his teammates involved.

He doesn't feel like a freshman to me. He's so ahead of his time.

Nearly three decades ago, Patrick Ewing arrived on the Hilltop with a freakish athleticism that belied his size, beginning Georgetown's love affair with talented centers. From Ewing, Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo to Othella Harrington, Mike Sweetney and Roy Hibbert, Georgetown has enjoyed one of the nation's most impressive parades of post players ever since.

But perhaps none of those players was truly ahead of his time like Monroe. Monroe doesn't defend like Mutombo, leap like Ewing, menace like Mourning or post like Sweetney. Monroe - who averages 12.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.9 blocks and 1.8 steals - does a little of all of that, the sum of which is arguably greater than that of any of his prestigious predecessors.

Find another Georgetown center who could pass or dribble like Monroe, much less as a freshman. It took Hibbert four years to develop a long-range shot; Monroe drilled two 3-pointers in his first Big East start. …