Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Montross Smart Pick for Celtics

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Montross Smart Pick for Celtics

Article excerpt

In an off-the-record conversation last winter, we asked an Eastern Division general manager what he thought of Eric Montross as a National Basketball Association prospect. Not much. He said he thought Montross was another Jon Koncak.

Boston Celtics scout Rick Weitzman laughed Wednesday night when asked if making Montross their No.1 pick (No. 9 overall) meant that the Celtics thought he was better than Koncak.

"I think that's an understatement," Weitzman said. "We feel he's a much better player than Jon Koncak. But keep in mind that Jon Koncak is a starting center for a pretty good team (the Atlanta Hawks) in the NBA."

And Eric Montross, barring injury, will be the Celtics' starting center come November. That the Celtics selected him instead of a slasher/gunner is a tacit admission that they messed up when they chose Iowa center Acie Earl with their 1993 first-round pick (19th overall). Earl was originally projected to be one of the top 10-12 players selected, and the Celtics were elated when he was still available when their time came.

Now they know why.

Montross didn't "slip." With the supposed new generation of NBA superstars - Glenn Robinson, Jason Kidd, Grant Hill, Donyell Marshall - already gone, the Celtics, shaken to their foundation, chose a cement building block instead of a bauble.

"Eric," new Celtics basketball chieftain M.L. Carr said, "is one piece of the puzzle."

It says here that Montross is a good piece. He'll never be a superstar or a guy other teams fantasize about having, but he's a huge, rugged man with, by all accounts, a wonderful work ethic, a classic college basketball pedigree - North Carolina - and a thirst for self-improvement.

Good. With 40-year old Robert Parish almost certainly moving on, and Earl not the answer, Montross' thirst better be unquenchable.

Unlike a lot of players whose size is exaggerated by their college sports information director, North Carolina's Montross is an honest 7-foot and 275 sinewy pounds. …

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