I had the honor and privilege of interviewing Pack Legend Rodney Monroe this past Saturday. Some of you Pack fans might not have the tenure to remember watching “Ice” play. Allow me to bring some of you up to speed and remind some of us of just how much of a dent Rodney left on NC State Basketball history.
Rodney Monroe is the Pack’s All-Time Scoring leader with 2,551 points. This ranks him 4th in ACC history behind Johnny Dawkins (Duke – 1983-86), Dickie Hemric (Wake – 1952-55) and J.J. Redick (Duke – 2003-06). Also, he averaged 20.6ppg during his career at NC State (Tied for 2nd All-Time with Kenny Carr). Monroe is the best 3-Point artist the Pack has seen. He holds the NC State record for the most 3-Pointers made with 322. That number becomes much more impressive when you realize that Engin Atsur’s total of 223 ranks him #2. Rodney also ranks 4th in NC State History in 3PT FG% (43.6%) and 5th in FT% (83.6%).
Rodney’s accolades go further than NC State records. He was dubbed First-Team All-ACC in 1989 and 1991 and was the ACC Player of the Year in 1991 as well. He also made the All-ACC Tourney squad in 1988 and 1991. The AP selected him to be an All-American Honorable Mention in 1990 and in 1991 they placed him as a 3rd-Team All-American. The Sporting News placed him on the First Team All-American where he rightfully belonged in 1991. Most Pack fans haven’t forgotten Rodney’s senior season in which he averaged 27ppg. His most memorable game that year was his 48 point output against Georgia Tech, which was his career high.
Rodney Monroe and Chris Corchiani made up one of the best two-player combos in NCAA history. Corchiani was “Fire” and Monroe was “Ice.” They were a part of Coach Valvano’s heralded 1987 recruiting class. Both of them were McDonald’s All-Americans in high school. With Monroe being NC State’s All-Time Leading scorer and Corchiani being the Pack’s All-Time assist leader, a lot of the Pack’s success on the court during those years can be attributed to their ability to play together as a duo.
Rodney Monroe is an unbelievable guy. I can’t say enough about the man’s character. I got to live a dream this Saturday as I got to interview one of my childhood heroes. Here is how the conversation unfolded:
WolfpackHoops: So, Rodney what have you been up to?
Rodney Monroe: I have been living in Charlotte for about a year and a half now. I am doing one-on-one and group basketball training. I also recently became the Head Middle School Basketball Coach at Lake Norman Christian School. We have a 9-1 record right now. We have 10 boys on the team and 5 of them had never played basketball before this season. It has been a season of learning for these kids and it has been fun to watch them improve.
WolfpackHoops: Dang Rodney, now that’s coaching. Do you love what you are doing now?
Rodney Monroe: I get to do the two things that I love to do. I get to be around the game of basketball and I get to teach people about Jesus Christ. I get the opportunity to speak in the chapel services at school every once in a while. I also speak at different churches and youth groups when I get the opportunities as well.
WolfpackHoops: It seems like your faith in Jesus Christ is really important to you?
Rodney Monroe: I committed my life to follow Jesus Christ 14 years ago when I was playing in the CBA for the Beach Dogs. I was living the high life at the time. I was playing professional ball, getting paid good money, and had just gotten married. But there was still something missing in my life. I was raised in church and my family was full of Christians. But in high school and college, like many kids, I strove away from what I knew to be right. I knew what was missing in my life. I needed to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
WolfpackHoops: That’s incredible and so encouraging to hear Rodney. Tell us a little bit about your time playing professionally in Europe?
Rodney Monroe: I’ve been retired for about 2 years now. Europe was great. I played in about every place you can imagine. All three of my sons were born in Europe.
WolfpackHoops: Do you still stay in contact with any of the Pack players that you played with?
Rodney Monroe: I still talk to Corchiani on a regular basis. Sometimes we still get together for some promotional stuff as “Fire” and “Ice.” I also talk with Tom Gugliotta and Chucky Brown every once in awhile.
WolfpackHoops: Do you know Coach Lowe pretty well?
Rodney Monroe: Yeah I know Coach Lowe pretty well. I actually saw him last week at the opening of the McDonald’s on Western Blvd in Raleigh and we talked for awhile. I also try to keep up with the program as much as possible. I made it out to the Davidson game and I’ll probably make down to Raleigh for 2 or 3 more games this year.
WolfpackHoops: Since you are a coach now, what would you say to this NC State Basketball Team?
Rodney Monroe: Most of the games that I have seen it seems like they are playing 30 minutes of a 40 minute game. College Basketball is a 40 minute game. They need to buckle down and play 40 minutes. When you’re playing against ACC talent you can’t afford to lose your focus.
WolfpackHoops: If you could say anything to the Wolfpack Nation what would it be?
Rodney Monroe: You guys are great fans…some of the best fans in college basketball. You need to hang in there with the coaching staff. Coach Lowe is recruiting hard and trying to get the best players and best talent on the court for you. Your faithfulness as fans will be rewarded. You need to stay faithful because fans can either help a team win or they can help them lose. You are the 6th man on the court.
We appreciate Rodney taking time out of his Saturday afternoon to talk with us. We look forward to talking to him in the future. I learned a lot as a person from my conversation with Rodney. His honesty and transparency with his faith encouraged me in my faith. Rodney is truly a legend on and off the court.
Rodney Monroe’s Professional Basketball Profile
1991: drafted by Atlanta Hawks (NBA,2rd(30))
1991-1992: Atlanta Hawks (NBA)
1992-1993: Atlanta Hawks (NBA)
1993: Canberra Cannons (AUS): Score-5(25.3)
1993-1994: Rochester Renegades (CBA): 56games, 20.2ppg, 3.8rpg
1994-1995: Hapoel Givat (ISR): 24games, 22.4ppg, 4rpg
1995-1996: Florida Beachdogs (CBA): 15games, 19.4ppg, 3.9rpg
1996-1997: Florida Beachdogs (CBA)
1997-1998: Keravnos Nicosia (CYP)
1998: Philippines: 39ppg
1998-1999: Montana Forli (Italy-A2)
1999-2000: Fabriano Leverets (Italy-A2)
2000-2001: Fabriano Leverets (Italy-A2): Score-2(23.8), 4.9rpg, 1.5apg
2001-2002: Fabriano Basket (Italy-LegaA): 38 games: 21.0ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.2apg, 1.7spg
2002-2003: Euro Roseto (Italy-SerieA): got injured in Sep.’02 before the season started, joined back the team in Dec.’02: ULEB Cup: 5 games: 18,6ppg, 2.6rpg, 1.8spg, 2.0bpg; Italian SerieA: 27 games: 16.0ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.3apg
2003-2004: In Nov.’03 signed at Conad Rimini (Italy-Lega2): 25 games: 17.4ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.4apg
2004 – re-signed with Conad Rimini (Italy-Lega2) for another 2 seasons
2004-2005: Conad Rimini (Italy-Lega2): 33 games: 19.2ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.1apg, 1.8spg, 2FGP: 44.2%, 3FGP: 42.0%
2005-2006: CoopSette Rimini (Italy-Lega2), in Dec.’05 signed at C.B. Plasencia Galco (Spain-LEB): 17 games: 14.9ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.0apg, 2FGP: 41.5%, 3PT: 32.2%, FT: 78.3%
2006-2007: In Jan.’07 signed at Pepsi Caserta (Italy-Lega2, starting five), left next month: 2 games: 5.0ppg, 1.0bpg
Justin Gainey Named Associate Head Coach at Marquette
Former NC State Point Guard Justin Gainey (1997-00) has been hired by Marquette as their Associate Head Coach, serving along head coach Steve Wojciechowski, the former Duke point guard.
“We are excited to welcome Justin and the Gainey family back to Marquette,” Wojciechowski said. “Justin is one of the nation’s top rising coaches and his talents, ability to build meaningful relationships and myriad of experiences alongside some of the game’s best teachers will serve our program, and most importantly our players, incredibly well.” (Link)
This isn’t Gainey’s first stint at Marquette, serving as Director of Operations from 2014-17. The past two seasons, Gainey served as an Assistant Coach with Sean Miller at Arizona. Prior to that, he served as an Assistant Coach at Santa Clara for one season with his former head coach at NC State, Herb Sendek.
Gainey’s coaching career began at NC State, where he served as Director of Operations for three seasons (2006-09), and then he went on to work at Appalachian State and Elon as well.
Dennis Smith Jr. Showing Love to Fayetteville in the Midst of Covid-19
Former NC State Freshman of the Year Dennis Smith Jr. never forgets where he came from. The New York Knicks Point Guard is always showing love for Fayetteville, North Carolina.
According to Ian Begley, DSJ is providing food vouchers for 575 first responders at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, and 32 computers for local students in Fayetteville.
Here’s a quote from Dennis Smith Jr. on his donation: “Fayetteville and basketball have given so much to me…. I wanted to show support for the real heroes during these tragic times – the first responders.” Smith Jr.’s full quote, via the Knicks, is here: https://t.co/EtvF1LhVKh pic.twitter.com/G1RpvhGTjF
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) March 27, 2020
Andrew Knizner Enters 2020 as the #6 Prospect in the Cardinals Organization
Former NC State Catcher Andrew Knizner enters the 2020 season ranked as the #6 prospect in the Cardinals organization.
Knizner was drafted in the 7th round by St. Louis in 2016, and was called up for the 1st time to the Big Leagues last year, when Yadier Molina was placed on the disabled list.
The jump wasn’t an easy one, with Knizner hitting .226 in 18 games.
Despite some time in the Majors at the end of last season, Knizner will begin 2020 in Triple-A Memphis, where he has already played 83 games, hitting .283.
Cardinals legend Molina is back to full strength, and backup Matt Wieters was signed to a 1-year deal, meaning it’s not quite time for Knizner.
Will Wilson Enters 2020 as the #10 Prospect in the Giants Organization
Former NC State All-American Shortstop Will Wilson will is entering the 2020 baseball season ranked as the #10 prospect in the San Francisco Giants organization.
After being drafted by the Angels with the 15th overall pick in the MLB Draft last year, Wilson hit .275 in 46 games of Rookie ball with the Orem Owlz.
In December, the Angels traded him to the Giants.
In his final season at NC State, Wilson led the team with a .335 batting average, 20 doubles, 16 home runs and a .661 slugging percentage, and finished eighth all-time in career doubles (57) and homers (39), and ninth in total bases (409).
Wilson is the 3rd highest draft pick in NC State history, and only the 2nd batter to be drafted in the 1st round, alongside another shortstop who is currently in the league as well: Trea Turner.
According to MLB.com, Wilson is expected to make it to the Majors in 2022.