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Jan. 26, 2010
The 2010 ACC Basketball Legends class is a group of 12 former standout players - one from each ACC school - who will be honored during the 2010 ACC Men's Basketball Tournament. TheACC.com will feature two members of the ACC Legends Class each week during the six weeks prior to the tournament.
The annual ACC Legends Brunch will be held on Saturday, March 13 beginning at 10 a.m. Hosted by television personalities Tim Brant and Mike Hogewood, the ACC Men's Basketball Legends Brunch will be held in the in the Guilford Ballroom of the Sheraton Four Seasons Hotel.
After a historic and record-breaking career at NC State, Rodney Monroe still stands as the most prolific scorer in Wolfpack history almost two decades since his last collegiate game. Looking back he fondly remembers his time in Raleigh, NC.
Growing up outside Baltimore, Md., basketball was always a major part of Monroe's life. He was introduced to the game at a very early age by watching his father and brothers play. By the age of six he was already playing in a summer league his mother ran.
Monroe was a natural and would go on to become a local legend at Maria Goretti High School in Hagerstown, Md. He was heavily recruited by a number of colleges but decided on NC State over Maryland in his junior year after Left Driesell departed. By the end of his senior season, Monroe was the all-time leading scorer in the history of Maryland high school basketball.
"I kind of wanted to stay on the East Coast, and I kind of wanted to stay in the ACC," Monroe said. "[Jim] Valvano was a big part of that, and when I took a visit to Reynolds Coliseum, it was a place I could see myself playing."
He really enjoyed playing for Jimmy V and still remembers how inspiring it was to be coached by him. "I played high school basketball, I played college ball and I played 15 years professionally, and as far as coaches are concerned he was a great, great, great motivator," Monroe said. "One of his pre-game speeches could make you want to get up and run through a wall for him. He just had a way of motivating his players."
After a record-breaking high school career, Monroe felt that his move to NC State was just the next step in his progression. He had always been a shooter and knew that was one thing that he could do well.
"I just believed that every time I would go in the basketball game, if I was having a great day, then there wasn't anything that the defense could do. That's just the kind of confidence that I took from junior league to high school and then to college," Monroe said.
Monroe put in a lot of time in the gym trying to perfect his game and it all paid off his senior season when he averaged 27 points a game and broke the NC State all-time scoring record for men's basketball, previously held by David Thompson. Monroe finished his Wolfpack career at or near the top of many NC State scoring records and his 2,551 points still stand as the most in NC State history nearly 20 years later.
"In the beginning I didn't go to college trying to break records. I knew that I was a good offensive player but I didn't go there trying to break David Thompson's record," Monroe said. "It became a great honor for me to go after and try to get that record because he was such a great player. There have been a lot of great players that have gone through NC State but that's something that no one can take away from me until they break that record."
In 1991, his 27 points per game average led the league and earned Monroe ACC Player of the Year honors - the first NC State player to win the award since David Thompson did it from 1973-75. He was also an All-ACC selection twice and set the Wolfpack single season record for free throw accuracy by shooting 88.5 percent from the stripe his senior year. Monroe is fifth on the ACC career points scored list and is tied for first with the most 20 point games in a season (28).
Monroe attributes a lot of his success to playing with a number of gifted athletes but he will perhaps forever be linked to another NC State legend: Chris Corchiani - the Wolfpack's all-time leading assist leader (1,038). The tandem of Monroe and Corchiani gained national notoriety for their electrifying play and earned the nickname Fire and Ice.
"He was a point [guard] who thought pass first and shoot second. That's why it was a joy to play with him because I thought shoot first. We really had a great combination," Monroe said.
After his historic career at NC State, Monroe went on to play professionally in the NBA and oversees. He now serves as Athletic Director and boy's basketball coach at Lake Norman Christian School in Huntersville, North Carolina.