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College Preview | Top 144 Previews | More Interviews

By Shawn Siegel

July 16th, 2006


UMBC: Randy Monroe

The Randy Monroe era at UMBC has started on solid, yet unspectacular ground.  In year three, the program is more fully his own, and added and experience and depth could lead to bigger things in 2007..


CHN: Looking ahead, what should we expect to be the strengths and weaknesses of this yearís team?

RM:  We want our defense to be a strength of our team this year.  Last season, I did not think it was as good as we wanted it to be.  I think this year it can be much improved because our youngsters have a good idea of how we want them to play defensively in a half court situation. Offensively I think we have guys who can put the ball in the basket and have a good feel for the game.Ē 

Our biggest challenge will be finding consistent inside scoring.  Michael Housman had a solid year last year, but he will need help from Chris Timba and Uwem Eshietedoho.  We are going to ask them to step up and make contributions.  If they can do that. I think it will be fun to watch.

CHN: Fans often just see what happens during the games, but talk about which of your guys deserve more credit for working hard in practice, in the workout room, and being leaders off the court:


RM:  You canít put a price tag on what Tyler [Massey] Uwem [Eshietedoho], Chris [Timba] and Matt [Spadafora] did for us last year.  Those guys donít get the credit that they so rightfully deserve.  The sacrifices they made every day to come and put it all on the line to make the players that played a lot more that much better.

CHN: Discuss the incoming guys for a bit. What type of players are they? Who will make the biggest impact?

RM:   Matt Spadafora, who did not play for us last year,  will make a big impact for us.  I think his ability to score and knowledge of the game will help us.  Although he didnít play last year, allowing Matt to sit back and watch, and see the game will really help him this year.


The other young man I am really high on is our freshman Justin Fry, who had a tremendous year this past season, his senior year.  I think Justin has the ability to step away from the basket and shoot the basketball.  He is a very competitive person.


CHN:  How hard will it be to replace the outgoing seniors?  Who should we expect to take their game to an even higher level this season?


RM:  As a coach you are always trying to figure out who is going to be that step up person.  There is no doubt in my mind that Chris Pugh will have an outstanding senior year.  The way he has been shooting the ball in the spring, he has really stepped it up.  I think he is ready to move into the role left by John Zito and Jerrell Dinkins.

I think Jason Greene getting a taste of success his freshman year, I think he is able to step up.  I think Tom Young will be another player that will step up to a role where he can contribute much more offensively.

CHN:  Any insight on who will start this year?

RM:  We have one of the best guard combinations in the league right with Chris Pugh and Jason Greene.  We may take advantage of players like Brian Hodges, Tom Young and Matt Spadafora and play with three guards on many occasions. In the frontcourt, Mike Housman definitely deserves to play one a prominent  roles.  The other spot is going to be one of the big guys, either Uwem or Chris Timba.  I think one of those guys is going to have to take on a leadership role, but we can go smaller if we need to. It is going to be interesting because I think we have a lot of interchangeable players right now. 

CHN:  What other coaches really helped you reach the level of success youíre at now?  How does their advice and teachings still help you to this day?

RM:  My high school coach, Speedy Morris, who has really shaped my philosophy so to speak, is just a really and truly humble individual.  He taught me a lot how to deal with young people.  You may be hard on them, you may tough on them, but at the same time you love them and you need to show that caring side of you to them. 

I would say my college coach, Charles Songster, was another caring person.  He was very, very disciplined and stressed defense.  Those two people two people really shaped my coaching career.

  Realistically, discuss what your goals and hopes are for this season.

RM:  My goals for us are to be a much better basketball team in the 06-07 season than in the 05-06 season.  I think we made some strides.  I thought our inability to knock down free throws kept us from probably winning more games than I think we should have.  I think the experience gained playing on the road will help us to be successful on the road this season.  One of our goals is to improve our road record.  That is definitely a goal of ours.  I think we were a different basketball team when we played at home as most teams are.  One of our goals is to definitely increase our win total on the road.


CHN: Good luck coach!


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