‘Tall, lanky, punk rock, white guy’ enjoys playing basketball at MSSU

The Missouri Southern Men’s Basketball team has 10 new faces on the court this season. One of these newcomers is junior forward Matt Monroe.

Walking into the locker room the first day, Monroe knew what his teammates initial reaction would be, and it wasn’t that he was an outstanding player.

“They thought, here comes this tall, lanky, punk rock, white guy and I bet they didn’t expect me to be able to play at all, said Monroe.

“I proved a lot of them wrong just after their first experience with me.”

Monroe transferred to Southern after playing two years for Northern Oklahoma College. “My sophomore year I broke my hand during a game in January and I ended up sitting the bench the entire season.” Monroe said

After his injury, Monroe wasn’t sure he would play on a team again. After talking with Assistant Coach Ronnie Ressel and completing a tryout, Monroe was offered a full scholarship and signed with Southern.

Thankfully, the three metal screws that were put in his hand during surgery haven’t affected Monroe’s performance this season.

“I was released to play in March so I just taught myself how to play left handed instead for awhile and now I’m good to go” Monroe said

As if working to overcome an injury wasn’t enough, Monroe has also had to adjust to a new town, coach and teammates. However he has dealt with the situation with little problem.

“I love my team, Monroe said.

“I have never been on a team that I have enjoyed more. I am very blessed and fortunate to have these guys around me because it makes the whole time here at Southern more enjoyable”

Southern will be ringing in the New Year on Jan. 2 by playing their conference opener at Truman State. This will be Monroe’s first chance to play against an MIAA team. Although he knows the conference is tough, Monroe is looking forward to the challenge.

“I’m ready to start conference, I’m ready to beat Pitt State a couple times.” said Monroe.

Monroe draws this dedication to the game from a few different sources. One is his older brother, who also played college basketball, the other would be his faith in God.

“My inspiration is definitely the Lord, Monroe said.

“He definitely pushes me and brings me out of a lot of dark places.”

Playing ball isn’t Monroe’s only passion in life. The mass communications major has always wanted to pursue a career in music and movie production.

” I would like to do something to show my creative side,” Monroe said.

This past semester, in an effort to adjust to life at Southern, Monroe has been spending his free time getting to know people and figuring out what the community is all about.

“I didn’t know one person when I came to this school, Monroe said.

“It’s always fun to step into a new realm and get to know how the people and the school interact with each other.”

Monroe is looking forward to the rest of this season, as well as, his next year at Southern. His goal for himself as an athlete is simple, to play his hardest each and every game. His theory for basketball can be summed up in three words “Play with heart.”