One of the first things Rodney Monroe saw on his recruiting trip to North Carolina State was the retired jersey of David Thompson and a plaque commemorating the achievements of the Wolfpack's all-time scorer.
Back then, Monroe didn't give much thought to breaking Thompson's career scoring record of 2,309 points. Four years and 2,280 points later, the thought has crossed the mind of the former St. Maria Goretti star.
FTC "It's not something I set out to do," Monroe said last week in Raleigh. "At the beginning of the season, I didn't say I wanted to break David Thompson's record. If it comes, it comes. If it doesn't that will be fine, too."
It will likely come this week, either tonight at home against Robert Morris or on Saturday, on national television at Connecticut. Monroe needs 30 points to break Thompson's record and is averaging 28.3.
N.C. State coach Les Robinson said yesterday that he won't gear hisgame plan around getting Monroe the record. Getting the ball to the 6-foot-2 senior from Hagerstown is a large part of the Wolfpack's strategy.
"We'll sort of let nature take its course," said Robinson.
Monroe has met Thompson a couple of times during his career at N.C. State and has even watched tapes of a 6-4 forward renowned for his jumping ability. He is as aware of Thompson's downfall off the court as his achievements on it.
"I know he had some problems, but he's come back from them," Monroe said.
Thompson, who has overcome drug and alcohol problems and is now community relations director for the Charlotte Hornets, knows all about Monroe. He also realizes that his record, set in three years (1973-75), is about to fall.
"Rodney's a great player, but it's a little different when you play four years, you have the three-point shot and you can dunk," said Thompson, who was never allowed to dunk during his college career. Thompson holds the N.C. State single-game scoring record of 57 points, set against Buffalo State in 1975. Monroe, who once had 60 in high school, scored 48 earlier this season against Georgia Tech.
While Thompson was primarily an inside scorer, Monroe is known predominantly as a shooter.
"We played different games, but we both wanted the ball down the stretch," said Thompson.
N.C. State top scorers
David Thompson, 1973-1975 . . .2,309
Rodney Monroe, 1987-present. . . . 2,280
Sammy Ranzino, 1948-51 . . . . . . .1,967
Hawkeye Whitney, 1977-80 . . . . . .1,964
Kenny Carr, 1975-77. . . . . . . . .1,761