Summer School: Greg

Monroe soaks up knowledge at NBA's rookie orientation

Greg Monroe will be in the gym this week with Arnie Kander after spending last week at the NBA's rookie orientation program in New York.
Jesse D. Garrabrant /NBAE/Getty Images
I’m back in Detroit after spending last week at the NBA’s rookie orientation program and photo shoot in the New York area. It was long days – three long days at the rookie orientation and a fourth day at the photo shoot – but it was a very good time, very informative.

It was stuff you’re going to have to use in life, and not just now but throughout your career and after your career. The league actually paying attention to so much detail so early shows how much they actually care about you being successful. The panels were great. The people they brought in to talk were terrific. It was really a lot of fun.

On a typical day, we’d wake up and have breakfast, and then we’d go to a big learning block – all the players in one room with somebody presenting a lecture or a panel talking. That would start at 8:30 and go for an hour-and-a-half or two hours. Then we’d have group breakouts – five different, smaller groups. You go into separate rooms and discuss all these different things, then come back into the learning block for another hour or two and hear a presentation or listen to another panel, then go to lunch, come back to another panel, go to breakout, maybe another panel, then finish with breakout before dinner.

All of the sessions were good, very informative. We’re coming into this new life and it’s information you’ll need, even if you don’t recognize it now, and they make sure you learn when you’re in that program.

Just take the financial stuff we talked about – paying your taxes, paying into your 401(k), things like that. Then all the personal counseling we got. They brought in a lot of former players and some current players – people who’ve had the hands-on experience.

The current players were Amare Stoudemire, Jarrett Jack and Maurice Evans. Bill Russell talked to finish it off. The stories he has … he’s the greatest winner of all-time. He was great. Then they brought in some people who had tragic stories. Chris Washburn from Golden State; Corrie Blount and the trouble he got in; Kenny Anderson came in and shared his story.

They did a good job of showing you both sides of the story. They didn’t just bring in the people who were very successful like Bill Russell and his 11 championships – they didn’t just show that side of it. They showed the side of people who made mistakes and now they’re using their mistakes to help you.

It’s hard to think about the end of my career. I don’t want to think about the after. I haven’t even started my career yet, so I’m just focused on taking care of the now. As the years progress, I’ll do the best I can to keep myself in a good situation for when it’s time for me to finish.

My agent, David Falk, has also spent time talking to me about that. The players he’s had – he’s had some who have made mistakes also; nobody is 100 percent – but he’s had so many who had a lot of success and are very comfortable and beat those statistics we heard about. I try to just learn some things they did and hope to find my niche to make sure I’m not in that situation.

You probably saw the video or heard about Terrico White’s dunking as the rookie photo shoot was ending. I was there. All the players were there watching. It was getting to the end of the day – a pretty long day. Some guys were just having fun. The DJ let us mess with the equipment a little bit. Terrico definitely stole the show. He’s very athletic. The stuff he was doing was unbelievable.

I met a lot of players there, some I didn’t even know before, but you get there and meet people, you make friends and you exchange numbers and keep in touch. I’ve got a few new numbers of players and I plan to keep in touch with them.

I’m looking forward to getting back on the court this week with Arnie Kander and to these next five weeks before training camp starts. I’ll check back with you then.