May 1, 2014
DAVIS, Calif. – The UC Davis men’s basketball team added another versatile post player to its roster once 6-foot-10 forward/center Neal Monson signed a National Letter of Intent, UC Davis head coach Jim Les announced Thursday.
“Neal’s size, skill, maturity, and basketball IQ will make an immediate impact on our program,” said Les. “He can score in a variety of ways, is an accomplished rebounder, and is an excellent interior defender.
“Neal is also a first class student, and person, and will be a great ambassador of our program.”
Before embarking on a two-year LDS mission in Oaxaca, Mexico, Monson was slated to compete for the men’s basketball team at Utah. Instead, he chose community service over athletics and traveled south to begin his brief respite from academics and basketball.
Once completed, Monson enrolled at Salt Lake Community College last summer to help ease the transition from life as a missionary, to one as a student-athlete.
In his lone year at SLCC, Monson quickly earned a spot in the Bruins’ starting lineup and competed as head coach Todd Phillips’ primary center. The only player to earn a start in every game played, Monson averaged 14.4 points and led his team in rebounding at 8.4 per game.
Even though they fell short of their ultimate goal, the Bruins dropped a heartbreaking decision at the National Junior College Athletic Association National Championships on a buzzer-beater, it’s fair to say that Monson was one of the main reasons why SLCC was able to piece together a legitimate run at the title last year.
The Bruins’ leading scorer in 16 of their games, and top rebounder in 15, Monson logged a double-double on a team-high 10 occasions, fell one rebound shy in another three games and led all players with 36 blocks–nearly 30 pct. of his team’s total.
For his on-court success, the NJCAA named Monson an All-American and recognized his accomplishments with a spot on its honorable mention list.
Prior to his arrival in Oaxaca, Monson earned four boys’ basketball letters and graduated from The Waterford School, Utah’s most prestigious high school, with a 3.8 GPA.
An all-Utah selection as a sophomore, Monson averaged 20 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks per game the following year, all Division 3A highs, in a season that ended with first team all-state recognition.
Monson capped a brilliant high school career by leading the Ravens to the Division 2A finals. As a senior, he averaged 22 points, 14 rebounds, collected Div. 2A MVP accolades and led all classifications in the state of Utah in scoring, rebounding and blocks.
Monson joins a decorated incoming class comprised of all-Ohio guard Isaiah Walton, who signed during the fall window, and City College of San Francisco standout Josh Fox, a forward who committed to UC Davis last week.
MBB at Idaho (7 p.m.)