Monroe star and Herald Super 6er Jabari McGhee recently hit his 1,000th point for his career and has The Herald No. 1 Tornadoes unbeaten in region play. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ALBANY — There is no list of players at Monroe who have scored 1,000 points, but Tornadoes coach Marquis Davis knows it would be a short one.
And that’s why he — and others — are so impressed with Herald Super 6er Jabari McGhee, who surpassed the 1,000-point mark recently.
“He is among the elite at Monroe,’’ Davis said of McGhee. “Only a few players in the past 15 years have scored like that. I don’t know how many players (at Monroe have scored 1,000 points), but not many. One guy you would have to put down is (former South Alabama star) Demetrius Bennett. He’s the uncle of (Monroe guard) Keith Bowens. Another guy would be Chris Daniels, who went on to play for Georgia. Jabari is among the elite.’’
McGhee, who is having a monster year and already making a strong case to win The Herald’s Willie Boston Player of the Year award, is leading Monroe on and off the court, and the Tornadoes are having a season to remember. They’re 19-2 and have been ranked in The Herald’s Fab 5 poll for the entire season. If they end there, they’ll be the first team in the history of the poll to be No. 1 wire-to-wire.
McGhee is at the heart of everything Monroe has done. He is not only averaging a double-double for the season — with an 18-point average and 10 rebounds a game — but he is the leader and go-to-guy for a team full of talent.
More importantly, he has been his best in the big games, and he’s pretty modest about surpassing the 1,000-point mark.
“Sometimes you put yourself in position to accomplish things. Scoring 1,000 points wasn’t something I came here expecting to accomplish,’’ McGhee, who played as a freshman and started as a sophomore, said Wednesday.
McGhee then added: “When I came to Monroe, I had one goal, and that was to win a state championship. It’s great (to surpass 1,000 points), but we’re winning — and that’s all I care about.’’
McGhee started some games as a freshman because starter Brandon Johnson, a Herald Super 6er, had injuries that sidelined him for about a third of the year. McGhee replaced Johnson and also came off the bench. Then he came into his own as a sophomore.
“He’s been productive for four years,’’ Davis said. “It’s very seldom you get a guy who is productive for four years. He began starting as a 10th-grader, and ever since then the sky has been the limit for him. He broke out his sophomore year, and he has gotten better. He has improved in all categories this year.’’
McGhee said the team’s success this season comes from their bond with each other, and he added that the Nadas are closer and more of a team — on and off the court.
“My teammates, that’s why I got 1,000 points,’’ McGhee said. “They get me the ball. They put the ball in my hands. The ball has to come from somewhere. I don’t play point guard.’’
McGhee, who currently sits at 1,126 career points, might have a lot more if he had started as a freshman, but now he believes it helped him more to be on the bench.
“I learned a lot sitting down,’’ he said. “It made me cherish the game. I thank coach Davis for that. It kept me humble.’’