Monteiro making most of second chances
B.J. Monteiro feels very fortunate.
When the Duquesne University sophomore arrived on the Bluff out of Waterbury Crosby High School as the Connecticut player of the year in 2007-08, he quickly earned a starting spot with the Dukes.
Then, just as swiftly, he lost it, relegated to a reserve role, buried on Duquesne's deep bench.
"He's starting to make the adjustment because he didn't play a lot of minutes last year until the end of the season," Duquesne coach Ron Everhart said. "He's a good playmaker. I like what he's bringing to our ballclub right now, and I hope he continues to get better. As a team, we really need that, especially on the defensive end."
Monteiro is content at Duquesne, more so now, not so much over being thrust into a starting role for the Dukes in place of the injured Melquan Bolding. Rather, the 6-foot-5 guard/forward, who is averaging 12.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in four consecutive starts, simply is glad for another opportunity to remain on the team.
"I don't want to take it for granted. I just want to play hard every play because I know it could be taken away from me that quick," he said.
Monteiro, disappointed over his lack of playing time during his freshman year at Duquesne after finishing his high school career as Crosby's all-time leading scorer with 1,833 points, served a two-game suspension to start this year after larceny charges against him were dropped. Monteiro, along with two buddies, was nabbed for allegedly stealing possessions and money from the owners of a house party they were attending.
Monteiro maintains the incident does not define his nature, rather he simply used very poor judgment in getting involved.
"It was definitely a tough time for me, but with going through the situation, it made me stronger," he said. "It made me not take this for granted, because it could all be snatched away in a second. It was definitely a situation I've never been in before. It was tough, but now that I'm back, I just want to take advantage of it. I feel very strong mentally."
Everhart believes in Monteiro, and he believes that the young, budding star is genuine in his remorse. Still, Everhart required Monteiro to sit out an exhibition game against La Roche and the Dukes' regular-season opener against Nicholls State.
And, yes, when Monteiro arrived at Duquesne after averaging 21.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.9 steals for Crosby's state championship team, Everhart frowned upon his dreadlocks.
"I didn't force him to cut off his hair," the coach said smiling. "All I said was 'You don't really have to play on this team if you don't want to.'"
That, of course, was enough to convince Monteiro to shed his locks.
"Everything goes forward," he said. "I'm just trying to look forward to the next game and whatever role they want me to play."
Duquesne (4-1), coming off two victories in three games at the O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic Cullowhee (N.C.) Sub-Regional, entertains Radford (2-1) at 2 p.m. Sunday at Palumbo Center.
Bolding, who scored 25 points in Duquesne's 85-62 season-opening victory over Nicholls State on Nov. 13, despite breaking a bone his wrist, is expected to be out a minimum of two more weeks. But likely longer.
Everhart said he's hoping Bolding will be available in time for the start of the Atlantic 10 Conference schedule in January.
For now, Monteiro's in the mix.
"B.J.," Everhart said, "is one of those kids that I don't know if he really has a position. He's just a ballplayer. He's really trying to learn how hard he has to play, especially on the defensive end. I don't think he's there yet, but he's starting to get there. He's filled in very well for Mel."