Kentucky freshman Malik Monk is one of 20 candidates on the preseason watch list for the Jerry West Award, which goes to the country’s best shooting guard.
Teammate De’Aaron Fox was previously announced as being on the watch list for the Bob Cousy Award, which honors the nation’s top point guard.
Other candidates for the preseason West award watch list are Arizona’s Allonzo Trier, Arkansas’ Dusty Hannahs, BYU’s Nick Emery, Cincinnati’s Jacob Evans, Dayton’s Charles Cooke, Duke’s Grayson Allen, Gonzaga’s Jordan Matthews, Illinois’ Malcolm Hill, Indiana’s James Blackmon Jr., Iowa’s Peter Jok, Kansas’ Devonte’ Graham, LSU’s Antonio Blakeney, Louisville’s Donovan Mitchell, Michigan State’s Eron Harris, New Mexico’s Elijah Brown, Oregon’s Tyler Dorsey, Rhode Island’s E.C. Matthews, SMU’s Shake Milton and UCLA’s Isaac Hamilton.
By mid-February, the watch list for the West award of 20 players will be narrowed to 10. In March, five finalists will be presented to the award’s namesake and the Hall of Fame selection committee. The winner of the 2017 Jerry West Award will be presented at the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show in Los Angeles on April 7. Players do not have to be on the watch list to win the award until the five finalists are announced.
An explosive 6-foot-3 guard, Monk is capable of scoring in a variety of ways. He won the three-point shooting contest at the McDonald’s All American Game and finished runner-up in the slam dunk contest showcasing his athleticism.
Monk was the 2016 Arkansas Gatorade High School Player of the Year in addition to earning the state’s Mr. Basketball award. He averaged 28.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game as a senior at Bentonville. Known for his scoring ability, Monk set a single-game school scoring record with 53 points in a game during his final campaign.
A consensus five-star athlete out of high school, Monk was rated as the No. 9 overall player by ESPN and Rivals, No. 10 by 247Sports and No. 13 by Scout.
Previous winners of the Jerry West Award include Buddy Hield of Oklahoma (2016) and D’Angelo Russell from Ohio State (2015).
The Jerry West Award is named after Jerry West, who attended West Virginia University and averaged 24.8 points and 13.3 rebounds per game in his three varsity seasons. He led his team to the NCAA championship game in 1959 and was named a consensus All-American in 1959 and 1960. In the summer of 1960, he was co-captain of the U.S. men’s basketball team and won an Olympic gold medal. As a professional player, West played 14 seasons in the NBA with the Lakers, making the All-NBA First Team 10 times. West won an NBA championship in 1972 and was named the NBA Finals MVP in 1969 despite his team not winning the championship. In 1996, he was named a member of the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.