NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. — One of the most exciting high school basketball players in the country is also one of the least forthcoming about his college recruitment.
Malik Monk isn't trying to dodge the questions. He's just not quite ready to dive into the process.
Just about every time Monk was asked about his recruitment Thursday night, he smiled politely and pointed his thumb over his shoulder in the direction of a man standing a few feet away.
"I don't pay attention to that," Monk says. "My brother takes care of everything, so it's good."
Never miss a local story.
Monk's brother is Marcus Monk, the former two-sport standout at the University of Arkansas who was drafted by the NFL's Chicago Bears and has played professional basketball in Germany.
These days, Marcus is the man to talk to about his little brother's recruitment, and that's just the way Malik wants it.
"He came to me and he said that he didn't want to think about this until after the Peach Jam," Marcus said. "He wants to enjoy this last summer with his teammates. So he hasn't narrowed his list down at all. ... He hasn't thought anything about it."
Ask Malik about the schools recruiting him, and you won't get much of an answer.
The 6-foot-4 guard knows Arkansas and Kentucky are involved, as they have been for well over a year. Those are the two schools most tied to Monk's recruitment.
Arkansas represents the home-state school that has made him priority No. 1, evidenced by Razorbacks Coach Mike Anderson once bringing the entire team to sit courtside at one of Monk's high school games.
Kentucky is the out-of-state power trying to lure Monk away from home, and the Wildcats have also made him one of their top targets. UK Coach John Calipari arrived at the Nike Peach Jam event Friday morning, and Monk was the first player he watched.
"Coach Cal told me he wanted to coach me and I'm one of their top priorities," Monk told the Herald-Leader. "Kentucky has put a lot of people in the league. It made me feel good to have them offer me, but I just have to focus on what I'm doing at Peach Jam."
Marcus mentioned Kansas, North Carolina, Oregon, Florida State and St. John's as other programs that are doing "a great job" of recruiting Malik, who is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 3 overall prospect in the class of 2016.
Once the summer basketball schedule is finished, Malik will turn to recruiting.
His plan is to sit down with his brother and his mother, narrow his list to five schools, and go from there. The announcement of his final five will be made next month on Marcus' radio show.
"It's his decision," Marcus says. "I can't do it for him. I'm here to help him manage the process and give him information, but he has to make the decision.
"He does know that he has to be full-fledged selfish in this decision. ... He has to make the decision based solely off what makes him happy."
Right now, what makes Malik happy is playing ball.
He dropped 31 points in a victory in front of UK assistant Kenny Payne on Thursday night, showing off the scoring ability that has made him one of the nation's top players.
It was at last year's Peach Jam that he put on the show of the summer, scoring 40 points in a performance that included NBA-length three-pointers and highlight-reel dunks.
Marcus says his little brother's game has grown in the year since that night.
"He's always had a knack to score, but he's more efficient," he said. "And that's one thing we were trying to work on. He has a gift where he can get to the rim, and when he penetrates good things happen for him and for people around him. But he loves to shoot the threes.
"You can't control his game, but he's starting to understand more: 'Hey, let me get these guys involved.' And he's getting more and more comfortable at the lead guard position. He's not just a two-guard any more."
That's a scary thought for opponents and enough to make college coaches salivate.
Whoever lands Monk is unlikely to get the good news any time soon.
He has taken unofficial visits to only three schools so far — UK, Arkansas and Kansas — and Marcus said not to expect a final decision until the spring.
"There's a few things that he needs to do and needs to see," he said. "And my mother needs to go on the campus and see where her baby will be. He's blessed enough where he doesn't have to rush it."