Ex-Cats

NBA Draft profile: Get to know Kentucky’s Malik Monk

Kentucky’s Malik Monk is projected to be a top-10 pick in the NBA Draft.
Kentucky’s Malik Monk is projected to be a top-10 pick in the NBA Draft. UK Athletics

All about Malik Monk

College: Kentucky

Position: Combo guard

Measurables (from UK): 6’3” with shoes, 197 pounds, 6’3½” wingspan, 8’3” standing reach, 36.5” no-step vertical, 42” maximum vertical

Hometown: Lepanto, Ark. (Bentonville High School)

UK statistics: Averaged 19.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.0 turnovers per game as a freshman. Shot 45.0 percent from the field, 82.2 percent from the free-throw line and 39.7 percent from three-point range.

Honors and superlatives: An NCAA Consensus Second-Team All-American selection after earning second-team honors from the Associated Press, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, Sporting News and the National Association of Basketball Coaches. … Was the Jerry West Award winner, awarded to the nation’s top shooting guard by Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame. … Southeastern Conference AP Player of the Year. … AP Newcomer of the Year. … SEC Freshman of the Year, as awarded by the league’s coaches. … Set a UK freshman program record with 754 points scored, passing the 720 scored by Jamal Murray the season before. … The 754 points were the fourth most in single season by any Wildcat regardless of class … Connected on 104 three-pointers, the third most in a single season by any UK player and just the fourth in program history to hit more than 100 in a single year. … Made 251 made field goals, the most by a freshman in program history. … Set a Kentucky freshman record with 47 points scored against North Carolina in Las Vegas. … Led the SEC in scoring during the regular season at 21.2 points per game. … Four-time SEC weekly award winner (SEC Freshman of the Week on Nov. 21, Jan. 2 and Jan. 16; SEC Player of the Week on Dec. 19).

Before Kentucky: Born Feb. 4, 1998, in Jonesboro, Ark. … Named second-team All-USA Boys Basketball and Naismith All-American. … A McDonald’s All-American and Jordan Brand Classic game participant. … Shared MVP honors with fellow UK signee De’Aaron Fox at the Jordan Brand Classic after posting 22 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals. … Won the McDonald’s three-point shooting contest and finished second in the dunk contest. … The 2016 Arkansas Gatorade Player of the Year, in addition to earning the state’s Mr. Basketball award. … Ranked No. 9 overall by Rivals and ESPN. ... 247Sports rated him as the No. 10 player overall and Scout tabbed him at No. 13. … Named to the 2015-16 USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team. … Chose Kentucky over Arkansas, Kansas and Oregon.

Fox on Twitter: @AhmadMonk

When the 2016-17 NBA season ended, former Wildcats who played under Calipari were spread across 15 of the league’s 30 teams. That number is likely to increase at Thursday's NBA Draft.

Monk in mock drafts

DraftExpress (June 22): Eighth to the New York Knicks

ESPN (June 22): 11th to the Charlotte Hornets

NBA.com (June 22): Sixth to the Orlando Magic

CBS Sports (June 21): Eighth to the New York Knicks

The Ringer (June 22): Eighth to the New York Knicks

Sporting News (June 22): 10th to the Sacramento Kings

Draft analysts on Monk

DraftExpress: “Monk’s intrigue at the next level starts with his tremendous athletic ability, even if he is a tad undersized. … A freakishly explosive leaper capable of finishing emphatically above the rim, registering a 42-inch vertical leap at Kentucky's preseason combine, (he) also possesses the strong first step and quickness to potentially grow into a dynamic shot creator off the dribble, even if that wasn't his identity at the college level. … Aside from his explosiveness, it is Monk's prowess as a jump shooter that remains his most appealing trait as an NBA prospect. … As he transitions to the next level, his ability to become a more dynamic ball handler, learn how to manipulate defenses, hone his developing passing ability, and become more of a combo guard will be a key step in his development.”

The Crossover: “Monk’s three-point range, elite athleticism and ability to get himself open cements his NBA value and gives him a shot at stardom if things break correctly. His skill set is a bit more diverse than the perimeter scoring role he played so impressively at Kentucky, and he could in theory become a lead ballhandler who can score inside and out. He’ll have a lot of learning to do in order for that to happen, which may mean a longer adjustment period as Monk figures out what still works for him and what doesn’t.”

The Ringer: “Supremely athletic scorer who, while undersized as a 2, has tools to grow into a point guard. … He flies up the court and is a monster dunker in the open floor. … Elite shooter from NBA range who is always looking for his shot. … Average passer. If he becomes a point, passing will always be secondary.”

Since John Calipari began coaching Kentucky in the 2009-10 season, the Wildcats have had more players selected in the NBA Draft than any other school or foreign country.

Coach Cal on Monk

“Malik is a special talent. With Malik you’re talking about a superior athlete with skills and an ability to score that make him truly unique. What I love about Malik is that, as the season went on, he learned how to help our team win by doing more than just scoring. He became an efficient player who I believe will make an immediate impact at the next level.”

“When he gets in a zone, and he just locks it down, you just kind of sit there and say, ‘Oh, my goodness.’”

Monk videos and more

Dennis Varney: 859-231-3514, @ExCats

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader

  Comments