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

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.”

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

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