UK Men's Basketball

Malik Monk closing in on Kentucky’s single-season scoring leaders. See the list.

Malik Monk: I knew I just had to attack

Kentucky guard Malik Monk talks about his 33-point effort, including 30 in the second half, that carried UK to a 76-66 win over Florida.
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Kentucky guard Malik Monk talks about his 33-point effort, including 30 in the second half, that carried UK to a 76-66 win over Florida.

Scoring starbursts of the level Kentucky’s Malik Monk rendered Saturday against Florida and earlier this season versus North Carolina might lead fans to the logical conclusion that they’ve rarely seen anything like this before.

That’s certainly true of the 30-point second half the freshman guard produced Saturday — a “nuclear” performance, as some writers termed it — but Monk has not yet unlocked the room populated with Kentucky’s top 15 single-season scorers of all time.

But the 6-foot-3 guard from Lepanto, Ark., is standing outside the door with the key in his hand.

Monk has scored a team-leading 623 points in 29 games this season, an average of 21.5 per game.

Kentucky has two regular-season games remaining — Tuesday against Vanderbilt and Saturday at Texas A&M — followed by a maximum of three in the Southeastern Conference Tournament and a maximum of six in the NCAA Tournament.

If Monk were to continue at his present pace (21.5 points per game) and play a maximum of 11 more games, he would score an additional 237 points, pushing his single-season total to 860.

At 860 points, Monk would finish second on Kentucky’s all-time single-season list, 88 points shy of Dan Issel’s remarkable record of 948 points, which he set as a senior at Kentucky in 1969-70. Issel, who averaged 33.9 points over 28 games that season, is UK’s all-time men’s basketball scoring leader with 2,138 career points.

Here are the top 15 single-season scorers in UK history. As you can see Monk, with 623 points, is on the cusp of an elite group:

Player

Season

Games

Avg.

Points

1. Dan Issel

1969-70

28

33.9

948

2. Jodie Meeks

2008-09

36

23.7

854

3. Jamal Mashburn

1991-92

36

21.3

767

4. Dan Issel

1968-69

28

26.6

746

5. Kevin Grevey

1974-75

31

23.5

730

6. Ron Mercer

1996-97

40

18.1

725

7. Kenny Walker

1985-86

36

20.0

721

8. Jamal Murray

2015-16

36

20.0

720

9. Jamal Mashburn

1992-93

34

21.0

714

10. Kenny Walker

1984-85

31

22.9

710

11. Alex Groza

1948-49

34

20.5

698

12. Cliff Hagan

1951-52

32

21.6

692

13. Brandon Knight

2010-11

38

17.3

657

14. Cotton Nash

1963-64

27

24.0

648

15. Tony Delk

1995-96

36

17.8

639

While Issel’s record seems beyond reach, the freshman record set by the bow-and-arrow-slinging Jamal Murray last season could be an achievable target for Monk.

Here are the top five single-season scoring seasons by UK freshmen:

Player

Season

Games

Avg.

Points

1. Jamal Murray

2015-16

36

20.0

720

2. Brandon Knight

2010-11

38

17.3

657

3. Malik Monk

2016-17

29

21.5

623

4. John Wall

2009-10

37

16.6

616

5. Julius Randle

2013-14

40

15.0

599

Next game

Vanderbilt at Kentucky

9 p.m. Tuesday (ESPN)

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