A Wildcat to remember: the best of Malik Monk
Kentucky men’s basketball freshman guard Malik Monk was named a Wooden All-American on Monday by the Los Angeles Athletic Club after leading the Wildcats to Southeastern Conference regular-season and tournament championships as well as a memorable run to the Elite Eight.
Monk, one of 15 finalists for the John R. Wooden Award, was one of 10 players on the Wooden All-American Team. He is joined by Lonzo Ball (UCLA), Dillon Brooks (Oregon), Josh Hart (Villanova), Josh Jackson (Kansas), Justin Jackson (North Carolina), Luke Kennard (Duke), Frank Mason III (Kansas), Caleb Swanigan (Purdue) and Nigel Williams-Goss (Gonzaga) on the team.
Ball, Hart, Mason III, Swanigan and Williams-Goss are the five finalists for the Wooden Award.
Monk is the sixth Wildcat named a Wooden Award All-American in the John Calipari era. He joins Tyler Ulis (2016), Willie Cauley-Stein (2015), Anthony Davis (2012), DeMarcus Cousins (2010) and John Wall (2010) as other UK players to earn the distinction.
Monk finished his freshman season averaging 19.8 points per game, second among all freshmen nationally, and reached double-figure scoring in all but two games this season.
With 14 points in the second-round game against Wichita State, he became UK’s all-time leading freshman scorer with 721 points, passing Jamal Murray’s output of 720 from a season ago. His record-breaking season ends with 754 points scored. That’s fourth all-time in UK’s history books regardless of class, trailing only Dan Issel (948; 1970), Jodie Meeks (854; 2009) and Jamal Mashburn (767; 1992).
Monk produced 18 games of 20 points or more, including a Kentucky freshman record 47 points against North Carolina in December. Monk is the only freshman in program history with four 30-point games, and six times this season he scored at least 20 points in a half.
Monk made 104 three-pointers on the season, not far behind Jodie Meeks’ school record of 117.
His Wooden All-American honors joins a long list of awards this postseason for Monk. They include:
▪ SEC Player of the Year (AP)
▪ SEC Newcomer of the Year (AP)
▪ SEC Freshman of the Year (Coaches)
▪ All-SEC First Team (AP/Coaches)
▪ All-SEC Freshman Team (Coaches)
▪ NABC All-America Second Team
▪ USBWA All-America Second Team
▪ Sporting News All-America Second Team
▪ Sporting News Freshman All-America Team
▪ USA Today All-America Second Team
▪ NBC Sports All-America Second Team
▪ USBWA District IV Player of the Year
▪ USBWA All-District IV Team
▪ Jerry West Award Finalist
▪ Wooden Award Finalist
▪ NABC All-District 21 Team