The EPC Pipeline

Former Arkansas football and basketball star Marcus Monk - on hand Saturday for the NWA Passing Academy - was the first of three East Poinsett County stars to sign with the Razorbacks in recent years and there could be another one on the horizon in his younger brother Malik.

Former Arkansas football and basketball standout Marcus Monk was just the first gift that East Poinsett County gave to the Razorbacks and it has been – and may continue to be – the gift that keeps on giving.

Monk, just back from winning a title in his second year playing professional hoops in Germany, has a younger brother that is already being labeled a basketball phenom.

He's 6-3 Malik Monk, who will just be a ninth grader next season at EPC, but who some say has the potential to equal – or surpass – the best Arkansas has ever produced.

"He's young, he knows he's young and he doesn't pay a lot of attention to any of that," Monk said. "I hope it comes, I hope he is viewed as that one day, but he knows it is about putting in the work and I always tell him there is no substitute for hard work."

Monk, in Springdale Saturday to work at Alex Mortensen's Northwest Arkansas Passing Academy, said he won't have to worry too much about keeping his younger brother humble.

"First of all, our mother does that – same as she did with me," Monk said. "She won't let him get out of control and I definitely won't.

"But he works hard and he loves to play the game and a lot of what he has is just God-given," Monk added. "I tell him he is just 13 – about to be 14 - and he has been in the gym with me since I was 10. A lot of kids his age won't put in that time, but he wants to do it. You never know how it is going to go, but he wants it."

Marcus would certainly like his younger brother to join former EPC basketball star and current Razorback sophomore Rashad Madden and incoming football freshman A.J. Turner as Warriors-turned -Razorbacks.

"That would be great," Monk said. "We've got a pretty good thing going at EPC right now."

Madden averaged 6.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2 assists his freshman season for the basketball Razorbacks.

"I saw him two weeks ago when he came and helped me out in a little camp at Heber (Springs)," Monk said. "He is working hard and he is maturing. I can see that since I have been gone. I think we are going to see that on the court this season."

Turner had 212 tackles last season while leading his football team to a state title and then had 14 points and 15 rebounds as the Warriors also won the Class 2A basketball crown.

"A.J. is just a great kid and that is another guy that works hard," Monk said. "You go out there in the summer and – ever since I have known him since he was real small – he has been there at the gym working out or lifting weights. It's great to see him putting in that extra time and to see him and where he has come from.

"I think he has four sisters and lives with his mom and for him to get a college scholarship is just real big for his family and I am so proud of what he has accomplished," Monk said.

Monk has been playing in German's Basketball Bundesliga league, which is the highest level of club basketball in that country.

He played for the Big Oettinger Rockets Gotha, which won the Group South Division and then the overall title in the playoffs in April.

"It was my second year over there and we won it all – won the championship this year," Monk said. "I got MVP so it was a good, productive year."

"Basketball is basketball, but where we have more isolations here in the United States, everything over there is set plays," Monk said. "They want you to be in a system, run a play every time. If you are an American, they make it clear they don't want the American style. You have to adjust, but it's nothing huge."

Monk feels like his former college football and basketball teams are due for very good seasons in 2012-2013.

"Both teams should be in good shape," Monk said. "Basketball team can't help but improve after their first year of being in that system and one of their main players went down right away with an injury. Mike is just now getting his recruits in so I am looking for big things from them."

"The football team went to BCS two years ago, finished top 5 last season and they have a great nucleus no matter what has happened previously with the coach," Monk said. "The players make the game. Coaching is a big thing, but the players coming back are the biggest thing."

Monk says he is now ready to make the step from player to coach.

"I am actually looking for a coaching gig so I am going to start contacting some of my old coaches," Monk said. "I want to get into coaching."


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