Who's That Knocking On Malik Monk's Door?

Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson started a parade of college basketball head coaches to Bentonville last week to see junior Malik Monk (6-4, 190), who got a visit from Kentucky head coach John Calipari on Tuesday after Florida's Billy Donovan, North Carolina's Roy Williams and Iowa State's Fred Hoiberg all made appearances.

There have been some pretty recognizable college basketball coaches stopping by Bentonville High School’s arena the past couple of weeks and more are coming.

Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson and assistant Melvin Watkins were there as soon as the September evaluation and contact period opened.

Florida’s Billy Donovan, North Carolina’s Roy Williams, Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg followed to see the younger brother of former Arkansas football and basketball star Marcus Monk.

Kentucky’s John Calipari was in Bentonville on Tuesday and KansasBill Self - who sent assistant Norm Roberts last week – will be in soon.

They have all been there – and will be back – to see Bentonville five-star junior basketball star Malik Monk (6-4, 190) according to Tigers’ head coach Jason McMahan.

“He has handled it just like you would expect – very quietly and just going about his business,” McMahan said. “He is so used now to being on that level and being the center of attention that nothing really bothers him on or off the court.

“The good thing is that our other kids are kind of getting used to it as well and that’s good for us as a group,” McMahan said. “But yes, it’s been pretty exciting when you think about who all has been here and how successful they have been on the college level.”

Anderson and Watkins were the first ones at Bentonville when the current recruiting period opened on Sept. 9 – one that runs through Nov. 9.

Monk was on the Arkansas sidelines with Razorback coaches and players for the school’s football game with Nicholls – a game that turned into a 73-7 rout.

“Arkansas is always going to be there for me until the end,” Monk said during a brief conversation. “I really love what Coach Anderson and his guys are doing.”

McMahan praised the Razorback staff for its recruiting effort.

“Arkansas is doing a great job recruiting Malik and Coach Anderson and Coach Watkins were the first ones here to see him,” McMahan said. “They wanted to be first and he wanted them here first.

“They have really let him know how important he is to them and what he could mean to their program,” McMahan added. “He gets that and he really loves Arkansas and those coaches and has been around them a long time with his brother having been a Razorback and all that.”

McMahan’s team will host St. Louis, Mo., Chaminade and small forward Jayson Tatum – the nation’s top 2016 player nationally - in a game in Bentonville on Nov. 29 and will soon announce some other national tournaments it will participate in.

Kentucky and North Carolina both jumped in with scholarship offers this summer to join Arkansas, Memphis, Florida, Louisville, UConn, Baylor, Indiana and more.

Fans should not be surprised if he waits until the second semester of his senior season to sign with a school.

“There’s been a lot of speculation about that and he’s talked about it a little, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he wants as long as he can to make that decision,” McMahan said. “I wouldn’t blame him at all if he does.”

Monk – who had 59 points in one EYBL AAU game last spring - has taken a plethora of unofficial visits to Arkansas and took one to Kentucky on August 6.

The Wildcats would like to add him just like they did former Sylvan Hills star Archie Goodwin, who famously proclaimed his choice of Kentucky over Arkansas as a “business decision.”

"He (Calipari) really just said if you're not tough enough to be coached by him, don't come," Monk recently told The Courier Journal of Louisville. "But he said he really wanted me and really wanted to coach me.

"…I'm trying to be a one-and-done, and he's dealt with a bunch of one-and-dones, so that's what I like," Monk added later.

At the Nike Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C., in July, Monk averaged 18.8 points per game, 3.5 rebounds, 2.6 assist and 1.6 steals.

He had a wildly inconsistent tournament – pouring in 40 points in one spectacular performance that included five 3-pointers and some high-flying dunks, but going 3-for-11 from the field and scoring just eight points in another.

“He can get better with his all around game, defensively, better decision-making, shot selection,” Marcus Monk said. “He is talented, but he has a long way to go and a lot of maturing to do.”

Monk was also considered a lock to play make the USA 17-and-under national team, but was one of the initial cuts among the 33 player trying out – perhaps because of being tired from a long summer.

That came after not only the AAU season, but also after being one of the 80 invitees to LeBron James Camp and also an all-tournament appearance at the Nike Global Challenge in Chicago.

He even got a chance to play in pick-up games with James.

“It was really good for him as far as the level of competition and being challenged every day,” Monk said. “They do skill work in the morning. It just gives those guys a sense of being around LeBron. Nobody gets that opportunity. It's a blessing for those kids to be in that position, but it also drives them and helps their level of play.”

Monk certainly impressed a trio of Scout.com analysts in Evan Daniels, Brian Snow and Rob Harrington.

“Monk is a world class athlete that showed improved in his overall game and scoring ability during the spring and summer,” Daniels said. “His jump shot has gained consistency, he's confident attacking the basket and he has the potential to be a very good defender down the road.

“Monk’s ceiling is high and his long term potential is tremendous,” Daniels added. “He's long, has elite athleticism and his ability to put the ball in the basket is top notch. “

Harrington was wowed by Monk at the aforementioned Peach Jam.

“Monk always has impressed me as an elite talent, but he truly stole the show at the Peach Jam,” Harrington said. “You could hear crowds reacting to him from the other side of the facility. He plays with an electricity that, if anything, overshadows his immense skills.

“He'll need to become more consistent from event to event, but he's a young guy and has lots of time to figure it out,” Harrington added. “He boasts extraordinary long-term potential and, in what's likely to be one year of college, could become a superstar right out of the gate. And at the minimum, he'll be a lot of fun to watch.”

Snow thinks Monk got worn downed from the summer and that probably cost him a spot on the national team.

“Malik was great when I saw him during the Nike Peach Jam, but then oddly struggled at the USA Basketball tryouts for the U-17 team,” Snow said. “Honestly I was a bit shocked with what I saw from Malik there, and I tend to think he was just worn down from a long summer, because he is a far better player than he showed.

“Overall there is no doubt in my mind he is a top five prospect in the class and one of the truly elite talents,” Snow added. “He isn't a point guard, but can play the position at times, and is an elite athlete who is a big time scorer all over the floor. There is no doubt he will be a kid who plays the game for a long, long time and makes a lot of money doing it going forward.”

LeBron James, Malik Monk

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