Thursday night’s game between Bentonville and Conway will not go down as an official game, but that didn’t matter to Malik Monk.
The five-star shooting guard sparked the Tigers to a 76-55 benefit-game win over the Wampus Cats, with 14 points in the first quarter, including a pair of monster dunks.
“I was just trying to bring my team energy and that’s what I did in the first quarter,” Monk said.
Monk, the No. 1 shooting guard and No. 5 overall player in the Class of 2016, made his first four shots of the game, including an NBA-range 3-pointer, an alley-oop dunk and a thunderous tomahawk slam.
He nearly had another dunk in the second quarter, but Conway fouled him on the way up. Monk ended up getting his third dunk in the third quarter - a windmill dunk on a fast break.
For Bentonville head coach Jason McMahan, the Tigers’ early strategy was simple.
"That's obviously what he can do so well: attack and get to the basket," McMahan said. "Our offense starts with him."
Monk did not have to do much the rest of the game, as Bentonville quickly built a large lead, but he finished with 25 points (8-of-14 FG, 2-of-3 3PT, 7-of-7 FT), two rebounds, three assists and four steals.
Although he had only three assists, he drove the lane several times and set up assists for his teammates.
“I’m trying to get my teammates involved a lot so they can be more comfortable going into the season,” Monk said.
As a benefit game, the win will not be included in the Tigers’ official win-loss record, but it was a solid warm-up game against a 7A opponent leading up to their season-opener against St. Louis (Mo.) Chaminade Nov. 29.
“It’s great to start the season (like this) because we had to open it up in front of our fans,” Monk said. “Coming out to play real well and coming out with the win is real great.”
The win came just one day after Arkansas beat Wake Forest 83-53. Monk said he was impressed by the beatdown, as well as the play by the Razorbacks’ freshman point guard.
“Arkansas played real good,” Monk said. “Anton Beard played real nice.”
Monk is one of the most sought-after recruits in the country and when the last recruiting period opened on Sept. 9, several high-profile coaches visited him at Bentonville High School.
Arkansas’ Mike Anderson, Kentucky’s John Calipari, Kansas’ Bill Self, Florida’s Billy Donovan, North Carolina’s Roy Williams and Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg stopped by to see the younger brother of former Arkansas wide receiver Marcus Monk.
“The experience is nice,” Monk said. “The top coaches in the world want to recruit me.”
Monk's Dunks Spark Bentonville
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