Monk, Wings to Rev Up At The Warm Up

The Arkansas Wings - featuring Malik Monk and several of the state top's juniors - will be on display early in the AAU season during The Warm Up, an early season event in Bentonville April 3-5 that will feature several of the nation's top traveling teams.

Four of the state’s best junior basketball players have been bumping heads this season, but will come together this spring and summer for what should be a power-laded Arkansas Wings’ 17-and-under basketball squad.

Bentonville’s Malik Monk (6-4, 190), Van Buren’s Mitchell Smith (6-10, 210), Fayetteville’s Payton Willis (6-4, 165) and Pulaski Academy sharpshooter Lawson Korita (6-4, 200) will team up together on the Wings.

They will be joined by the Southwest Christian Academy duo of Eric Curry (6-7, 200) and guard Tyrik Dixon (6-1, 180).

Basketball fans can get their first look at the Wings April 3-5 in Bentonville at The Warm Up, a tournament that former Razorback football and basketball player Marcus Monk has put together.

“The whole concept was to put something together without it just being Nike teams or Adidas or Under Amour teams and just to have an early great tournament with some great teams.

“I wanted it to be more about quality of the teams and players than the quantity and we think we have some really great teams and players coming in,” Monk added.

Some of the teams scheduled to be on hand include Team Penny, Team Texas, Mokan Elite, the St. Louis Eagles and Athletes First among others.

Besides the aforementioned Arkansas standouts, other top players expected to be on hand are 2016 stars such as Marques Bolden (6-10, 230) of Desoto, Texas, Jeremiah Tilson (6-9, 215) of East St. Louis, Ill., Nate Morris (6-10, 225) of Dallas, Texas, Lancaster, point guard Dejon Jarreau (6-4, 180) of New Orleans, La., McDonogh and Skylar Mays (6-3, 175) of Baton Rouge, La., University Lab.

A couple of the 2017 standouts should be point guard Michael Porter (6-9, 190) Of Columbia, Mo. Father Toltson Catholic and Trae Young (6-1) of Norman, Okla.

The younger Monk is the highest regarded of all the prospects expected to be on hand and is coming off a junior season in which he averaged nearly 30 points per game in conference play.

His season ended Saturday when North Little Rock downed Bentonville 66-59 in the Class 7A state title game despite him scoring 26 points. “I think he really improved with his all-around game this season,” Marcus Monk said. “I think he really added a lot of value to his game and improved in a lot of ways, including being a leader on the court.”

The Monks put recruiting on the back-burner during the season, especially during his playoff run.

Arkansas and Kentucky are among the plethora of teams trying to land Malik Monk, who is the regarded as the sixth-best 2016 prospect nationally by

“The best thing is that he was just able to just be focused in on trying to win the state title and not worry about all that,” Marcus Monk said. “No calls, no pressure, just trying to do his best to help his team.”

The Razorback program sent its entire team and coaching staff to watch Monk play in Fayetteville in early March.

“They are doing a great job recruiting him and he knows how much the staff there at Arkansas wants him,” Marcus Monk added. “It’s a good feeling for him to see them.”

Marcus and Malik Monk

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