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Monk's Decision Could Be Legendary

After last week's trip to Arkansas, Bentonville basketball star Malik Monk (6-4, 190) has now taken his four scheduled official visits and now will decide whether to commit and/or sign during the Nov. 11-18 early signing period or wait until the spring to announce a decision.

While there remains questions on where Bentonville star Malik Monk (6-4, 190) will play his college basketball and how long he will play there, there is no question about what happened with him over Halloween.

Arkansas head basketball coach Mike Anderson and his staff used the Homecoming weekend to take their absolute best shot at convincing the nation’s number seven prospect in the 2016 class that all he needs is just a short drive from his house.

Even former Razorback and SEC Player of the Year and current Chicago Bull Bobby Portis flew in for 24 hours between his NBA games to stress to Monk that he could be a legend forever in the state if he donned an Arkansas jersey.

That was the summation of the visit by Marcus Monk, Malik’s older brother and a former Razorback football and basketball star, who joined the player and his mother Jackie on the official visit.

“They let him know that he can achieve whatever he wants to achieve at Arkansas,” Monk said. “They have everything in-house in place for him to achieve whatever goal he wants to achieve.

“The visit went really well. The coaches did a great job explaining their plan and vision.

“Anything that an athlete needs is right there right now at Arkansas. There is no excuse not to get your work done. They have everything to help a student-athlete be successful.”

Malik Monk, who averaged 26.9 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists per game last season, was surprised Portis popped in to Arkansas on his own dime on Saturday.

“Malik has been knowing Bobby for awhile,” Marcus Monk said. “I think probably when Bobby was in the 11th grade and Malik (then in the eighth grade) even played up on his team one time.

“I didn’t know that Bobby was going to be here. But Bobby is just a good person to talk to just to give you his experiences and what he is going through now that he is on the professional level now.

“He is real good with the younger guys and just wants to help the younger guys, especially guys from his state. He wants to promote them and help them as much as he can.

“Bobby is a great guy and I wish him much success.”

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Monk, whose Bentonville team is ranked 10th nationally in the USA Today preseason poll, has now visited Arkansas, Kentucky, Kansas and Oregon.

There is still a possibility Monk could visit either North Carolina or Florida State or maybe somewhere else with his final visit.

But he is for sure done with taking visits before the Nov. 11-18 early signing period.

“We scheduled four and he has gone on all those four,” Monk said. “We are not trying to rush the process. He still has one more visit available and other schools are still steadily recruiting him.

“The one thing for sure right now is that he is for sure done right now. He needs to focus on his season, but that doesn’t mean he won’t take the last one. It is just whatever he feels.”

The Monks had previously said that Malik would definitely wait until the spring to make a decision and sign.

But that may not be the case now.

“I don’t really want to set a date,” Monk said. “I have told him that if he gets tired of the process - as some kids do - and he knows where he wants to go and his reasoning is valid, then he can go ahead and just do what he has to do.

“If he wants to wait it out and see what happens throughout the season with a few guys and see which coaches get promoted, which coaches leave, anything with coaches and their situations.

“He has the right to do that as well. That is one thing, schools will wait on him so he there really is no rush unless he just wants to go ahead and get it over and is comfortable now with his decision.”

One thing the older Monk stressed that while most people view the younger Monk as a definitive one-and-done guy, the decision can not be looked at that way.

“We only gauge it off of him being there for four years and do we think this is a place that can help him constantly mature and become a better person,” Monk said. “We don’t go into it looking at it as if he is only going to be in school for one year.

“Bigger picture, he has accomplished a ton, but who remembers high school stars? You know what I am saying. He wants to accomplish a lot more so we don’t really focus on one year. We always try to make decisions that are helpful with his life.

“We look at it as a four-year process and how he can achieve his goals on and off the floor and if it is one year, well, that’s a blessing, but he needs to go and find a place that he could be comfortable at for four years if that is how it plays itself out.”

The four visits certainly left a lasting impression on Marcus.

“One thing that is different from going through the process with Malik and myself is that I have a better understanding of everything that is going on,” Monk said.

“You really see that all these colleges are extremely good at what they do and there is a reason that they have success on the court and on the field because from top to bottom from the academic side all way to the athletic side.

“All the extra things that the athletes have at their disposal now is pretty impressive.”

Marcus has been steadfast in shielding Malik as much as he can during the process, including the younger Monk not doing interviews about those visits.

“That is one thing that my mom emphasized - he doesn’t need to grow up too fast,” Monk said. “He needs to be able to enjoy this time because you don’t get it back.

“So one thing that we have tried to do, as much as we can, is to help guide him through the process without taking away his independence. He still needs to be independence and make his own decision and he needs to experience things.

“That is the main goal. We try to balance it all and try to help him as much as we can, but also he has to get his own experiences as well.”

Bentonville will play its Black-and-Gold game on Nov. 12, a benefit game at Conway on Nov. 19 and then open its regular season on Nov. 28 with a game against Mustang, Okla., in the MPMG Showcase in Bentonville.

Monk could have gone to any prep school in the country and played a high level of competition, but decided to stay at Bentonville.

The Tigers' schedule this season has Bentonville playing against some of the nation’s top teams and players in places such as St. Louis, Memphis, Elizabeth, N.J., and Palm Springs, Calif.

“It is a blessing and very rare for a public high school to be able to play on such a stage,” Monk said. “It is rare, but it is going to be a challenge.

“It just shows you how those coaches at Bentonville are not afraid to take on a challenge. Most coaches, realistically looking into it, you are going to play all those powerhouses and you could come out of the non-conference schedule under .500. 

“If you tell a coach you could start conference under .500, I don’t know many of those coaches who would take on that challenge so I really respect (Bentonville head) Coach (Jason) McMahan for taking on that challenge and putting his players first.

“It just shows you can achieve what you want to achieve without going to a prep school and you can do it a high school.

“Our decision with Malik was never a basketball decision. It was more of a lifestyle decision and that is why we chose to stay at a high school instead of going to a prep.”

Marcus Monk, Malik Monk


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