Monk Expected To Join Team Thursday

FAYETTEVILLE — It was no secret that former Arkansas wide receiver Marcus Monk was going to be joining the basketball team this winter.

But Arkansas coach John Pelphrey finally set the timeframe for Monk's arrival Monday, when he said the 6-foot-6 athlete should begin practicing on Thursday.

It means Monk could be in uniform as early as Saturday, when the Razorbacks play Stephen F. Austin in the final game of the Jim Thorpe Classic.

"We're going to support Marcus in whatever he wants to do," said Pelphrey, who has had conversations with Monk about joining the team since early this fall. "He's a Razorback. We couldn't get him for the fall but we'll take him here at the break and see where it ends up."

Monk, who finished his football career in 2007 as the school's all-time leader in touchdown catches (27), was drafted by the Chicago Bears last April but didn't make the team. He was signed, then cut, by the New York Giants earlier this fall before deciding to turn his attention to one final stint with the basketball team.

Monk played for the Arkansas basketball team briefly as a freshman in 2004-05. In addition, he was a high school basketball star at East Poinsett County High, leading his team to a state championship in 2004.

How much Monk can help the Razorbacks in his stint is unknown. Pelphrey said Monday he doesn't know much about the former football player and isn't sure when — or if — Monk will become acclimated to the game.

"I literally don't have a timeframe," he said. "Some things that go in my head are, we're not real complicated right now because we can't be. Hopefully being a good athlete and stuff, it will help him defensively to maybe pick up and understand some things quickly. I guess he did play here for a year maybe. I don't know. Maybe that experience will help him. Just to be honest with you, I don't know."

If nothing else, Monk could provide Arkansas with some leadership and depth for a thin team.

The Razorbacks are without suspended forward Montrell McDonald, who has been held out of the past three games. Without McDonald, Arkansas has been reduced to playing with just 10 scholarship players.

Pelphrey was asked if Monk would be on scholarship this semester, but said it wasn't "real clear yet."

However, it's now clear Monk will at least get the chance to help the Razorbacks on the court.

"He says he's a quick learner," Pelphrey said. "We'll see."

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