Young and Mighty Warrior

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated, Dudley E. Dawsonw writes about East Poinsett County freshman Malik Monk (6-3, 170), the younger brother of former Razorback star Marcus Monk and someone that has stepped up on the big stage this season and already proven that he belongs.

When your older brother is a former Arkansas football and basketball star and your cousins are currently starters for the Razorback gridiron and hoop squads, expectations are bound to be high for you.

But high-flying East Poinsett County freshman Malik Monk (6-3, 170) may not only meet those, but exceed them.

Those that saw the young man pour in 36 points last Saturday as the Warriors whipped Maumelle in the Arkansas Hoops Challenge no doubt believe that.

"I guess I played okay," the humble Monk said. "I can play better for sure."

No doubt EPC head coach Josh Hill looks forward to seeing that.

"His athleticism is just off the charts," Hill said. "He can get off the floor in a hurry. I watch the NBA and look at those guys and think athletically he is already better than them. He's just got to keep getting bigger and stronger. He missed a couple tonight because he got bumped. But he had a pretty good game for a ninth grader, huh?"

Monk, who is averaging 20 points per game and has a vertical jump of around 40 inches, is the younger brother of Marcus Monk and his cousins are Rashad Madden and A.J. Turner.

Based on his performance in AAU basketball, Monk already had offers from Arkansas, LSU and Florida even before playing his first high school game.

"I love the way Arkansas plays and the system that Coach Anderson runs," Monk said. "I think that would be a really great place for me to play once I am ready for college."

Monk was one of the 50 or so underclassman invited in October to the USA Basketball 16-and-under Development Camp, from which the USA's 2013 national team that will play in FIBA Americas U16 Championship June 11-15 in Punta del Este, Uruguay, will be selected.

He came away from that camp –with this evaluation from recruiting analyst Josh Gershon.

"There's a lot to like about this kid," Gershon wrote. A terrific athlete, Monk played hard and used high level hops to clean up teammate's misses for powerful dunks. He wasn't afraid to drive into traffic and dunk on an opponent, but he also can pass it, and once he got in the lane he made some really nice dishes to teammates. Not just a slasher, dunker and passer, Monk also felt good about his pull-up jumper, and was successful with it from three."

Monk had the opportunity at the camp to go up against other talented underclassman such as Memphis Hamilton forward Dedric Lawson (6-8, 195), Denver (CO) Overland Park freshman forward De'Ron Davis (6-8, 220), and Jackson (Miss.) Callaway sophomore guard Malik Newman (6-4, 185).

"That was a great experience," Monk said. I got to go against some great competition and it let me know what I need to work harder at to get better."

Hill thinks having Marcus Monk around has been great for his younger brother.

"Every kid is different and they have different environments," Hill said. "But Marcus has been back around and he is quick to put a foot on him if he needs to. He has been at all of our games and it's been good to have him around after he played the last couple of seasons in Germany. Malik has a good structure at home and is just a good kid."

Monk is well aware of what he needs to do to get better.

"Defense and boxing out," Monk said. "I have to learn that just cause I can just so high doesn't mean that I can get every rebound. I have to go at it the right way fundamentally."

Malik Monk

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