PEACH JAM: Monk adds UK offer

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- The Wildcats have jumped into the mix for one of the most dynamic players to compete in this year's Nike EYBL Finals at Peach Jam.

Malik Monk, the top shooting guard in the Class of 2016, recently added a Kentucky scholarship offer to go along with previous bids from programs like Arkanssas, Florida, Louisville, Kansas, UConn, Baylor and Indiana.

"A couple of weeks ago, Kentucky reached out to me and said they wanted to start recruiting me," said Monk, who is currently rated the No. 5 player in his class by Scout. "Not too long after that, they offered me a scholarship. I was excited about it. I'm glad they feel that way about me because it's a really good program, and (John Calipari) is a really good coach."

It's easy to see why so many major programs are interested in the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Monk. On Friday night at Peach Jam, he mesmerized a standing room only crowd that featured most of the major coaching names in college basketball by dropping 40 points against Team Penny in a thrilling 90-88 win by Wings Elite. He was 14-for-20 from the floor, hit six of 10 from 3-point range, and also dished out five assists in only 28 minutes of action. His scores ranged from deep 3-pointers to massive tomahawk dunks over helpless defenders.

"I was just feeling it," Monk said with a wink and a smile. "My teammates set me up for that. I have to give them a lot of credit."

In a game earlier this season on the EYBL circuit, Monk pumped in 59 points and made 10 treys.

"That's the strength of my game right now," he siad. "I'm a scorer. But I can do it in a lot of different ways. I feel like I have a good, all-around game. I'm trying to keep working on my ball-handling and defense."

Monk said he knows hard work will be part of the equation if he elects to follow in the footsteps of another high-scoring Arkansas guard, Archie Goodwin, and play for Kentucky.

"Coach Cal said it's a challenge to play there," he said. "He said don't even think about it if you don't want to work hard and play with other great players. But if you do, think about Kentucky."

And Monk's reaction?

"I liked that," he said. "He tells you the truth, not just what you want to hear."

He said he also likes the Cats' style of play and could see himself doing well in an up-tempo system that allows the guards to play to their natural abilities.

Monk won't be easy to pry away from his home state. Although he says he does not have a leader or a top five list at this time, he does have some strong family ties to Arkansas. His brother, Marcus, played basketball and football for the Razorbacks.

"I know a lot about Arkansas because of that, but it's not going to decide anything for me," said Monk, adding that he's a big fan of college basketball in general -- and its top players -- not just one team.


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