Arkansas Wings head coach Wes Swift won a medal as an assistant coach when Hunter Mickelson, Rashad "Ky" Madden and Aaron Ross played for the 17-under team, but won his first championship as a head coach Sunday.
The Arkansas Wings defeated Nike Team Florida 63-47 for the 16U DI AAU National Championship Sunday at the HP Field House in Kissimmee, Fla.
Malik Monk, a 2016 prospect and the brother of Marcus Monk and cousin of Madden, led the Wings with 16 points and 4 rebounds in the game. Monk is a 6-foot-4, 170-pound combo guard from Lepanto.
"He's very coachable," Swift said of Monk. "Malik, obviously, is a year younger than everyone else, but I got the chance to coach him a little bit last spring, as a 14-year-old player and he has undergone a lot of maturity within the last year.
"I think what he has done is he has started to realize his potential and has realized that he has the chance to be really special. I think he realizes that a lot of eyes are on him, but he also realizes that as good as he is, he has a long way to go to get to the level that he wants to."
North Little Rock guard KeVaughn Allen scored 14 points in the national title-clinching victory. Allen, 6-foot-3, 170 pounds, has received offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Connecticut, Florida, Louisville, Memphis and Mississippi State.
"Kevaughn and Malik are very similar in the fact that they can score the ball in a lot of different ways," Swift said. "They can both make the 3-ball, they both have a good mid-range game, but they are a little different. Kevaughn is a guy who tends to lower his shoulder in the paint and Malik is more of a pull-up, jump shot guy. He'll shoot over the top of you. But they're both explosive at the rim and can both jump out of the gym.
"Kevaughn is a little more advanced right now as far as his ball-handling and passing ability and on the defensive end, although Malik is improving on the defensive end everyday."
Point guard Marquise Pointer added 11 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists and Marlon Hunter, a Memphis native, scored 10 points.
Although this year's 16U Wings' team does feature a highly-touted big man in 6-foot-11 center Skal Labissiere, who has received offers from Georgetown, Kentucky, Tennessee, Memphis and Texas, Swift said the team relied on speed much more than the 17U team he coached with Mickelson, Madden and Ross.
"They're very, very different teams," he said. "That (17U) team was so dominant physically. We really dominated people in the paint. This team is more about getting after you with quickness and defensive ball pressure. That team was in a zone most of the time and this time was just bringing relentless pressure. So they're pretty different teams, even though they had pretty much the same results."
Arkansas Wings win 16U National Championship
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