Malik Monk leaves UK for NBA draft


Kentucky Wildcats guard Malik Monk looks on during a free throw during the 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament South Regional Sweet 16 at FedExForum on Friday, March 24, 2017 in Memphis, KY. Photo by Addison Coffey | Staff.

Kernel Sports Staff

As college basketball fans wake up to the news of North Carolina winning their sixth national championship, mixed in the clutter of the title game coverage will be the news of UK men’s basketball’s latest one-and-done player heading to the NBA draft.

On Tuesday morning, less than 24 hours after freshman guard De’Aaron Fox announced his intentions for next season, the other guard in UK’s backcourt Malik Monk announced he was also leaving UK, planning on hiring an agent, and declaring for the NBA draft.

“After taking some time with my family and reflecting on this season, I have decided to enter my name into the 2017 NBA Draft,” Monk said.

Monk was a bright spot of UK’s high-powered offense, scoring 20 points or more in 18 games, including a UK freshman record 47 points versus North Carolina in December.

Monk finished the season scoring 754 points, which is a UK freshman record and the fourth most points by a UK player ever regardless of class.

“Malik (Monk) is a special talent,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “With Malik (Monk) you’re talking about a superior athlete with skills and an ability to score that make him truly unique.”

Monk’s ability to score points earned him a long list of postseason awards. Some of Monk’s biggest honors include SEC Player of the Year voted by the Associate Press, AP All-America Second Team, and NCAA Consensus All-America Second Team.

Monk will follow in the footsteps of great recent UK shooting guards Jamal Murray and Devin Booker. Monk is projected to be a high first round pick.

BBN, I cannot thank you enough for all the support and encouragement you showed me throughout the year,” Monk said. “Although the season didn’t end like we wanted it to, you gave me memories that will last a lifetime.”

Players have until April 23 at 11:59 p.m. to submit their names in the NBA Draft. The Cats still have a couple of players who could declare for the draft, and some UK recruit targets have yet to commit to a college.

With all these decisions looming, the roster for next season could look completely different very soon.