LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky freshman guard Malik Monk has become the second player in as many days to announce plans to enter his name in the 2017 NBA draft and to sign with an agent, effectively ending his college basketball career.
Monk announced his decision on Tuesday. The NBA Draft is June 22.
“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 in a statement on the UK Athletics website. “As a little kid, these are words that I could only dream of saying. For that I am very grateful and thank God.”
Monk said his year at UK has been “the best year of my life.”
“I appreciate everyone that plays a part in this program from the administration, academic support, to the managers,” he said. “It takes a village and the time you invested off the court made everything on the court possible.
Freshman point guard De-Aaron Fox announced Monday that he would enter the NBA draft. Players have until 11:59 p.m. ET on April 23 to submit their names for the draft.
Kentucky coach John Calipari called Monk “a special talent.”
“With Malik you’re talking about a superior athlete with skills and an ability to score that make him truly unique,” Calipari said. “What I love about Malik is that, as the season went on, he learned how to help our team win by doing more than just score. He became an efficient player who I believe will make an immediate impact at the next level.”
Monk averaged 19.8 points per game – second among all freshmen nationally – and reached double-figure scoring in all but two games.
With 14 points in the NCAA Tournament game against Wichita State, Monk became UK’s all-time leading freshman scorer with 721 points, passing Jamal Murray’s output of 720 from a season ago. He finished the season with a total of 754 points, which is fourth all-time in UK’s history books, regardless of class, trailing only Dan Issel (948; 1970), Jodie Meeks (854; 2009) and Jamal Mashburn (767; 1992).
Monk made 104 3-pointers on the season, not far behind Jodie Meeks’ school record of 117.
Last week Monk was named to the NCAA consensus All-America Second Team after being named a second-team All-American by the Associated Press, the National Association of Basketball Coaches, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and Sporting News.