Tuesday, December 20, 2016

More Weekly Honors For Malik Monk

 When you have one of the most prolific scoring outputs by a freshman in recent college basketball history, you rake in awards. Malik Monk hauled in two additional honors on Tuesday for his efforts in the win over No. 7/6 North Carolina when he exploded for 47 points in a 103-100 victory. Monk became the first winner of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association’s Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week for the 2016-17 season, and the organization’s Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Week. 

Monk poured in 47 points on 18-of-28 shooting from the field and 8 of 12 from behind the arc. He added three free throws to his final total – the highest scoring output by a UK freshman in its storied history.

He drained the opening basket of the game and then finished the game with the go-ahead 3- pointer with just 22 seconds remaining.

From start to finish, Monk was virtually unstoppable. He did his damage in a variety of ways – from outside the arc, mid-range jumpers and crafty layups. North Carolina threw multiple defensive looks at UK’s freshman, but nothing seemed to slow him down. 

The Lepanto, Arkansas, native’s memorable performance was also one for the record books.

He tied Dan Issel for the sixth-most points ever by a Wildcat in a single game. It was the most by any Wildcat since Jodie Meeks recorded the single-game record of 54 points at Tennessee in 2009. It was the most points by a collegiate player in Calipari’s Hall of Fame career. 

The 47 points against the Tar Heels were the second-most ever yielded by a UNC team and the most since Rich Yuknus of Georgia Tech matched the total in 1970.

The 47 points were the most in a single game by a Southeastern Conference freshman since LSU’s Chris Jackson had 55 vs. Ole Miss in 1989. They were the second-most points by a freshman in Division I college basketball since at least the 1996-97 season. Keydren Clark of St. Peter’s scored 48 on Nov. 23, 2002.

Monk was an efficient 18 of 28 (.643) and was the first Wildcat to make 18 shots in a game since Melvin Turpin had 18 in 1984.

He scored 27 points before halftime. It tied for the most points in any half in the Calipari era. Jamal Murray also had 27 points in a half a season ago.

Monk has now scored in double figures in all 11 games this season and topped 20 or more points in seven games. He’s the first player to score 10 or more in 11 consecutive games since Murray scored 10 or more in 34 straight in 2015-16. 

He knocked down eight 3-pointers on the night and has hit at least one in all 11 games. Furthermore, with 38 3-pointers on the season, he’s ahead of Meeks (36) at this time through 11 games when Meeks went on to set the UK single-season made 3-point field-goals record in 2008-09. 

Monk’s currently averaging 21.9 points per game. No Calipari-coached played has ever averaged more than 21.2 points for an entire year (Dajuan Wagner at Memphis in 2001-02).

This is the first USBWA honor for the Wildcats since Karl-Anthony Towns was also named the Freshman of the Week on Feb. 15, 2015. He’s the first Cat to win the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week nod since Julius Randle on Feb. 23, 2014.

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