If you’re a Sporting News All-American – awarded to players across the country regardless of class – there’s a good chance you’re going to land on the Sporting News Freshman All-America Team as well.
Malik Monk did exactly that Tuesday when he was named to the Sporting News’ five-man team that honors the best freshmen in college basketball.
Monk was joined on the team by Lonzo Ball (UCLA), Miles Bridges (Michigan State), Markelle Fultz (Washington) and Josh Jackson (Kansas).
It’s been an incredibly busy – but more importantly rewarding – awards season for Monk after a sensational regular season. His U.S. Basketball Writers Association District IV Player of the Year distinction and All-Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year award are the latest honors, but he’s also racked up All-America selections.
His awards so far include:
· SEC Freshman of the Year
· All-SEC First Team
· All-SEC Freshman Team
· Sporting News All-America Second Team
· Sporting News Freshman All-America Team
· USA Today All-America Second Team
· NBC Sports All-America Second Team
· USBWA District IV Player of the Year
· USBWA All-District IV Team
· Jerry West Award Finalist
· Wooden Award Finalist
About Monk: Monk electrified crowds with his prolific scoring outbursts and high-flying violent dunks throughout the regular season. He averaged 21.2 points per game, leading South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell by .001 of a point for the league’s scoring title heading into the postseason. Monk is seeking to become just the fourth freshman in the history of the SEC to win the scoring title.
He is ranked among the top 20 nationally in scoring and second among all freshmen. No John Calipari-coached player has ever averaged more than 21.2 points for an entire season (Dajuan Wagner at Memphis in 2002). He’s scored in double figures in all but one game this season and has 17 games of 20 points or more, including a Kentucky freshman record 47 points vs. North Carolina in December.
The freshman from Lepanto, Arkansas, is the only freshman in program history with four 30-point games, and six times this season he has scored at least 20 points in a half.
Monk is averaging 2.97 made 3-pointers per game. If he maintains that average, and UK plays a full 40-game schedule, he would finish the season with 119 3-pointers. That total would break Jodie Meeks' school record and be just behind the NCAA freshman record of 122 held by Steph Curry.