Malik Monk is one-and-done as he looks ahead to a career in the NBA, but his lone season in Lexington clearly had a big impact.
The Kentucky guard shared an emotional story on Tuesday in The Players’ Tribune that shed light on his recruitment by Wildcats coach John Calipari, his upbringing in Lepanto, Ark. and a big thanks to Big Blue Nation.
He especially thanked the fans for welcoming him with open arms as he made the tough decision of choosing Kentucky over his hometown Razorbacks.
“I won’t lie: It was tough. You hear something enough times, you know, and you can start to wonder if it’s true. It was almost like, man … am I turning my back on my home state? Am I all of the terrible things that they’re calling me? That stuff can get in your head in a bad way.
But then I realized pretty quickly that I didn’t have to go through it alone.”
Monk also illustrated how Calipari never mentioned any of the standout guards that he’s coached over the years and only wanted Monk to find himself, all the while “picking him apart” during the recruiting process.
“Nah, really: Coach just sat there, in our living room … with the most confident look you’ve ever seen … and he picked me all the way apart. He told me everything that I wasn’t good enough at yet — and broke down every single part of my game that I had to work on. Right off the dome. He just knew my weaknesses inside and out. Nailed every one of them. Dude was hard on me. And then he finished it off with a sentence that I’ll never forget:
Kentucky isn’t for everyone.”
Monk, who shared SEC Player of the Year honors with South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell, won the award just a year after former Kentucky guard Tyler Ulis earned it.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder averaged 19.8 points while shooting 45 percent from the field.