I've been to more college basketball games than I can remember. So it's possible I'm forgetting something. But I don't recall witnessing a performance on a big stage quite like what I witnessed Saturday when Malik Monk put 47 points on North Carolina during a 103-100 victory in the CBS Sports Classic.
So please welcome the Kentucky freshman to the CBS Sports National Player of the Year rankings. He's averaging an SEC-best 21.9 points and shooting 50.3 percent from the field and 42.2 percent from 3-point range. When asked recently if there's a good way prevent him from going big, Monk gave a hilarious answer.
This is great.— TJ Beisner (@Beisner_cn2) December 20, 2016
Malik Monk, when asked how he'd defend himself to prevent another big game: pic.twitter.com/VdxXjEmyD2
Hard to argue with that.
Here are this week's rankings:
(Note: National Players of the Year do not come from non-NCAA Tournament teams. Thus, players from teams not currently projected to make the NCAA Tournament -- like Washington's Markelle Fultz, for instance -- are not considered for this list.)
Hart hasn't played since the last CBS Sports Player of the Year rankings posted, meaning he's done nothing to diminish his place. The 6-foot-6 guard is averaging 20.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists while shooting 56.6 percent from the field and 45.3 percent from 3-point range for the No. 1 team and reigning national champions. He got a career-high 37 points in a win over Notre Dame.
2. Lonzo Ball (UCLA)
Ball conducts an offense that has a chance to become the first to lead the nation in both 2-point percentage and 3-point percentage. (The Bruins rank first in 2-point percentage and second in 3-point percentage right now.) The 6-6 point guard is averaging 14.3 points, 8.7 assists and 5.9 rebounds while shooting 45.3 percent from 3-point range. He's the main reason UCLA has gone from a 15-17 team to a team that's undefeated and ranked No. 2.
3. Frank Mason (Kansas)
Mason's last game (18 points on 13 shots) wasn't great. But he's still averaging 20.3 points, 5.6 assists and 4.6 rebounds while shooting 52.1 percent from 3-point range for the third-ranked Jayhawks. The senior point guard has reached the 30-point barrier twice. He's getting to the free-throw line 5.7 times per game.
Kennard scored 24 of Duke's 65 points in Monday's win over Tennessee State. The 6-6 sophomore is averaging 20.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists for the fifth-ranked Blue Devils. He's shooting 42.3 percent from 3-point range and is first on the team in points, second in assists and third in rebounds.
5. Maurice Watson (Creighton)
Watson has ninth-ranked Creighton off to a 12-0 start and is averaging 9.0 assists, which leads the nation. The 5-10 point guard is the main reason why the Bluejays have an effective field percentage of 61.7. He sets everybody up and is shooting 52.9 percent from 3-point range for a team that's leading the nation in 3-point percentage.
6. De'Aaron Fox (Kentucky)
Monk's 47 points overshadowed everything else in the win over North Carolina. But it's worth noting that Fox finished with 24 points and 10 assists. The 6-3 point guard is averaging 15.9 points, 7.2 assists and 5.3 rebounds. That ranks second, first and third for the Wildcats. He's the only UK player in the top three in those categories.
7. Caleb Swanigan (Purdue)
Swanigan had his second 20-20 game in Monday's 82-50 win over Western Illinois -- this after getting 26 points and 10 rebounds in Saturday's 86-81 win over Notre Dame. The sophomore forward is averaging 17.2 points and 11.9 rebounds, which ranks fifth and first in the Big Ten. He's shooting 57.3 percent from the field and 55.6 percent from 3-point range.
Motley scored 20 points in only 19 minutes during Sunday's win over John Brown. The 6-10 forward is averaging 15.9 points and 8.5 rebounds for Scott Drew's fourth-ranked Bears, who are undefeated with wins over Louisville and Xavier. Motley's best game is a 26-point performance against Michigan State last month.
9. Malik Monk (Kentucky)
Aside from leading the SEC in scoring and his remarkable shooting percentages, including 82.1 percent from the free-throw line, get this: Monk is averaging 31.3 points in games against ranked opponents, meaning he has performed at a high level in sixth-ranked Kentucky's biggest games.
Trimble is averaging a career-high 17.9 points for a Maryland team that has wins over Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Georgetown. The Terrapins are 6-0 in games decided by six or fewer points, which is a testament to how Trimble handles tight-game situations. He had 21 points on 12 shots in Tuesday's 88-72 win over Charlotte.
THE NEXT TEN (in alphabetical order): Joel Berry (North Carolina), Jawun Evans (Oklahoma State), Marcus Foster (Creighton), Ethan Happ (Wisconsin), Josh Jackson (Kansas), Amile Jefferson (Duke), Jock Landale (Saint Mary's), TJ Leaf (UCLA), Kelan Martin (Butler), Alec Peters (Valparaiso).