Kentucky's Malik Monk continues to be on pace for a historic freshman season
How good has Malik Monk been this season? Dajuan Wagner good.
Kentucky freshman sharpshooter Malik Monk is having one heck of a freshman season. He's the team leader in scoring for the fourth-ranked Wildcats -- and second among all freshman in scoring behind projected No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz with an average of 21.7 points per game.
That number in itself is impressive enough. It ranks 18th among all players at the NCAA level. But his season on the verge of becoming a historic one. Monk is seriously threatening to break two freshman records this season.
The first: A freshman record under John Calipari. During Calipari's illustrious coaching career, former Memphis star Dajuan Wagner, at 21.2 points per game for Calipari's 2001 Memphis team, is the highest scoring freshman's under Cal's tutelage.
Monk's current 21.7 points per game is a tick above Wagner.
The second record is a larger, Southeastern Conference record. One that was set just a season ago by another Calipari-coached player.
Last season it was Kentucky freshman sharpshooter Jamal Murray who set a new benchmark for single-season 3-pointers made by an SEC freshman with 113. Right now, Monk has 58 threes through 19 games, an average of more than three a game. At that rate, he'll finish the regular season at right about 100, with the SEC tournament and NCAA Tournament still remaining.
Monk has been wildly consistent, and had games where he's been flat out unstoppable. Nine times this year he's notched four 3-pointers or more -- including a seven 3-pointer outing and an eight 3-pointer outing in which he scored 23 points and 47 points, respectively. When he's dialed in from distance, he's unbelievable.
There is a reason he is ranked sixth in this week's freshman rankings.
Monk's one of the most efficient scorers in the game. In addition to him being the most utilized freshman in terms of possessions per game, he's turning those into 1.17 points per possession. That mark ranks third among all Division I players.
Kentucky uses him as a spot-up shooter and, according to Matt Norlander, a third of his points come via spot-up shots. So if you leave him open, he has the talent and consistency to make you pay.
Here's a look at the most efficient offensive players in college basketball. Luke Kennard takes top spot, Malik Monk only ranked freshman. pic.twitter.com/7R98GIe3Lg— Synergy Sports Tech (@SynergySST) January 14, 2017
Monk is back in action on Tuesday night against Tennessee. With its starting point guard De'Aaron Fox listed as day-to-day, he could shoulder the lion's share of the workload as they try and win an eighth straight SEC game. If we're talking about extra usage, Monk seems to be the perfect freshman suited to carry an extra load.
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