Malik Monk is one of the can’t miss prospects coming into Thursday night’s (June 22) NBA Draft and is a sure-fire top 10 pick. The 19-year-old shooting guard out of Kentucky is the best shooter coming out of college and whatever team that selects him will be getting a potential all-star level player.
The Arkansas native has been wearing New Era hats his whole life and is excited the NBA will be teaming up with New Era as the official cap of the NBA. They will be debuting the On-Court Collection Draft Series this Thursday(June 22) at the NBA draft. Monk made his way to the 5th Ave. NBA store in NYC Monday afternoon (June 19) for a meet and greet with fans as hundreds lined up along the side of the store.
LordTreeSap caught up with the SEC Freshman of The Year award winner who was rocking a pair of red and white Nikes, blue jeans, white t-shirt and backwards snap-back for a conversation about preparing for the league, New Era becoming the new face of the NBA and some of his inspirations growing up.
What has your draft week been like so far?
Malik Monk: I don’t even know yet. It really just started. I’m meeting people, doing a lot of interviews. I’ve been here (NYC) a couple times for basketball (AAU).
What Talk to me about your relationship with your brother Marcus and how he’s been a mentor in your life?
He’s been with me my whole life, he’s 12 years older than me. I’ve been looking up to him since, trying to compete with him. When he was in 12th grade I was in kindergarten so it was tough (laughs). I’ve been watching him since day one.
What’s the best advice he’s given you over the years as someone who has played professional sports?
Whatever you dream you can accomplish.
What’s your favorite kicks?
Probably the Jordan ones and fours. In high-school that’s all I used to wear.
Could you bring those back in the NBA?
I don’t think Jordan would let me do that. He doesn’t let people wear retros.
Who were some of your favorite players growing up?
Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, LeBron of course you got to love LeBron. Lou Williams and C.J. McCollum.
How did you workout/dinner with the New York Knicks go, I’m a die-hard fan.
I seen that. It was good, everyone was there (Phil Jackson, Jeff Hornacek, Steve Mills) it went well. They gave me great feedback. I learned a lot about the triangle. That’s all we did in the workout. They had me playing both guard positions.
Do you think you could play point guard at the next level?
How did Coach John Calipari sell you on the University of Kentucky?
He actually told me don’t come here if you don’t want to get pushed to another level and compete with the best. That’s really what sold me, I wanted the challenge.
Your signature game vs North Carolina, 47 points, 8 threes have you watched it since?
Of course (laughs). I watched it right after for sure when we got on the plane and went back to Kentucky. I’ll watch it every now and then.
In the Elite 8 they (UNC) guarded you differently.
Man, super different. Way differently.
What did you learn from that going into the next level?
I just have to know how to play against face guarding and switching defenders every time down. Whatever I took from college I plan on transferring to the NBA.
Has shooting from the NBA 3-point line been different?
Nah, it’s about the same (laughs).
40% ain’t bad, have you reached out to anyone in the NBA or has anyone contacted you?
I worked out with Russell Westbrook recently out in Los Angeles. He talks to me. I talk to Devin Booker as well.
70 points, could you match that performance this season?
Nah (laughs). That’s crazy.
How do you feel about New Era becoming the official draft cap of the NBA?
I don’t even know my size yet, but we’ll figure that out today. I’ve been wearing these hats since I was growing up. Like you said, they’re the new face of the NBA. My hat, whoever I get picked by will be nice.
I know you don’t like to compare your game to anyone in the NBA but what do you think about Bradley Beal’s game?
I’ve been watching his film, a lot of his film actually.
What do you think you need to improve the most on coming into the league? Defense?
Nah, I could play defense when I want to. I just have to bring it every play, be consistent.
What would it mean for you to play in New York City in front of the fans of Madison Square Garden?
Everything is legendary here. It would be legendary for sure.