The hardest transition to make as a player is the jump from college to the professional level. At a time where so many student-athletes are making the decision to leave school after their freshman year, it’s not uncommon to see a lot of early struggles by this generation of teenage NBAers.
For Malik Monk, that switch seems to be going swimmingly so far.
Through 17 games in the Association, Monk has produced 15.9 points a night in just over 18 minutes of playing time, sprinkling in 3.4 assists and rebounds. After being a starter for the entirety of last year at the University of Kentucky, the former Wildcat has prepared himself to be ready whenever his name is called.
“You gotta prep yourself the same as you start. You always gotta be ready,” Monk told Amico Hoops prior to Friday’s contest against Cleveland. “When my name’s called, I need to be ready. You never know when that time will come, especially when you’re a rookie too. I’m on a pretty decent team, pretty good. Just getting everybody healthy back. I just gotta be prepared.”
That Charlotte system that Monk talks about can be very rewarding on some nights and provide trying times on other evenings. Monk has seen a high of 27 minutes on the floor this season and has watched it dwindle down to just over 60 seconds on the floor. With not much time to operate in those situations, it’s all about learning where to place yourself.
A lot of the readiness the rookie provides can be credited to his college head coach, John Calipari. Known for getting his players prepared for the next stage, Monk gives high praise to Calipari.
“That’s what Cal does,” said Monk. “He bases everything off of the NBA so it was a pretty easy adjustment for me. Now I just gotta get used to the system.”
As for his alma mater, Monk still keeps tabs on his Kentucky Wildcats, both guys he played with and current students.
“When we aren’t playing and they’re playing, I’m watching,” Monk told Amico Hoops when asked how much he keeps in touch with his former Kentucky teammates like De’Aaron Fox and Bam Adebayo. “We’re tight, we keep in touch.”
Monk continued by saying he tries to watch every Kentucky game he can. “I talk to most of the guys when I can and try to give some positive words. I don’t know when I’ll be off. But yeah, I’m going to try and get down there.”
So far, so good for Monk through eighteen games of his young career. With opportunities appearing through injuries early on, Monk has been able to show what he brings to the table as an NBA player. When his number’s called, he’ll be ready.