Here is what Kentucky freshman Malik Monk had to say after his 47-point performance in Saturday’s win over North Carolina in Las Vegas.
Q. For those of us who have never known and will never know what it feels like to have a game like that, can you tell us what it feels like when everything’s falling like that?
MALIK MONK: Like a pick-up game, that’s what it felt like to me. My teammates set me up well to get every shot I wanted. I was just able to knock it down. It’s just fun, fun to play like that.
Q. Malik, on that last shot, the winning shot, you hesitated for a moment. What was going on there?
MALIK MONK: Coach Cal told me to drop, but I was hot, so I didn’t.
Q. Malik, when you took those last couple of threes, you did seem to be sort of almost unconscious during that part in terms of making it. Were you at all nervous? Or like you said, is it just a pick-up game and you’re in the flow?
MALIK MONK: Definitely I was in the flow, so I wasn’t nervous at all. I knew I was going to get my shot off how I wanted to, and I was able to knock it down. Fox sent me a great pass, and they gave me two great screens.
Q. When you’re playing a blue-blood program that went to the National Championship Game just a few months ago, at what point does the gravity of this moment set in that this wild atmosphere is kind of like a tournament game in your first month of college basketball?
MALIK MONK: As soon as we walked to the court. It was crazy. It was a packed house, everybody was going crazy. But we executed well and we were able to come out with the win.
Q. Malik, how early in games like this — you’ve had some games in the past, but not on this stage. How early do you know it’s going like that? How early can you tell you’re ready to go?
MALIK MONK: I usually take the first shot of the game, and if I make it, I know I’m going to have a good game. But, it was — what were we, 10? We got a play called, we ran it. But Wyn sent me a great screen, I got open, and I was able to knock down a shot. I just knew we were going to have a great game.
Q. Is it to play against guys like Jackson and Berry?
MALIK MONK: Yeah, they’re older players, they’re great players, too. They’re older. I think both juniors. I used to look up to them. In AAU, I used to see him play and he played with Justin. Just playing with them, I knew they were greats before I got out there. Just fun competing against them.
Q. You’re able to maintain a lead for most of the game, and in the second half they were able to bounce back and jump on you guys. It has to feel good to knock out that win against a quality team like that early in the season?
MALIK MONK: Yeah, it feels great. I mean, they’re going to play. They’re going to play the post well. They post players super well, we knew that. And they were executing their plays just like we were. But, I mean, we just kept calm, kept our poise, and we were able to come out with the win.
Q. Malik, what was North Carolina trying to do defensively with you, and what were you doing to foil it?
MALIK MONK: I don’t know what they were trying to do. I couldn’t tell you. I don’t know. We just ran our stuff normal. We just focused on us.