By LARRY VAUGHT
No way Arkansas coach Mike Anderson is surprised by what Kentucky freshman Malik Monk — Arkansas’ Mr. Basketball last year and a player Anderson recruited for years — has done this season.
He’s averaging 22.6 points per game and has been in double figures every game this year.
“I’ve known Malik since he was in eighth-grade. I was disappointed we didn’t get him here, but that was his decision. He’s a great, great kid and we all knew he was going to be a great player,” Anderson said during a press conference Thursday to talk about playing at UK Saturday night.
“What he’s doing now, it isn’t disappointing, because we all knew it was coming. He can score and score in multiple ways.”
Monk obviously knows most of the Arkansas players and Anderson expects him to be extra motivated for Saturday night’s game.
“I’m sure he’s going to be charged up to play and get his guys to play. There will be a lot of emotion involved in it,” Anderson said.
Kentucky coach John Calipari has always stressed that players should not get overly excited when going back to a home state to play or facing a home-state team anywhere. Anderson has the same approach.
“This game is not about Monk versus the Arkansas kids and all that, it’s Arkansas versus Kentucky,” Anderson said.