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Arkansas coach Mike Anderson not surprised by Monk’s immediate impact at Kentucky

Malik Monk will play against his home state school Saturday (Tammie Brown Photo)

Malik Monk will play against his home state school Saturday (Tammie Brown Photo)

Although disappointed instate standout Malik Monk didn’t sign with the Razorbacks last year, Arkansas coach Mike Anderson hasn’t been surprised by Monk’s play this season.

“He did what he had to do,” Anderson said Thursday. “As disappointed I am after recruiting the heck out of him, and we worked hard, we really worked hard (recruiting him). He’s a good kid and he’s doing what we thought he would do. I wish him the best (and) in his career.”

Monk, a graduate of Bentonville High School and Arkansas’ reigning Mr. Basketball, leads No. 6 Kentucky in scoring (22.6 points per game) and has averaged 30 points per outing in Kentucky’s first two games in the Southeastern Conference. He scored a freshman school-record 47 points in a win over North Carolina last month and has tallied double figures in every game this season.

“We all know about him,” Anderson said Thursday. “We recruited him, 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. What he’s doing now, it isn’t disappointing, because we all know it. In isn’t like it’s a disappointment, because we all knew it was coming. He can score and score in multiple ways.”

In addition to his offensive skills, Monk has developed a reputation as one of Kentucky’s best defenders.

“I always thought Malik would be a tremendous defensive player,” Anderson said. “Like I said. I’ve known this kid since he was in eighth grade. He’s a tremendous kid.”

Anderson said Monk knows most of the players on his team’s roster and expects Monk to be motivated to play the Razorbacks Saturday night at Rupp Arena.

“Malik knows every guy on our team,” Anderson said. “For the most part, he used to play with them in the summers growing up here. 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.”

Although the game will center around Monk’s ties to the Razorbacks, Anderson said the contest isn’t all about the obvious connection between Monk and Arkansas.

“This game is not about Monk versus the Arkansas kids and all that, it’s Arkansas versus Kentucky,” Anderson said.

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