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Nationwide postseason All-American honors start rolling in for Kentucky guards Monk, Fox


Kentucky’s freshman backcourt tandem of Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox was named All-America by USA Today on Monday. Monk earned second-team distinction, while Fox was tabbed to the third team.
 
Monk was joined on the second team by Josh Jackson (Kansas), Justin Jackson (North Carolina), Luke Kennard (Duke) and Nigel Williams-Goss (Gonzaga). Third-team honorees along with Fox included Ethan Happ (Wisconsin), Lauri Markkanen (Arizona), Monte Morris (Iowa State) and Johnathan Motley (Baylor).

Malik Monk and De’AAron Fox started receiving nationwide honors Monday (Tammie Brown Photo)

Together, UK’s backcourt duo made up the top-scoring freshman tandem in the nation at 36.9 points per game. Monk captured the Southeastern Conference’s scoring title at 21.2 points per game, while Fox paced the league in assists per game with an average of 5.0 dimes en route to leading Kentucky to its 48th regular-season SEC title.
 
Arguably the most dynamic backcourt in the country, Fox and Monk combined for eight SEC weekly honors for the season and both have been among a slew of postseason watch lists for national player of the year accolades.
 
This marks the third-consecutive season at least one Wildcat was named to USA Today’s All-America teams. Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray were first- and second-team honorees, respectively, a season ago. Willie Cauley-Stein and Karl-Anthony Towns were both first team selections in 2015.
 
The NCAA recognizes consensus All-Americans based on four “major” NCAA-recognized All-America teams: the Associated Press, Sporting News, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
 
Monk electrified crowds with his prolific scoring outbursts and high-flying violent dunks throughout the season. He averaged 21.2 points per game, edging South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell for the scoring title by a fraction of a point. He is the fourth freshman in the history of the SEC to win the regular-season scoring title.
 
He is ranked among the top 20 nationally in scoring and second among all freshmen. No John Calipari-coached player has ever averaged more than 21.2 points for an entire season (Dajuan Wagner at Memphis in 2002). He’s scored in double figures in all but one game this season and has 17 games of 20 points or more, including a Kentucky freshman record 47 points vs. North Carolina in December.

The freshman from Lepanto, Arkansas, is the only freshman in program history with four 30-point games, and six times this season he has scored at least 20 points in a half.

Fox was the spearhead to the nation’s fifth-highest scoring team in the country. He dished out a league-high 5.0 assists per game and also ranked in the top 10 in scoring at 15.5 points per game.

He made history in November, becoming just the second player in Kentucky history to register a triple-double. Fox had 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in the historic game vs. Arizona State. It marked the first triple-double since Chris Mills’ had 19 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists on Dec. 27, 1988. Against Stephen F. Austin, in the season opener, Fox dished out 12 assists to set two program records. The 12 dimes were the most by any Wildcat in his debut, and the most of any player in a season-opening game since assists began being kept during the 1971-72 season.

Fox was at his best in clutch situations, including games at Vanderbilt, Georgia and Texas A&M. Against the Aggies, in helping UK clinch the SEC crown outright, Fox scored 13 of his team-high 19 points after halftime.

Monk claims more honors

Monk continued hauling in All-America honors on Monday, most notably the second-team All-America honors from the Sporting News.
 
The Sporting News is one of four “major” NCAA-recognized All-America teams that the NCAA uses for its consensus All-America teams. The other three are the Associated Press, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
 
Monk was joined on the Sporting News All-America Second Team by Luke Kennard (Duke), Nigel Williams-Goss (Gonzaga), Dillon Brooks (Oregon) and Josh Jackson (Kansas).
 
The Sporting News honor marks the third All-America selection for Monk on Monday. He was named to USA Today’s second team as well as NBC Sports’ second team. Freshman teammate De’Aaron Fox made USA Today’s third team.
 
It’s the third straight season a Wildcat has made one of the Sporting News All-America teams. Willie Cauley-Stein (first team) and Karl-Anthony Towns (third team) made it in 2015, while Tyler Ulis (first team) was selected last season.
 
Monk electrified crowds with his prolific scoring outbursts and high-flying violent dunks throughout the season. He averaged 21.2 points per game, edging South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell for the scoring title by a fraction of a point. He is the fourth freshman in the history of the SEC to win the regular-season scoring title.
 
He is ranked among the top 20 nationally in scoring and second among all freshmen. No John Calipari-coached player has ever averaged more than 21.2 points for an entire season (Dajuan Wagner at Memphis in 2002). He’s scored in double figures in all but one game this season and has 17 games of 20 points or more, including a Kentucky freshman record 47 points vs. North Carolina in December.

The freshman from Lepanto, Arkansas, is the only freshman in program history with four 30-point games, and six times this season he has scored at least 20 points in a half.

Monk also was named a semifinalist for the Amateur Athletic Union James E. Sullivan Award on Monday.
 
The award annually recognizes an outstanding amateur athlete whose outstanding athletic accomplishments are complemented by qualities of leadership, character and sportsmanship. Winners achieve great success on a national and/or international stage through competition in collegiate athletics, Olympic pursuit or similar high-profile competitions.
 
Presented by the AAU, the AAU Sullivan Award has been given annually since 1930. It is named after James E. Sullivan, who was the founder and past president of the AAU. World renowned golfer Bobby Jones, co-founder of The Masters, received the inaugural award in 1930 and swimmer Anne Curtis became the first female to accept the award in 1944. Other notable athletes to win include famed Olympians Mark Spitz (1971), Carl Lewis (1981), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1986) and Michael Phelps (2003).

Pep rally in Nashville set for Friday

Traveling to the Music City to watch the Cats? Don’t miss the Greater Nashville UK Alumni Club Tournament Pregame Pep Rally on Friday at the Wildhorse Saloon, 120 2nd Ave. North, Nashville, Tennessee. The event will begin at 10 a.m. Cost is $10 for members and students and $15 for nonmembers who preregister and for walk-ups. Children 12 and under are admitted for free.
 
Special musical guests will be the band Halfway to Hazard and country music performer Corey Kenton. The UK Band, Cheerleaders and DanceTeam will also make a special appearance. Raffle items and merchandise vendors will also be on hand. Visit www.ukalumni.net/secpeprally to make your reservations. For questions about the event, please contact Antoine Huffman at ashuff2@gmail.com.
 
The UK Alumni Association is a membership supported organization committed to fostering lifelong engagement among alumni, friends, the association and the university. For more information about the UK Alumni Association or to become a member, visit www.ukalumni.net or call (800) 269-2586.

From UK Athletics

 


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