NCAA.com recently released a list of preseason favorites to win the Naismith Award this season, and Kentucky freshman Malik Monk has made the list.
Monk was one of nine players on the list, along with Grayson Allen, Josh Hart, Josh Jackson, Harry Giles, Melo Trimble, Joel Berry II, Malik Monk and Thomas Bryant. Monk is one of three freshmen on the list, the others being Giles and Jackson.
NCAA.com's Brian Mull explained why he put Monk on the list.
Monk is one of several talented rookies in Lexington.
Skal Labissiere, who played one season at Kentucky and was the 28th pick in last year's draft, thinks the 6-3 scoring guard won't need much time to capture the nation's attention.
"Malik Monk was one of my teammates, and I think he can be the best player on that team," Labissiere told reporters at the NBA Draft Media Day. "He's a high-flyer, he can really shoot the basketball. He's athletic, he has hang-time in the air and he's very competitive. He's a winner. I think he might end up being the best player on that team."
Monk won the McDonald's All-American 3-point contest in March.
Labissiere's praise of Monk is certainly well-deserved, and when an NBA draft pick thinks he's got a chance to be the best player on this year's star-studded Kentucky team, then he has a great chance to compete for the Naismith Award.
We hope that Monk can live up to this hype and put himself in the Naismith Award conversation.