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Malik Monk knows defense must improve; tells John Calipari to ‘sit me’ if it doesn’t

Malik Monk is more than willing to make a stronger effort to improve his defense.

NCAA Basketball: Auburn at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats’ defense must make dramatic improvements if this team is going to even win multiple games in the NCAA Tournament.

After losing three of its last five games and allowing LSU to score 58 second-half points Tuesday night, John Calipari said Friday his team has to get defensive to get back on track, and that includes Malik Monk making a bigger impact on that side of the court.

However, the idea to play Monk less if his defense doesn’t improve was not by the coach, but actually the player himself.

"I said to him, 'you're not rebounding, you're not defending the way you should. How are we dealing with this?' Calipari said Friday about his talk with Monk about defense. "He said, 'coach, tell me and if I don't do it, sit me.' That's how they should feel. If I'm not doing my job, sit me out."

That sounds like a player who’s more than willing to admit his faults and correct them. Monk has been unfairly criticized recently for his lack of defense, which this team as a whole is struggling with.

But it’s good to see Monk is making it clear this is an area he will improve on. Let’s just hope the rest of the team is following suit, especially for Saturday’s matchup with a very physical Alabama team.

“It’s our guards that got to stick their noses in there and go rebound. This team [Alabama] is going to shoot it and send four guys to the rim. That’s what they do,” Calipari said of Alabama. “And if your guards don’t rebound, it’s going to be ugly. If your guards do rebound, we can fly because you’re giving up something by sending them to the rim.

“And if we do what we’re supposed to, then we fly.”