The Kentucky Wildcats could certainly use some more smiles right about now, but fans weren’t happy seeing Malik Monk smiling on the bench at the end of Saturday's blowout loss at Florida.
One of the hot topics after UK’’s latest loss — their third in four games — was Monk smiling and laughing on the bench during the final seconds of the game. It turned out he was simply laughing at the Florida student section, who was bombarding him with “Happy Birthday” chants on what was his 19th birthday.
Unfortunately, all the ESPN cameras caught was laughter in what turned into an 88-66 loss, one of the worst UK has suffered under John Calipari. During his Monday appearance on the SEC coaches teleconference, Monk’s smile drew the ire of Calipari.
“I got on him,” Calipari said. “But I said to him, ‘Do you understand you’re at Kentucky?,’ Calipari said. “That the camera is always on. The mic is always on.
Calipari also said this was nothing more than a good lesson for Monk to realize the cameras are always on him, and so too are media waiting to make a controversy out of it.
“You know, it’s a lesson for him,” Calipari said. “I mean, two seconds before, Joel [Justus], my assistant, was sitting next to him and Isaiah [Briscoe] and they were going nuts about how bad they’d played. ‘I can’t believe this, you and I are better than this, what in the heck, how did we let this,’ and then they (Florida fans) started singing ‘Happy Birthday.’
Monk himself admits that, while it should be nothing, laughing isn’t something he should do when his team is getting embarrassed the way they were.
"I mean, it caught me off guard, them doing that," Monk said. "We played bad. Winning is on my mind from the jump, so if anybody took that wrong, sorry for that. But it was clever for them to do that. It was funny to me, but I shouldn't have laughed at that moment because I knew the camera was on me."
It was a small, harmless mistake, and it was one that fellow freshman Bam Adebayo even thinks he would have probably grinned at.
“I don’t have a comment on that. That’s my brother so I’m not going to throw him under the bus,” said Adebayo. “They were singing happy birthday, he smiled. What would you do if a lot of people were singing happy birthday to you? You’re going to grin. It’s onto the next game.”
On to LSU.