From many, there will be one. And while there’s still no guarantee contending athletes will win their own state at this point in the season, a number of elite performers are making a case for Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year consideration. Here’s the scoop on the latest top candidate.
Greatness Present: Monk is one of the most explosive scorers in Arkansas history and one of the scariest dunk artists in the country, but he’s going to have to go a level higher to accomplish his last prep goal: deliver Bentonville the program’s first state basketball title in school history.
Monk poured in 41 points Friday, but his Tigers lost out on a share of a conference title with a 78-76 overtime loss to Fayetteville.
Earlier in the season, the 6-foot-4 shooting guard had 30 points, eight assists and six rebounds against the same Bulldogs team, but again came up short, 60-55.
Ranked as the No. 6 recruit in the Class of 2016 by both Scout and Rivals, Monk needs to find a way to get past Fayetteville—the top seed in the Class 7A state tournament and a likely foe if Bentonville reaches the state championship game from the other half of the bracket.
Monk leads Bentonville in virtually every category, averaging 28.6 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.2 blocks per game.
The season highlight may have been his 53-point explosion against Arlington (Tenn.), which included a 40-point second half (and a 22-point third quarter).
Monk, who has scored 30 or more points in 11 games this season, has been selected to play in both the McDonald’s All-American Game and the Jordan Brand Classic.
Bentonville has a first-round bye and will play the West Memphis/Har-Ber winner in a Class 7A quarterfinal on March 3.
Greatness Past: MVP of the Nike Global Challenge in July, Monk scored 26.6 points per game as a junior, lifting Bentonville into the state final for the first time in school history.
Greatness Future: Monk committed to the University of Kentucky in November, much to the chagrin of home-state Razorback fans.
Make no mistake: The Gatorade State Boys Basketball Player of the Year races aren’t over, and the National POY race is now heating up. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Check back for weekly updates on the top contenders making a case.