In the days leading up to the McDonald’s All American Games in Chicago, USA TODAY High School Sports will be catching up with various players to talk about their experiences. In this entry, we talk to Bentonville (Ark.) guard Malik Monk, who has signed to play at Kentucky. Monk, named to the American Family Insurance ALL-USA Second Team on Tuesday, won the three-point shooting contest at the historic Chicago Theatre as part of Powerade JamFest on Monday night.
It was nice to win the three-point contest at the Chicago Theatre. That was the first basketball event there ever and the turnout with the crowd was great. The setup was nice with the court on the stage.
I just did my usual routine before, and I knew I could do something special. We had a shoot-around the day before so I got used to the court. If you’re not used to shooting with a background like that it could tough, but I’m always confident so I think I’m going to win anything.
Then there was the dunk contest. I think it as one of the best dunk contests ever. That was a bunch of freak athletes battling out there and having fun.
In practice, we’re out there competing. These are all the great players in the nation — the best 24 — out here competing and trying to have fun. It will be the same thing in the game. Some players might have a hard time adjusting to a different role than they play with their teams. But if you are a basketball player, you shouldn’t have a hard time playing on or off the ball.
The guys here going to Kentucky, we’re hanging out all the time we can get while we’re here. We have a big group chat during games and we text all the time.
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I’m not paying attention to which Kentucky guts are looking at the draft. It wouldn’t have an impact on me. Whoever comes back will be a benefit to us and be able to teach us more. In the NCAA tournament, they competed but didn’t hit the shots down the stretch. I’m not there yet, but wherever I am, I’m going to go there to win.
I was used to getting booed on the road, but it was way more intense because I committed to Kentucky and not Arkansas. Every away game I got booed. It’s people in the state wanting me to go to Arkansas. I had no problem with it.
High school basketball is high school basketball even if it’s an All-American game. I will wait until high school basketball is over completely to reflect, but there are a bunch of great memories.