April 04, 2017

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Kentucky guard Malik Monk will enter the NBA draft and hire an agent, the second Wildcats' freshman in as many days to announce his departure after coming within seconds of reaching the Final Four.

Projected as an NBA lottery pick, Monk said in a statement Tuesday that he talked with family before making the decision many expected. He added, ''As a little kid, these are words that I could only dream of saying.''

De'Aaron Fox announced his decision to enter the June 22 draft on Monday.

The 6-foot-3 Arkansas native was Kentucky's top scorer at 19.8 points per game, highlighted by a school freshman record 47 in a 103-100 victory over North Carolina last fall. Monk's 754 points set a UK freshman record and rank fourth all-time in school history.

The consensus All-American selection and Associated Press Southeastern Conference Player and Newcomer of the Year hit a late 3-pointer to tie the South Regional final against North Carolina before the Wildcats lost 75-73 on Luke Maye's last-second jumper.

Kentucky coach John Calipari said Monk is ''a special talent'' who's scoring, skills and superior athleticism make him unique.

''What I love about Malik is that, as the season went on, he learned how to help our team win by doing more than just score,'' the coach said. ''He became an efficient player who I believe will make an immediate impact at the next level.''

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