PHOENIX — Even with four Kentucky guards on the Phoenix Suns’ roster, Malik Monk isn’t concerned about the team’s interest in him.
“The best player is going to play,” said Monk, yet another Wildcats guard. “If I come in as one of the best, then I have a good chance of playing.”
“I don’t shy away from competition. If it’s two guards here that’s at my position, that’s good for me. I’m going to have to push and try to fight for that position.
He worked out Tuesday for the Suns, who hold the No. 4 overall draft pick. He was the only player to work out for the team in this session.
Monk, who is widely considered the best outside shooter in the draft, had a freshman season at Kentucky filled with accolades. He was voted Southeastern Conference Player of the Year by the media and left the school as the all-time freshman leading scorer with 754 points, the fourth-best mark in school history.
Kentucky has a large presence on the Suns roster, and it should come as no surprise. The Wildcats consistently churn out draft picks.
“Coach Cal always recruits the best,” Suns assistant general manager Pat Connelly said about Kentucky coach John Calipari. “He gets the talent there, and while they are there, it’s steel sharpens steel.”
Monk was a freshman at Kentucky this past season so he did not play with any of the guards on the Suns roster while in college. Still, he does talk to Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker often. Former Wildcats guards Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight are also on the team.
Wherever Monk lands in the NBA, his time at Kentucky prepared him for tough media and even tougher fans.
“(The fans) are crazy,” Monk said. “I love them though.”
Although Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball are frequently mentioned as the top picks in the June 22 draft, Monk fully believes in his basketball abilities.
“I feel like I’m the No. 1 player in the nation right now,” Monk said. “I’ve always been this way and it’s not going to change.”