Malik Monk declares for NBA draft

Kentucky Wildcats freshman guard Malik Monk is entering the NBA draft and hiring an agent, the school announced Thursday.

"After taking some time with my family and reflecting on this season, I have decided to enter my name into the 2017 NBA draft," Monk said. "As a little kid, these are words that I could only dream of saying. For that, I am very grateful and thank God.

"I would like to thank Coach [John Calipari] for helping me evolve my game and become a more complete basketball player. You pushed me all season to be my best and taught me the true meaning of team and sacrifice."

Monk averaged 19.8 points en route to earning SEC Freshman of the Year honors, and he had four games of 30 or more points. He scored 47 points against North Carolina in December.

"Malik is a special talent," Calipari said. "With Malik you're talking about a superior athlete with skills and an ability to score that make him truly 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. He became an efficient player who I believe will make an immediate impact at the next level."

Monk, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard, is No. 7 in Chad Ford's top 100 draft rankings and is projected to be selected No. 4 overall in his latest mock draft.

"I want to thank all of the coaches and support staff for investing time and energy in my future and helping me mature as a young man," Monk said. "Month by month I have grown and matured on and off the floor because of you guys. "I want to thank my teammates. You guys made this the best year of my life, and you will always have a brother in me."

Monk's announcement comes one day after backcourt mate De'Aaron Fox announced he was heading to the NBA and signing with an agent. The two helped lead Kentucky to a 32-6 record and an Elite Eight appearance.